The Issue: Feedback Retention
We constantly ask users for feedback, but rarely are they told that their feedback is being used. So, why would they continue to give feedback?
Observations in Overwatch
You’re playing Overwatch, the team is doing fairly well. But, there’s that one player who’s being disruptive. This player seemed super enthusiastic to play, but now they’re away from keyboard for the rest of the match.
What do you do? Report.
In video games, users report teammates or opponents when they disrupt the game for others. A reporting system tracks all user reports against a player, then decides whether or not to ban that player.
The reporting system is one tool that helps maintain healthy interactions in the game by punishing the consistent negative behaviours.
The issue is that in some games users don’t continue to report after the first few times. They state it’s because they don’t think their reports are acted upon. This same thought can be echoed for user feedback. If users don’t feel like their feedback is acted upon, will they continue to give it?
Blizzard, the studio that created Overwatch, tells users what happens with their report if it’s acted upon. If a user reports a player, and the system finds that player guilty, the user who made the report receives a message the next time they open the game that states…
The user gave feedback. The feedback is acted upon. The user gets a thank you.
Why this matters
Users don’t usually get the kind of reinforcement for their feedback that says “We did this because of you”.
I searched “How to encourage user feedback”, the most popular articles focused on getting feedback with calls, emails, social media and surveys — these are the articles most will read when working on ways to encourage user feedback.
Those methods are great for receiving feedback the first time, but what about user feedback retention? Feedback retention refers to getting users of the same product or brand to continuously give feedback over time.
As they continue to use our products, their usage becomes more sophisticated, and their feedback more valuable. These users could open windows into insights our teams are not aware of.
How do we encourage users to continuously give feedback?
The popular user feedback cycle:
Receive > Analyze > Develop > Test > Implement
So, how can we do better? Thank the users.
Currently, software teams release patch notes or new onboarding pop ups telling users about the latest updates — updates that are often based on user feedback. We should go the extra mile and thank those users for their feedback so they know we are actively utilizing it.
By thanking the user for their feedback when it’s implemented, they will know their feedback is being taken seriously.
Some tools — like UserVoice — allow users to post feedback in a forum that can then be upvoted by other users. The tool collects the user information, which can then be used to contact them if we want to follow up, update them with the changes, or thank them for their feedback.
If the most upvoted piece of feedback was 148 upvotes on “Add a PayPal payment method”, and our team adds in a PayPal payment method, we should thank those 148 users for their feedback.
Our users now know their feedback is being actively heard. The next time a user wants to give feedback, they can now be confident it’s being heard.
The improved user feedback cycle:
Receive > Analyze > Develop > Test > Implement > Thank the users
Read this for more options of how to communicate product changes.
*I am not affiliated with UserVoice or Blizzard Entertainment, I’m just a user.*