Customer Feedback Systems

Startup Customer Feedback Systems:

Mark Cuban says, “Don’t listen to your customers.”

I say that’s silly.

If you close yourself off from a stream of information, you’re doing yourself and your business a disservice. All people have blind spots, and customers are great at pointing them out.

But if you quickly acknowledge and repair your blind spots, then you not only make those customers happier, but you also increase the overall value of your business. Besides, it’s a part of customer development and it will make your product better in the long run.

Here are five customer feedback systems — and some suggested tools for setting up each — for your startup:

Analyze Your Website Metrics

StatRaptorLook at what your users do on your site. If you’re bootstrapping a startup, you can’t go wrong with Google Analytics. Go ahead and install Google Webmaster Tools while you’re at it (it’s free!).

These tools are pretty robust and sometimes it can be easy to get lost in the data, so grab this free Google Analytics Guide from Relevance. If you can’t make the time to set up GA and find the data you’re looking for, check out a simpler tool for SAAS analytics — StatRaptor. Presto!

Monitor Social Media

Hopefully, there’s a whole conversation going on about your brand online. So, you’d better be a part of it.

At Verge, we use SEOmoz Pro tools (referral link) to monitor social media. It’s $99/month, but you get a whole lot of other functionality with their suite of social and SEO tools. If you’re just looking for social media monitoring, Trackur has a great reputation and at just 18 bucks a month for their basic package, the price is right for startups.

Engage with Customer Support

If you have a SAAS product, you’d better have a good customer support. Using tools like ZenDesk can help you manage requests and improve response times. That means happier customers.

Then, you can use bug tracking software like PivotalTracker or Jira to plan out work and track progress on your bug fixes. Pretty sweet, huh?

Ask Your Community and Customers for Ideas

FormStackWant actionable feedback? Well, have you tried asking?

Sending out a simple survey gives your community and user base a voice. And it’s from that voice that you’ll find some of your most valuable nuggets of information. Use an online form builder like Formstack to create a short, engaging survey that encourages your community to share their ideas and feedback.

Set Up a “Suggestion Box”

Let your community know you care by giving them a place to drop you a line.

Of course, you can use tools like User Voice and Get Satisfaction to create really cool website widgets that prompt your user. But, if you’re still nimble enough to do it, sometimes it’s better to just remind your community that you’re always interested in hearing from them. That can be by phone or by email (mine is matt [at] vergeindy [dot] com, and I always love herding from you).

What are some ways that you listen to your community of users? Have you received any good ideas or insight as a result?