Gathering feedback from internal stakeholders in your organization is fundamental to developing a successful product. Remember that team members are also internal customers, and will likely be as or more vocal than your external customers about your product — they have a lot to say, but where and how should they say it?
While product teams rely on a combination of several communication channels to share feedback with colleagues, others find it better to pick one and stick with it. Here are a few common feedback communication channels and a brief look at the pros and cons of each so you can make a considered choice about what works best for you:
1. Email & Chat
Have your team share feedback with you via email and use labels or folders to stay organized, or if your organization uses a chat platform internally, create a room specifically for feedback.
- Convenient for customer teams to use.
- Feedback can be shared virtually anytime.
- You can search feedback later.
- Neither option scales well for the Product Manager.
- Chat and email can be distracting.
- Does not aggregate data or provides analytics.
- Requires extra manual work to extract the feedback.
2. Team Meetings
Consider holding bi-monthly or monthly feedback meetings with customer teams to let folks share and discuss what they’ve been hearing.
- Opportunity to provide product updates/share what’s next on your roadmap.
- Allows you to ask follow-up questions.
- You can clarify feedback with those who have shared it.
- Getting everyone in the room at the same time can be hard and inconvenient.
- Can lead to confusion if customer teams have to hold onto feedback for a month before relaying it. (Think of the game “telephone.”)
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3. Feedback Reports
In lieu of (or in addition to) facilitating a feedback meeting, have every team generate a customer feedback report every two weeks or so and share it with your team.
- Contains both qualitative and quantitative data.
- It’s a resource you can return to for information when you need it.
- Time-consuming and possibly inconvenient for customer teams to produce.
- Does not look at long-term feedback trends.
4. Collaborative Spreadsheets
You can ask customer-facing teams to enter feedback directly into a spreadsheet within Google Sheets or a similar tool.
- Customer teams can share feedback at any time.
- Good for gathering and both qualitative and quantitative feedback.
- May be inconvenient for customer teams to use, which could result in them sharing less feedback.
- Hard for customer teams to know whether the product team is reading their feedback.
5. Feedback Collection Platforms
You can take advantage of software tools designed to collect user feedback and route it to the correct party.
- Highly scalable.
- Can aggregate qualitative and quantitative data from every feedback source in one place, making it easy to access and use to make decisions.
- Cost may be a con if your budget is tight.
- Customer teams may require a bit of training to help them understand how the system works.
All of these communication channels come with their benefits and disadvantages, and the right approach is probably some combination of several. It’s up to you and your team to decide which recipe of channels works best for you.