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How to influence without authority: My journey

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Strongly advocating to set up a feedback collection system is perhaps one of the most impactful things I've recently done.

It allows people provide feedback without being bothered by a chain of replies from customer support.

Today, we have a very simple form which pre-populates as much information as possible (email, plan, Mixpanel ID, etc).

This is how the form looks like for logged in users...

For users without an email addresses, we ask them to share it. It's not a mandatory question to have fewer drop offs and more feedback.

The Case Against Feedback

Historically, our team received feedback via customer support tickets, tweets to our brand account, or replies to our marketing emails. So, it's not like there's zero feedback coming in!

What this does is that there's no trigger moment that can push your team to add a feedback tool. Without a trigger moment, motivating someone to take action becomes more challenging.

Inherent Culture and Beliefs

If your company doesn't have a simple feedback collection system in place, the feedback loops take far longer to cycle through.

As someone working in growth, shorter feedback cycles is crucial! It's our bread and butter.

If you don't have a feedback tool, it's likely because there's of an inherent culture to not ask for feedback for reasons such as these:

So, it's hard to make a case for adding a feedback button and using tools like UserSnap that demand a certain level of development support.

But...I absolutely wanted a feedback collection tool

I had my own reasons for this...

  • Feedback from multiple channels can be delayed.

  • If it's not easy enough, people will just not do it. Earlier, when people hit an error page, our ask to them was publicly tweet at us. 😅

  • I'd rather connect our designers to our users so they don't have to take my word for why a certain design decision or a product decision can hurt us.

  • It's a way the entire company becomes more customer-centric and learn together instead of having varying levels of understanding about our customers.

  • I was unofficially proclaimed as the best bug hunter at Streamline. Sometimes I can be a bit nitpicky too so having a large enough audience do that at scale gives me more mental peace.

  • Feedback is a gift and you can never have enough of it!

  • Marketing was being asked to add a feedback collection email in the lifecycle email campaigns, which isn't the ideal place to ask for feedback IMO.

So, how did we deploy a feedback collection system?

One thing I've learned is that you have to let people make decisions for themselves.

Your job is to provide them with information and share the context.

Then encourage them to react to trigger moments. And prime them into getting to that decision.

It's pretty much like sales. Selling isn’t something we do to people. We do it with them. People buy products; we don't sell.

Similarly, I can't make decisions for people with higher authority. I do it with them.

The tricky thing about feedback is that stakeholders need to experience it to know its value. And they can't experience it unless they implement a solution.

Our Trigger Moment:

Streamline was launching a redesign and rebrand! It was a huge change — new logo, new branding, new UX, new monetization plans. A massive amount of team work and months of work!

This could have been a significant trigger moment but it was heightened by the fact that we had to ship earlier than planned to meet a certain deadline.

So, we had to rely on our users quite a bit to tell us incase we missed out something major.

But even still, it was challenging to install a software like UserSnap because it required dev resources at a time where we were constrained.

For us, we have tools like Tag Manager that make integrating software too easy. But for product people and devs, they are usually more wary of the integration costs. There's more management, more setup, more time, reliability issues etc.

So we ended up embedding which is an alternative to Google Forms or Typeform. Now Tally isn't great as a feedback tool because it doesn't get us console data or any other data that is needed for better bug reporting but it gets us started on the right track. It was easy to implement and I bet we will graduate us to a more sophisticated tool in the future.

Did implementing Tally save us time?

Maybe not - it probably took us the same amount of time as it would have to implement UserSnap.

Final Thoughts

  • Stakeholders were surprised how often feedback came in. Interestingly, I was surprised that it didn't come in as frequently as I thought it would. So, I guess everyone either under-estimated or over-estimated! 😅

  • It saved us a lot of time and revenue. For example, we found out that our pricing pages had a mismatch. A simple typo led to lost revenue. We shipped new features that broke people's workflow. And all this feedback came pouring in.

  • Feedback is very costly. People spend time away from your product writing feedback so make sure you don't ask too much of it!

  • Our team was very swift in getting user feedback into the product. We shipped things in days, not weeks!

Thanks for reading!

I'm trying to better understand who my audience is. If you've got ten minutes, I would love to do a user research call:




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