Chances are, you’re reading this because you’re constantly inundated with questions about what you’re building next, and drowning in ideas, feedback and feature requests. It all adds up and it’s easy to simply bury your head in the sand and ignore it all.
But that’s the worst thing you can do. There’s an easier way to manage your product feedback, and it all starts with a little something we like to call a Product Feedback Policy.
What is a Product Feedback Policy (PFP)?
A Product Feedback Policy is a document that lays out the guidelines for how you collect and manage product feedback. It details the whole process, from collection and storage to analysis and communication.
Each and every aspect of how you’re planning to handle product feedback will be included in this policy.
It should be a comprehensive document that sets the expectations of your customers and co-workers.
Why do I need a Product Feedback Policy?
There are two main reasons that having a Product Feedback Policy will help your organization make the most out of your feedback:
1: Everybody Knows the Process
Having your feedback process written down essentially sets it in stone providing everyone with a reference point.
It provides a step-by-step account of how feedback is gathered, stored, and then analyzed. It could be compared to a support SLA or information you’d provide in your employee handbook.
This means that everyone involved with your organization, and especially those involved with managing feedback, understand exactly what it is you’re doing and why.
A Product Feedback Policy also helps to get everyone on the same page, aware of the plan and how it impacts your organization taking a huge amount of pressure off your product teams.
This ensures that everyone is on track and you manage feedback effectively and efficiently, meaning the information and insights you obtain are incredibly valuable.
2: It Sets Expectations
Once your customers find out that you’re actively listening to their feedback, chances are you’ll be inundated with valuable information.
While this might seem great at first glance, after a while your customers will become demanding and expect you to make good on all their requests.
Your Product Feedback Policy effectively combats this from the start by informing your customers what will happen and how you can work well together when it comes to product feedback.
Your customers will know all about your process, and what happens once they’ve submitted their request, meaning no constant emails wondering if you’ve seen their idea yet.
Instead of simply saying that you’ll listen to their feedback, get your process written down and show that you mean business. Defining the process is so much better than not defining it.
What should be included in your Product Feedback Policy
Your Product Feedback Policy should be split into three sections:
Why feedback is important to you;
How you’ll manage the feedback; and
How you’ll communicate.
Why feedback is important to you
For the first section, you need to sell the whole idea of feedback management. You’re asking your customers to spend time submitting requests and ideas, the least you could do is explain what you’re going to do with them.
Most organizations will simply explain that they’re always looking to build on and improve their product, and that listening to the people who actually use it will help them to achieve just that.
This is actually HUGE news for your customer base - it’s a massive selling point that will set you above the rest in your industry.
How you’ll manage the feedback
This is the part where you outline the process and explain exactly what happens when somebody submits an idea or request.
Firstly, start by explaining how people can submit their feedback to you. It might be an email address, or a button within your app. Whatever the method, make it clear to your customers, employees, and prospects how to send you their ideas.
Next, explain how you deal with the feedback as it comes in. Maybe you triage the requests once a week, filtering out the ones you’re most interested in, or maybe you use software like Receptive to allow your users to prioritize. Again, you need to make it clear so that people know what will happen to their feedback.
Finally, clarify how often the feedback is reviewed.
Do you have a weekly or monthly meeting to discuss the top priorities? Is somebody in charge of working through each and every request?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - make sure your users understand the process.
How you’ll communicate
Your users will also want to know if, and how, they’ll be kept in the loop.
Is there a way, for example, for them to constantly check the status of their request as and when they wish? Or will you send them updates by email every time something changes concerning their idea?
This is your chance to reassure them that their feedback won’t be sucked into a black hole, and that you’ll keep them included at each and every stage of the process.
Where to post your Product Feedback Policy
The ideal place for your policy is within your knowledge base and help articles. After all, this should be the first place users go when they have a query.
But to really make the most of your feedback policy, you should consider reworking it into a blog post, or using a snippet somewhere on your site, so that it’s even more accessible and can be used a selling point for your organization. Your marketing team will be able to help you with this.
Internally, you could create a shared document so that employees can access the policy whenever they need to; add the document to your internal company news page, add it to communication channels like Slack and add it to your employee handbook.
And don’t forget to send out the link to your policy whenever you ask for feedback.
So, to summarize, a Product Feedback Policy is crucial when it comes to aligning your internal teams around the feedback process, and to set expectations for your customers.
The policy is a document which covers your approach to feedback as an organization, the process that feedback goes through, and how you’ll communicate any developments to your users.
This policy should be posted in your knowledge base, as well as on your marketing site, and sent out when you request feedback.
Best of luck with your policy!