A Design Solution for Capturing Better Customer Feedback

Designers are people; and like most people, every designer has an email trash folder filled to its digital brim with unopened feedback surveys. As fellow humans, designers know that no one fills those things out; and yet, when designing a product you hope actually helps people, getting your customers’ feedback is crucial.

By changing the way we asked for feedback from email follow-ups to simple prompts designed directly into the Capital One Auto Loans app, we increased the feedback we received from 1% to 14%.

That 13 percentage point increase is huge! Not only because the in-app experience collects more feedback, but because it’s capturing real-time responses to specific features; features that we can now confidently incorporate into our next products.

We needed proof

Capital One recently added Auto Loan Tracker to our iPhone mobile app—a feature we hoped would help people understand their simple interest loan.

The tool helps customers visualize the status of their loan with a progress bar, estimates when they’ll payoff based on their payment history, and gives big-picture details like, “You’ll payoff two months early because of your extra payments,” or “Because of late payments, you’ll end up paying $400 extra.”

We were concerned that this information could be confusing at a glance, so we added a complementary feature: relevant “Did you know?” tips like why late payments mean more interest or why the date you make a payment matters.

It was the first time we put an educational element in front of our Auto Loan customers, and we wanted to understand if we were giving people enough information to understand their loan status.

“It was a shot in the dark,” said Chris Trotter, a content strategist on the design team. “Internally, some assumed the Loan Tracker and tips would be useful to our customers, and some assumed they wouldn’t read it–or that they would and get confused. We needed proof either way.”

Mining the middle of the feedback spectrum

At the time, the go-to approach for collecting feedback was via email follow-ups, which had a 1% open rate. One measly percent!

When 99% of customers aren’t using your feedback channel, it’s easy to start looking for responses elsewhere. But what people post on Twitter really only covers the edges of customer reactions—those who are so blown away that they want to tell the world about a banking app, or the opposite, frustrated, “I’ll never use this again” end of the spectrum.

We needed to hear from the middle ground between the two; that sweet spot where most customers actually live. So a team of product managers and designers worked to find a way to collect instant, targeted, qualitative feedback on Auto Loan Tracker that went deeper than “Well the app has four stars, so we’re good?”

Feedback should be effortless, targeted, and real-time

We started with the questions we would’ve typically included in a survey, then moved the feedback experience out of email inboxes and straight into the app itself.

Instead of using the same long-winded questionnaire, the final design and verbiage were much more simple and to the point: a succinct prompt, “Is this helpful?” with five different face icons directly underneath the tip, simplified and placed in thumbs’ reach so that the customer could easily provide feedback immediately after encountering the feature. The face icons led to an open comment field, giving customers the option to offer deeper, more candid feedback.

What we learned

  • Customers consistently love the educational tips paired with Auto Loan Tracker, telling us that the combo helps them understand how their loan works. (Many people don’t know that interest accrues daily and the date they pay makes a difference.)
  • The progress bar motivates people (which means more engaged mobile app customers.)
  • The ‘past due’ experience can be confusing, especially for customers who are past due the first time they view the feature.
  • Bonus: the ability to comment opened up a new communication channel; some customers are requesting features they wish existed, like a calculator determine how they can save money on interest.

This is knowledge that we wouldn’t have if we were relying on email surveys, and we’ve already started to incorporate “Did you know?” tid-bits throughout the entire auto loan experience.

A better feedback experience = A better overall experience

Good designers know that to design products that actually help people, you have to understand what their challenges are. Designing for a convenient, in-context feedback loop is just as important as the early research stage of the design process.

It’s working; we’re communicating with customers in a more meaningful, human way. And now that we know what works, we can take the right features and weave them into future products.


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