Panel Round-up: Making Feedback Loops Exceptional

Tiffany Go
Head of Product Marketing
April 30, 2024

Feedback loops are a competitive advantage for any company, regardless of product, industry, or size. Effective feedback loops inform immediate product changes but also inform long-term strategy and roadmap. Executing this requires a culture that values and utilizes feedback, viewing it as a cornerstone for growth and adaptation rather than a box-checking exercise; more about our stance on this topic in the Voice of Customer Maturity model.

At the Support Drive Conference in San Diego, our CEO Varun Sharma had the opportunity to  moderate a panel on building effective feedback loops featuring industry leaders:

  • Andrea Silas, VP of Technical Support at Dreamhost
  • Desiree Gregory, Director of Global Support at DroneDeploy
  • Michael Nguyen, Head of Voice of Customer at Figma

The panel discussion covered how these three experts have mastered the art of feedback loops:

  1. Collecting and responding to feedback from various channels
  2. Closing the loop internally and with customers
  3. Emergence of AI and it’s impact on feedback loops

Watch the full panel here: https://youtu.be/-Ps2DJ5Bgxc

Collecting and Responding to Feedback from Various Channels

Scaling Feedback from Noise to Signal

Andrea’s journey at Dreamhost highlights the shift from rudimentary to sophisticated and actionable insights as a company scales. Initially, customer suggestions were gathered on a basic page, which was fine in the beginning. However, as the company scaled, it became a mess of unstructured noise. Andrea shared,

"Customers want to be part of the decision making. If we don't actively listen and respond, customers feel ignored and might look to your competition."

Dreamhost started implementing structured feedback channels to capture customer input and ensure it's actionable and impactful. The result happier customers who also go out and tell others about the product.

Aligning Feedback with Business Strategy

Desiree Gregory spoke about the delicate balance between catering to customer demands and steering the product vision forward. At DroneDeploy, feedback can sometimes be a double-edged sword, potentially blocking renewals if not addressed or skewing product development in response to a vocal minority. Desiree’s approach is strategic:

"It's crucial to align feedback with overall business direction. It's important to understand whether the feedback that is being requested is something that, one, is that one customer worth us pausing and working on that particular functionality or two, is it something that more of our customers are going to find valuable?"
Building a Culture of Feedback: Integration and Adaptation

Michael highlighted the importance of considering the product-building culture as part of building feedback loops, citing his two experiences at two hypergrowth companies, Asana and Figma. At Asana, the focus was on using customer insights to inform the product roadmap over a longer planning cycle. In contrast, at Figma, the emphasis was on faster feedback loops to maintain constant awareness of customer needs and fuel customer empathy and intuition among product teams. Michael noted,

"You’ve got to understand what the product-building culture is like and tailor the feedback loops to serve that. This means creating systems that provide real-time feedback to product teams, enabling swift actions and decisions that reflect the current needs and experiences of users."

Closing the Loop Internally and with Customers

Conveying Insights Effectively to Internal Teams

Desiree acknowledged the challenges in closing the feedback loop, especially when managing open tickets over several months can hinder performance metrics. Despite their strong marketing engine that promotes new features via emails and podcasts, it can be a struggle to provide updates on specific issues or bugs that affect a subset of customers. While the customer success team manages larger clients' feature requests or bugs, the support team tends to focus on new tasks, making it harder to maintain consistent communication.

"Develop clear channels and protocols for feedback dissemination ensures that valuable customer insights are not lost. For instance, creating cross-functional teams or assigning specific roles for managing feedback can help bridge gaps between customer expectations and product development."
Closing the Loop with Customers

Michael shared his perspectives on the importance of closing the loop with customers because it fulfills the need customers have to be heard and involved. His advice is to try personalized outreach and prove to customers that their voices matter. Michael's team does this by collecting customer emails and user IDs linked to feedback, allowing them to tailor relevant updates to specific users. This data is then shared with product marketing teams, who can send personalized emails saying, "Thank you, we've built what you've asked for," creating stronger relationships and reigniting interest in dormant prospects and builds champions that are willing to invest significant time and energy in your product without compensation."

"Everyone should be personalized email campaigns to close the loop. Investing in this is how you turn customers into champions of your product within their organization."
Integrating Feedback with Product Development

Michael also emphasized the need for traceability from the initial complaint or request to the feature's eventual appearance on the roadmap to close the loop internally. Connecting these dots involves collaboration between product and marketing teams but ultimately enables targeted, personalized communication. Going through the practice of closing the loop with customers yields benefits for internal teams. Michael says start with one release and find a way personalized follow-up no matter how scrappy you need to get. You'll see that this experiment will result in tremendous customer trust and helps drive change with internal expectations for the product team. This is what will help motivate internal teams to invest resources to make closing the loop a new and scalable standard.

Leveraging AI: Impact on Customer Feedback and Feedback Loops

The panel discussion concluded with the hot topic on everyone’s mind, AI. We're at a pivotal moment, where artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize how companies handle customer feedback. Here’s how each of the panelists are thinking about AI at their orgs.

Utilizing AI to extract Meaningful Data

At Dreamhost, Andrea shared that AI allows support teams to extract meaningful data from various sources and identify trends that aren't immediately apparent in explicit customer requests. By processing over 11,000 customer interactions weekly, Dreamhost uses AI to uncover implicit issues and reduce ticket volumes. This ultimately results in more reliable infrastructure and improved products, ensuring the development process is customer-focused.

Testing Co-pilots to Understand Feedback Quickly

Desiree shared that at DroneDeploy her team is experimenting with AI in multiple ways. One approach integrates an AI-based co-pilot into their product to analyze customer data and provide a feedback platform. They're also using AI to process Jira ticket data and detect patterns in engineering escalations. Further, senior product managers listen to pre-sales call recordings, supported by AI analysis, to directly identify customer pain points.

Creating a "push, pull, and platform" strategy

At Figma Michael uses AI to empower his team to refine feedback loops using a "push, pull, and platform" strategy. By translating raw customer input into digestible statements and user stories, product teams receive insights they can immediately act upon. Nguyen also noted that AI enriches automated alerts, weekly summaries, and segmentation by product team to infer which feedback requires their attention. This approach creates an "ambient awareness" of user needs, allowing Figma to align its roadmap more effectively. Get a deep dive into how Figma is using Enterpret to scale its product feedback loops in this customer story.

Feedback Loops are an art and a science

The key takeaway for the panel is that effective feedback loops are both an art and a science. They require a careful blend of empathy—to truly understand customer needs—and strategic acumen—to integrate these needs into the product lifecycle without compromising the company's vision and trajectory.

Refining the approach to customer feedback is not just about keeping customers satisfied; it's about continuously creating products that resonate with users and stand the test of time. As we move forward, the mastery of these feedback loops will undoubtedly be a defining factor in the success of technology-driven companies.

If you want help building out feedback loops and using feedback as a strategic lever, Enterpret can help! Get in touch with our team.

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We are laser-focused on giving customers more than they expect through a hospitality-first, individualized approach to drive retention and loyalty. Enterpret has allowed us to stitch together a full picture of the customer, including feedback and reviews from multiple data points. We now can super-serve our loyal customers in a way that we have never been able to before.
Anna Esrov
Vice President of Customer Experience & Loyalty
Enterpret allowed us to listen to specific issues and come closer to our Members - prioritizing feedback which needed immediate attention, when it came to monitoring reception of new releases: Enterpret picked up insights for new updates and became the eyes of whether new systems and functionality were working well or not.
Louise Sellars
Analyst, Customer Insights
Enterpret is one of the most powerful tools in our toolkit. It's very Member-friendly. We've been able to share how other teams can modify and self-serve in Enterpret. It's bridged a gap to getting access to Member feedback, and I see all our teams finding ways to use Enterpret to answer Member-related questions.
Dina Mohammad-Laity
VP of Data
The big win-win is our VoC program enabled us to leverage our engineering resources to ship significantly awesome and valuable features while minimizing bug fixes and" keep the lights on" work. Magnifying and focusing on the 20% that causes the impact is like finding the needle in a haystack, especially when you have issues coming from all over the place
Abishek Viswanathan
CPO, Apollo.io
Since launching our Voice of Customer program six months ago, our team has dropped our human inquiry rate by over 40%, improved customer satisfaction, and enabled our team to allocate resources to building features that increase LTV and revenue.
Abishek Viswanathan
CPO, Apollo.io
Enterpret's Gong Integration is a game changer on so many levels. The automated labeling of feedback saves dozens of hours per week. This is essential in creating a customer feedback database for analytics.
Michael Bartimer
Revenue Operations Lead
Enterpret has made it so much easier to understand our customer feedback. Every month I put together a Voice of Customer report on feedback trends. Before Enterpret it would take me two weeks - with Enterpret I can get it done in 3 days.
Maya Bakir
Product Operations, Notion
The Enterpret platform is like the hero team of data analysts you always wanted - the ability to consolidate customer feedback from diverse touch points and identify both ongoing and emerging trends to ensure we focus on and build the right things has been amazing. We love the tools and support to help us train the results to our unique business and users and the Enterpret team is outstanding in every way.
Larisa Sheckler
COO, Samsung Food
Enterpret makes it easy to understand and prioritize the most important feedback themes. Having data organized in one place, make it easy to dig into the associated feedback to deeply understand the voice of customer so we can delight users, solve issues, and deliver on the most important requests.
Lauren Cunningham
Head of Support and Ops
With Enterpret powering Voice of Customer we're democratizing feedback and making it accessible for everyone across product, customer success, marketing, and leadership to provide evidence and add credibility to their strategies and roadmaps.
Michael Nguyen
Head of Research Ops and Insights, Figma
Boll & Branch takes pride in being a data driven company and Enterpret is helping us unlock an entirely new source of data. Enterpret quantifies our qualitative data while still keeping customer voice just a click away, adding valuable context and helping us get a more complete view of our customers.
Matheson Kuo
Senior Product Analyst, Boll & Branch
Enterpret has transformed our ability to use feedback to prioritize customers and drive product innovation. By using Enterpret to centralize our data, it saves us time, eliminates manual tagging, and boosts accuracy. We now gain near real-time insights, measure product success, and easily merge feedback categories. Enterpret's generative AI technology has streamlined our processes, improved decision-making, and elevated customer satisfaction
Nathan Yoon
Business Operations, Apollo.io
Enterpret helps us have a holistic view from our social media coverage, to our support tickets, to every single interaction that we're plugging into it. Beyond just keywords, we can actually understand: what are the broader sentiments? What are our users saying?
Emma Auscher
Global VP of Customer Experience, Notion
The advantage of Enterpret is that we’re not relying entirely on human categorization. Enterpret is like a second brain that is looking out for themes and trends that I might not be thinking about.
Misty Smith
Head of Product Operations, Notion
As a PM, I want to prioritize work that benefits as many of our customers as possible. It can be too easy to prioritize based on the loudest customer or the flavor of the moment. Because Enterpret is able to compress information across all of our qualitative feedback sources, I can make decisions that are more likely to result in positive outcomes for the customer and our business.
Duncan Stewart
Product Manager
We use Enterpret for our VoC & Root Cause Elimination Program - Solving the issues of aggregating disparate sources of feedback (often tens of thousands per month) and distilling it into specific reasons, with trends, so we can see if our product fixes are reducing reasons.
Nathan Yoon
Business Operations, Apollo.io