What is a Product Feedback Policy?
Put simply, a Product Feedback Policy (PFP) is a short document outlining your company’s approach to product feedback. It explains how you collect feedback, what happens to that feedback, and how you use that feedback to develop your product. Think of it as an SLA for product feedback.
This ensures that all of your employees are aware of how they can help manage feedback, and also sets expectations for your customers. This way, everyone is on the same page, has the same perspective, and can work together to make the most of your product feedback.
We’ve provided a helpful guide and some examples of other SaaS companies’ PFPs so that you can write up your own in no time at all. It really won’t take too long and the benefits are more than worth it.
But first, you should understand exactly why it’s so important…
Why Do I Need a Product Feedback Policy?
Your Product Feedback Policy helps two sets of people understand your product feedback process: your employees, and your customers.
Let’s start with your employees. The uncomfortable truth a lot of SaaS companies face is that product feedback is everyone’s responsibility.
Sure, your Product team will be doing most of the heavy lifting around this but other teams will have an input too. Your Sales team will hear ideas from prospects, your Support team will receive feedback from customers, and don’t forget all the ideas your employees will have too.
Without a process in place, you’ll have feedback in multiple locations, lack important context, and your customers will be left in the dark. Your Product team won’t be able to do anything with such a jumbled mess of feedback and so product development will stall. Either that, or you’ll build the wrong things.
The PFP is your ticket to success. It tells everyone in your company what they need to know. It tells them where to put any feedback, what sort of information to include. It sets out roles and responsibilities. It ensures every single employee is on the same page. As for your customers, if they’re going to spend their time providing feedback, then they need to know it’s worth it. They need to be reassured that you’re going to listen, and you’re actually going to act on their ideas.
A PFP will provide that reassurance, telling your customers that their feedback is important and will help you to improve your product, and in turn improve their experience using your product. They’re helping you to help them.
Ultimately, in the short term, it means you can collect better data, saving time and money as you do so. In the long term, it means you can build a better product.
That’s why you need a PFP.
So, how exactly do you write one…
How Do I Write a Product Feedback Policy?
A Product Feedback Policy consists of three main sections:
- Why feedback is important to you.
- How you’ll manage the feedback.
- How you’ll communicate with customers.
So, let’s take this one section at a time.
Why Feedback is Important to You…
Okay so this part is important to get right. If you’re asking your customers to spend their time submitting feedback, then you’ve got to prove to them that it’s worth it.
The bottom line is, you’ll be using the product feedback you collect to help you build a better product. Explain to your customers that you value their input, and that you’ll use the data you collect to help you make the right decisions.
This will set you apart from a lot of companies who generally pretend to care about feedback, but never actually do anything with it.
“Here at Receptive, we take product feedback extremely seriously. We believe that listening to our customers, team members and prospects - by taking their ideas on board - is a sure-fire way to build a better product.
We use your feedback to identify the most important features, ideas, pain points, and opportunities so that you can get more value from our product as efficiently as possible.
If you take the time to submit your product feedback to us, it means that you have a direct say in how our product develops over time. It means that your ideas are valued and listened to, rather than filed away and ignored. Ultimately, it allows us to work with you to build the best product we possibly can.”
How You’ll Manage the Feedback…
NOTE: This part is the one that will vary the most depending on your feedback process. If you don’t have a process in place, then it’s worth thinking about what your process will look like before you go ahead and write this document.
You should start by explaining how you collect feedback, and how your customers can submit it. This might be an email address, a web form, or a dedicated product like Receptive.
Then, explain what happens to the feedback you collect. What are the various stages it goes through. Do you triage new requests as and when they come in? Do you hold regular feedback meetings to discuss new ideas? Do you use software to let your customers prioritize what they want?
Finally, explain how you review the feedback, and what factors you consider when making a decision. Is it simply a case of the most popular items being made? Or do you also balance the data with a product strategy? Who’s involved with the decision making?
There’s a lot of questions to answer in this section, so to be sure you don’t miss anything, think of it as three stages:
COLLECTION MANAGEMENT DECISION
“Submitting your feedback couldn't be simpler. All you need to do is log into your Receptive account, navigate to our Help menu in the top-right and select "Request Receptive Feature".
This will take you to your personalized dashboard where you can submit requests, browse other people's requests, and prioritize them. You can also view Releases & What we have coming up.
All new requests are set to the "Awaiting Feedback" status so that more people can vote, prioritize and give us information. This allows us to gauge demand, gather use cases and automatically establish impact & value using our Reports.
Every quarter, our Product team sit down for a feedback meeting. They discuss the highest priorities for our customers, team members, and prospects and how the requests align with our own strategy. As the team goes through they'll update the status of each request in Receptive so that you immediately know the outcome.
If we decide to build a request the status will change to "Planned" or "Building". It will be added to our public roadmap which you can view at any time.”
How You’ll Communicate with Customers…
Whether you keep them in the loop throughout the decision-making process, or whether you reach out to them right at the end when all the decisions have been made, it’s crucial you communicate with your customers.
Explaining how you’ll do that is a great way to manage expectations. Simply let them know at which stages of the process you’ll be in touch, and how that will happen. Maybe you update them whenever their idea reaches the next step, or maybe you just reach out once a final decision has been made. Will you send them an email? Give them a phone call?
Use this as an opportunity to reassure your customers that their feedback won’t be lost to a black hole, and that they’ll be included in your feedback process.
“Anyone who has submitted or voted on a specific request will be notified when the status of the request is updated. We will always provide an explanation as to the nature of the status update.
Our feedback portal always has the most up-to-date information about our products and what we're building next.
If you reach out directly to our support or customer success teams, they'll be able to look up the ideas for you, but they won't have any additional information or provide an estimate for when your item will be reviewed.”
Where to Post Your Policy
Once you’ve written your policy, you should add it to your Knowledge Base / Help Documentation. This is the first place your customers will go to ask the kinds of questions that your PFP answers.
You could also work it into a blog post or have it somewhere on your site, so that it’s more accessible and can be used as a selling point for your organization.
Internally, create a shared document that everyone in your organization can easily access if they need to familiarize themselves.
Here are some examples...
Here are some example policies for you to look at and draw inspiration from.