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What is product feedback and why does it matter?
Imagine it’s your job to choose which new feature your team will create to reach this quarter’s customer retention goal. How do you make the call?
‘This option felt better’ isn’t going to cut it when you're pitching your idea to your team or boss—and more importantly, it might be a miss with your users.
You need product feedback to decide what to add, remove, or change about your website, web app, or online service.
This guide explores what product feedback is, when to collect it, and how to ask for it so you can reduce assumptions and make customer-centric decisions.
Dive right in or jump ahead:
What is product feedback?
Product feedback is quantitative and qualitative insights that help you understand how customers feel about and interact with your product.
For example, imagine you launch a feedback widget on your site’s pricing page to learn user sentiment toward it. Visitors can rate their experience on a 1–5 quantitative scale and also opt to share more details with a qualitative open-ended response.
Combining quantitative and qualitative insights reveals what opinions visitors have about your product and why. Persistent negative product feedback prompts you to make a change, and learning what makes a positive product experience gives you insights to apply to other pages.
Customer feedback vs. product feedback
Customer and product feedback are often used interchangeably, but they're not the same thing. The differences between the two boil down to the topic and who's involved.
First, customer feedback covers a broader set of topics than product feedback. Customer feedback is any quantitative or qualitative input from your customers about your brand, product, or customer experience.
Product feedback only deals with your product—it doesn’t involve doing market research to learn about competitors or analyzing marketing funnels. You can think of product feedback as one sub-type of customer feedback, just like comedies are one type of movie.
For example, you could host a customer interview where you ask people about their top goals this year (customer feedback) and what product updates they want to help them achieve them (product feedback).
Customer and product feedback also come from different people. Customer feedback only comes from people who’ve made a purchase, while product feedback also includes new website visitors, free trial users, or anyone who hasn’t bought from you yet.
How product feedback benefits your customers and team
Product feedback reveals how users interact with your product, what they like and dislike, and what they want to see. Instead of working in a vacuum, product feedback helps you collaborate with customers and users, so you can create a better experience for them.
Product feedback helps you:
Find new ideas and prioritize brilliantly to maximize resources
Product feedback saves you time, ensuring the weight of product decisions doesn’t fall solely on your shoulders.
For example, product managers (PMs) would use insights from product feedback tools (more on this later!) to update their product roadmap—like watching recordings to discover how to make it easier for users to complete tasks in the product. PMs could also use product feedback to prioritize the roadmap—like surveying customers about which new feature they’re most interested in seeing.
With visitors, users, and customers as your guide, you bypass the brainstorming phase of guessing what issues and opportunities exist, so you don’t waste resources implementing the wrong solution.
Empathize to create a customer-centric product
Collecting, analyzing, and implementing product feedback helps you create a customer-centric product.
For example, user experience (UX) designers working on a page redesign would use product feedback to rework the page with their customers in mind—like analyzing heatmaps of the old design to find and fix frustrating elements and avoid them next time.
The more you leverage product feedback, the more you increase customer satisfaction. And the more satisfied customers are with your product or website, the more they’ll use it.
Identify trends to continuously improve
Regularly collecting product feedback helps you identify trends to make data-informed decisions that improve your product and user experience.
Making continuous discovery a part of your workflow, like watching recordings once a week or keeping a feedback widget live on your site, builds a habit that supplies you with a steady stream of actionable product feedback.
💡Pro tip: use the Hotjar Dashboard to get a high-level overview of quantitative metrics like total sessions, session duration, and average feedback rating, so you can engage in continuous discovery, easily spot trends, and dig deeper into product feedback across your different pages.
The Hotjar Dashboard showing top pages and a quantitative feedback score
5 ways to collect product feedback
There are five types of product feedback tools that help you learn how users and customers interact with your website.
Recordings give you an over-the-shoulder view of how someone interacts with your product to see how they move through and interact with it.
Experiencing your product from the visitor’s perspective gives you qualitative insights, so you can pinpoint opportunities for improvement and learn where users are struggling.
🔎Pro tip: gain a new perspective on product feedback.
Digital experience insights, like recordings of actual users moving through your website, gives you unprompted product feedback—but you don’t have enough hours in the day to watch every interaction.
Hotjar (hi there, that's us👋) assigns each recording a relevance score, so you only watch the most important playbacks. It also lets you filter recordings by criteria such as new vs. returning visitors or customers from certain countries, so you just watch recordings of your target audience.
2. Feedback widgets
Feedback widgets track sentiment trends toward particular pages with simple smiley-face surveys.
You gain quantitative product feedback when visitors rank their experience, but feedback widgets also allow you to ask open-ended questions and let users highlight what they like or dislike on the page for qualitative feedback.
Surveys give you a direct line to ask visitors and customers questions about how and why they use your product.
Quantitative surveys, like those asking customers to rate certain features, are perfect for prioritizing your product updates and tracking trends. Surveys also allow you to collect qualitative feedback, like hearing exactly why a feature helps your customers—in their own words.
💡Pro tip: let your users decide which product version they prefer.
Concept testing surveys let visitors quickly vote between options, like which logo redesign they like better. Use Hotjar’s concept testing feature to get product feedback that helps you decide between individual elements without conducting lengthy A/B tests.
Interviews in the form of online 1:1 meetings let you watch people using your product live and pick up on opportunities and pain points—like if they’re struggling to complete certain tasks—so you can optimize your product and improve their experience.
A heatmap is a qualitative and quantitative product feedback tool that reveals which areas receive the most (and least) attention so you can redesign website pages.
The red zones of a scroll map reveal the most-viewed or clicked parts of a page, whereas the blue zones show you the areas most visitors don’t see. If your CTA button is in the blue zone, for example, this is product feedback that you need to change your design so more visitors see it.
Heatmaps show you how far users scroll and what they click the most
💡Pro tip: use Hotjar Heatmaps to see engagement zones, which combine user clicks, scrolls, and movement to reveal nuanced product feedback—like images that visitors love but don’t click on or distracting page elements that lead them off track.
How to analyze product feedback
After you collect product feedback, it’s time to analyze and leverage it. Here’s how.
Step 1: identify goals
Product feedback and website analytics are a treasure trove of insights, but they can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t have a plan.
Before you get started, think about your product goals and what feedback you need to make informed decisions. Consider:
What customer segment you want to learn about
What types of issues or opportunities you want to find
Your assumptions and uncertainties about the user experience
Pro tip: use product metrics as a starting point.
If you want to collect product feedback but don’t know where to begin, look at your product metrics. For example, you’d gather product feedback throughout onboarding if your onboarding completion rate is low, or watch recordings to understand why users' time on page has plummeted.
Step 2: analyze the data
Sort your data into quantitative vs. qualitative since they require a different analysis. For example, you’d check the scores of your quantitative post-purchase survey to measure the general satisfaction rating, and then look for themes in open-ended qualitative questions to uncover why users feel that way.
You might also need to narrow your focus to a specific user segment or time frame—such as reviewing conversion funnels for top spenders to prioritize feedback from your most engaged customers.
It also helps to combine feedback to dig deeper into insights. Let’s say a product manager notices a decline in user sentiment toward a page. Instead of assuming the negative comments mean the whole page needs to go, they filter recordings by rage clicks to watch frustrating sessions and find the problem.
Step 3: share your findings with stakeholders
Sharing your product feedback analysis with stakeholders and across teams helps you get buy-in for your ideas, align cross-functional efforts, and encourage user empathy.
The format you use to share product feedback with stakeholders is also important, since each team member has different priorities and roles. For example, sharing recordings cross-functionally inspires curiosity in teams who might not work directly with the product but still benefit from having customer empathy.
Leaders, on the other hand, want to see detailed plans and insights to influence goal-setting and resource allocation. Collaboration can even be as simple as tagging team members in Slack about new product feedback.
Here are a few more ways to share what you find:
Make customer-centric decisions with product feedback
Your product is for your users and customers, so every decision should take them into consideration. Incorporating product feedback into your processes eases your mental burden and helps you make effective customer-centric changes without time-consuming guessing and checking.
Product feedback isn’t just for reactive product updates, either—staying close to your users and customers creates empathy and curiosity that gives you new ideas to create better experiences for them.
Want more inspiration? Check out our real-life product feedback examples.
All your product feedback tools in one place
Hotjar’s product feedback tools let you gather, analyze, and share quantitative and qualitative insights to create a better customer experience.