Too much feedback is toxic


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The featured image for this blog post.

Intercom co-founder Des Traynor says customer feedback is like oxygen. But here's something most folks don't know - too much oxygen is toxic. The same is true for feedback. An overdose will paralyze your team. But if you're intentional about why and how you gather feedback, this is something you can avoid.

Start with a really good question (stupid questions do exist)

When you collect feedback, have a specific question in mind.

For example, you think one of the most valuable parts of your software is a kick-ass calendar. But new signups aren't using it. You want to know why. So your Really Good Question is "Why aren't new signups using the calendar?"

If you do a good job collecting feedback, you'll identify potential answers.

Note: A really good question is answerable and relevant to your success. It seems obvious, but if you're spending time and energy on a question, it should matter to your business. If it doesn't, find a better question.

Gather the right feedback, in the right way, from the right people

Once you have a question, round up actionable feedback. To do that, use who / what / how / when:

Image from Intercom's 3 rules for customer feedback

This is how you get the right feedback, in the right way, from the right people. For our example question, "why aren't new signups using the calendar?" you'd be working with:

Also worth mentioning:

Get your hands dirty: Segment the mess

Even when you nail the framework above, first-round feedback gets messy. ###a href="" target="_blank">Segmentation helps you uncover helpful patterns lurking in the noise. Ideas for parsing responses:

Psst: We like you. A lot. So we put all this in a spreadsheet for you. It's everything you need to organize that feedback you're about to go get. Want access? Email with "make my week" and we'll send it your way. 🎉



Listen, really listen, to your customers

Read through the feedback once at face value, then read through it again to find the stuff between the lines. Don't just look at what they said. Try and uncover why they said it. Only once you've listened are you ready to act.

How you do that is a whole other topic...but rest assured you're off to a non-toxic start.


"You should treat every conversation you have as an opportunity to learn."- Drift

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