Feedback from Members: How to Gather?

(Margaret Bost) #1

At the moment we get feedback from our users via Contact Us buttons on our sites and through discussion threads on our forums. We’ve undergone a site redesign this year that has not gone as well as we’d have liked so there has been quite a lot of negative feedback. Lots of these folks are loyal members who just want a site that functions well, which is exactly what we’d like only we’re not quite there yet tech-wise.

We reply to users when we receive an email via Contact Us. When there are discussion threads about specific issues then we try to reply to them but we have a lot of discussion forums and that is nearly impossible to keep on top of. If it’s just a thread along the lines of “we want the old site back, this one sucks” we don’t reply, we just let them vent. There are loads of people feeling invested enough to email or post about the website but I’d like a better way of:

a) Gathering the data on what exactly it is they are frustrated by and what they hate/like so I can compile reports to hand off to our dev team
b) Letting our users know we are listening to them and that we are working to make the site better

Does anyone have any experience with this and would you share what worked and didn’t work?

I’ve had the following suggestions:

  1. Create a user survey
  2. Create a specific area on the site for user suggestions/complaints (I’m against this), like a separate discussions forum on the site just for user input about the site.

Thanks for any thoughts on this.


(Sarah Hawk) #2

I’ve been in a somewhat similar situation @Margaret_Bost so I feel your pain!
What we did was compile a list of the main issues, prioritise them, and then post it in a public topic. As things were completed we crossed them off the list. This gave people visibility of the known issues (which cut down the number of extraneous complaints) and they could see that their concerns were being acknowledged and that action was being taken.

Calling @JoeNarusis for input on this.

(Joe Narusis) #3

I think doing a survey is a great idea, but if you tight on time already, this may not be the best option. I think the suggestion @HAWK provided was great. That should help reduce the negativity and address most of the issues in the community. This is option provides a quick win by providing your dev team with this list of issues.

But if you did want to do the survey, I would make it a question asking users to rate different areas and capabilities of the site on a 7 point scale of “completely satisfied” to “completely dissatisfied”

Ideally, it would be a poll question on the homepage so it is easy for everyone to provide the input when they visit. You can create this list of issues by going through the emails and suggestions for improvement you have already. I would also leave an “other” response option where users can write in their own answer. This will help to make sure everything is covered.

I would also create a post saying how this is the first step in resolving the issues with the site, and then let the community know when issues have been addressed, similar to the strategy provided by @HAWK .

(Darren Gough) #4

Only caveat I would add here is don’t compile a list of public facing issues unless you absolutely agree with them and will definitely action.

Nothing angers people more than being promised progress which never materialises.

We also had moderation success with a kind of Q&A approach. So as people send you feedback, build it into a Q&A where you make a statement on the action - whether you intend to change it, don’t intend to change it or it’s heard but deprioritized. People might still not like your decision, but you can show they’ve been heard and what your stance is. If they still disagree you simply point them there and say "it’s fine you disagree but here’s our stance on this’.

(Sarah Hawk) #5

Agreed. Communication around how the list is compiled is important. “We’ve taken your suggestions and these are the ones that we are going to action.” Depending on your platform and the nature of your community, you can also get community investment using upvoting.

“We’ll prioritise these tasks by the number of likes they get.”

(Mark Williams) #6

I would caution against a survey in this particular situation. If you have a bunch of unhappy people, asking them to answer a survey may just get you a “just look at the forums threads!” response. You might want to reach out to specific users to get their feedback.

The only reason I might do a survey is to get data to turn over to dev - if you need it. If you do, maybe just compile from the complaints that exist? If you can’t look at all the forums, maybe you could hone in on some keywords and search?

(Margaret Bost) #7

Thanks for your responses. Really helpful. One of the challenges I’ve had is just not knowing when specific things are going to be fixed. I need to ruminate on the Q&A idea.

(Darren Gough) #8

Can definitely relate to that. There’s always a disconnect between internal paths and what users expect. Then you get the community members who once did an HTML course who CANNOT BELIEVE this thing wasn’t done in 17 minutes yesterday!