An illuminating new view of customer feedback (real startup example)

Here’s how startup Great Question organizes customer feedback

A few weeks ago I was chatting with my friend Ned Dwyer, co-founder and CEO of Great Question. (They make an excellent all-in-one customer research platform that’s used by Brex, O’Reilly, MainStreet, and tons of other companies.)

I’m always looking for better ways to capture and understand lessons from customer research—indeed, much of what we do in Design Sprints at Character is exactly that!—so I was excited when Ned shared this visualization of customer feedback that they use internally.

Feedback organized by key customer

It’s intentionally blurry, but hopefully you can see that the each piece of feedback is captured in a digital “sticky note”, color-coded, and organized by key customer.

It’s not perfect as a data visualization, but it tells a clear story: The cyan, light gray, and dark gray customers have more to say than the others!

This alone is valuable, because questions, feature requests, usability issues, and bug reports from customers indicate both the intensity and quality of their experience with the product.

But then it got really interesting…

Ned flipped into a different view, where each bit of feedback across customers was clustered by product area.

Customer feedback organized by product area

Now we have a much more valuable picture, showing that most of the feedback comes from just three or four product areas—across all of the major customers.

Then Ned took one step further and showed me a version where feedback was sub-clustered by theme within each product area.

I was really excited about these views, because I immediately saw that you can use an Opportunity Sprint or Cost-Risk Matrix to evaluate each problem area, then a Design Sprint (if needed) to figure out how to fix it.

As far as I know, Great Question designer Sean Langton made these visualizations manually in FigJam.

But I can imagine a powerful tool that makes and manages similar views automatically, helping product teams understand and prioritize opportunities—both negative and positive—based on customer feedback.

Perhaps Great Question themselves will build it…

— JZ

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John Zeratsky

Supporting startups with capital and sprints. Co-founder and general partner at Character. Author of Sprint and Make Time. Former partner at GV.