The Feedback Workflow

Introduction

Our customers often ask us about the best way to implement Pendo Feedback into their existing workflow.

It turns out that using Feedback doesn’t require many changes to your current set-up at all. A few minor tweaks and you’re good to go.

If you're starting from scratch, it makes sense to read through from start to finish, planning your own process as you go. We've included specific items to consider for each step of your workflow as you plan.

If you're already a Feedback customer, and have been using a different workflow, then you can probably jump to the most relevant parts, following these steps to update your current process.

1. Who will use Pendo Feedback?

There are three main groups of people who will be involved with Feedback. These are the Champions, the Managers, and the Analysts.

Feedback Champions

The Feedback Champions are the people in your company who understand all the best practices around Feedback.

They’re basically the go-to people if someone in your organization has a question about using Feedback, and they’ll be the ones hosting training sessions.

Ultimately, they ‘own’ Feedback, and are responsible for its success.

Feedback Managers

The Feedback Managers are people who know your product inside-out, and who are also comfortable speaking with customers.

Their responsibility is to triage any new requests and update them to “Awaiting Feedback”, as well as ensure the roadmap is up-to-date.

Feedback Analysts

The Feedback Analysts are the people who need to know what your users want from your product. Analysts are often on the product team, who want to know what your customers or prospects are asking for before the next roadmapping meeting. Or they might be the Head of Sales wanting to know why you’re losing deals, or a CSM needing to know a customer’s priorities before a call.

Their job is to use Feedback’s reporting features to dive in and analyze the data you’ve collected, and then use that to inform future plans for your product.

2. What is the Workflow?

The idea behind this workflow is that you can easily integrate it with your existing way of doing things. It doesn’t take up much more time at all, but leads to far better results.

There are four main tasks that need to be completed as part of the workflow.

These are:

  • Triage
  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Updating

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Triage

This step involves reviewing any new requests that come in. Luckily it isn’t as much work as you might think. In fact, 95% of requests you receive can be bulk triaged in seconds.

All you have to do is change the status of any new requests to “Awaiting Feedback”.

This step allows anyone who submits feedback to receive a response fairly quickly, helping you to close the feedback loop. You can then wait for your users to come in and vote, prioritize, and add extra feedback to those requests. This frees you up to focus on what you are working on already, and stops you worrying about what each individual customer is asking for.

This task should be owned by one or more of your Feedback Managers.

Note: If you want your Feedback account to be more controlled, then we recommend that you do not allow customers to submit new requests, and simply gather feedback on the projects you know you’re going to build. This is an option on your settings page.

Research

Chances are, you already have a lot of things planned for the future, and already have an idea of where you want to go next with your product.

Feedback is able to help you bring the voice of your customers and team members into your existing plans.

This part of the workflow involves using Feedback to gather more detail and feedback for specific projects that you have planned, so that you can enhance what you’re already working on.

This task will frequently be carried out by your Feedback Managers, but ultimately anyone who needs the information can use Feedback to get it.

Analysis

Once you’ve made headway with your current and upcoming projects, you’ll want to start planning even further into the future.

This task involves using Feedback’s reporting features to identify your customers, prospects, and team members’ priorities, so that you have an idea of what you could be working on next.

It’s also a way of discovering any quick wins that you might want to work on if there are some gaps in your roadmap.

This part of the workflow should generally be owned by your Feedback Analysts, but will probably involve roadmap owners or product owners as well.

Updating

This is actually the most important part of the Feedback workflow. If you don’t communicate back to your users, then you could end up alienating them, and reducing the amount, and quality, of future feedback.

A lack of communication means the emphasis ends up being on what you aren’t building, rather than what you are. If, however, you keep Feedback updated, then you’ll make your customers and team members excited about what’s to come.

Your Feedback Managers will be the ones responsible for this part of the workflow.

3. How will we Implement the Workflow?

Now that you understand what the workflow entails, and who should be responsible for each part, let’s explore how you can implement the workflow.

In each section below we give you our standard recommendations, customization options for your company, and action items to help keep you organized.

You'll want to outline each step of your process in your Team Guidelines DocumentThis will make training, answering common questions, and getting new employees up to speed a breeze.

Triage

Here's what your basic Triage should entail:

  • First, you need a great "Awaiting Feedback" saved response that you can use to communicate with customers. You need to reassure them that you're grateful for their feedback and set expectations. We recommend linking to your roadmap and Product Feedback Policy.
  • Each week or two, each Feedback manager should do a quick scan through any new requests and bulk update them to "Awaiting Feedback".
    • If they spot an obvious duplicate or accidental requests then they should merge or delete them, but most requests are fine to be bulk updated. (Learn why this approach is best for incoming feedback.)
  • Get tagging automated as soon as you can. If you need to manually tag up requests, make sure there's a really good reason for doing so (eg. the Leadership team need to filter out a specific type of request that can't be auto-tagged).

How to Customize our Recommendations for your Company's Workflow:

Beyond our standard recommendations, there are several decisions you need to make to finalize your own workflow. Below we've listed these options and included our recommendations in terms of what works for our customers...

1: What does triage actually entail?

Generally this is a bulk update of any new requests to "Awaiting Feedback", but what if a duplicate is submitted? Or a request that you know isn't going to be built? Do you get requests in multiple languages?

Give your Feedback Managers specific guidelines so they can be as efficient as possible.

2: How will we split ownership?

Use Apps, Product Areas or Request Assignee to assign ownership to new requests. (We've found that making people responsible for certain days or weeks isn't as effective.)

Each app or area can have a team of managers, but make sure there's one individual who is ultimately responsible for keeping things updated.

3: What if a bug is submitted?

We recommend declining these so the customer receives a notification, with a status explaining that it has been passed on to Support as a bug report. You can then delete the request from Feedback.

If it happens often, consider leaving it in Feedback so others will see the declined status and won't create a duplicate, causing more time to be spent on triage in the long run.

4: What if we know we're never going to build a request?

It can actually be worth building up a backlog of declined requests in Feedback. Then when others request it in the future, you have a well thought out response waiting for them. This saves triage time as well.

5: Do we want moderation turned on?

Moderation will stop any customer requests from being visible to other customers right away. You can find this on your Settings page.

Action items for the "Triage" step:

  • Set up a great "Awaiting feedback" saved response.
  • Get feature tagging automated.
  • Update your Team Guidelines document.
  • Set up training for your Feedback Managers.

Research

You'll need to carefully plan out your Research phase to make sure development planning doesn’t start until customer & team research has been done.

Ideally all of your development projects, both internal and external facing, are created in Feedback before they're moved to the building phase. (See the "Updating" step below.)

Until you get to that point, you'll want to run through the following steps before development planning starts.

First, search for requests that relate to your project.

If there are relevant requests in Feedback, send out a flexible email to those who have voted, and ask for everyone's updated use cases based on the project you're researching.

You can also send this email out to a new segment of customers and team members. For example, if you're working on a project for Enterprise customers, send it out to your Enterprise accounts.

If you don’t find any relevant requests in Feedback, create a new request for that project, explaining what you’re hoping to achieve.

And again, use flexible emailing to ask relevant users for any feedback they have and get a discussion started.

Here's an example email sent out to determine what our customers would need from a new feature we were researching:

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This will give you amazing information that you can use to enhance the work you’re already doing.

How to Customize our Recommendations for your Company's Workflow:

There's one main decision you need to make when it comes to the Research section...

1: At what stage should we research?

Most of our customers will research when they move things to "Building" because it might be a while before you're ready to move something to "Planned". If, however, you use "Planned" as your 'coming up next' status, then researching at this point might work for you.

Action items for the "Research" step:

  • Auto-tag your accounts, users and team members so you can fully utilize flexible emailing.
  • Get this research step into your development process.
  • Update your Team Guidelines document.
  • Set up training for your Feedback Managers or other users who will be responsible for this step.
  • Set up a zapier to notify the correct user via email or slack when an item is moved to the “building” status.

Analysis

The analysis phase is great for when you have some extra room on your roadmap, you can use Feedback reports to figure out what should be considered next.

Each analyst will have a different approach based on their goals.

In the context of the product team, you’ll want to use your product strategy to identify what your goals are and which reports you’ll want to look at.

If the goal this quarter is to close more enterprise deals, you can look at your predefined report for your high value customers and then also take a peek at what your high value prospects have been asking for.

Your CSMs on the other hand, might just want to know what a specific account’s top priorities are before their next call.  

As champion, it’s not your job to identify every report that every analyst will want to look at and when, but you can give them the information they need to get the data themselves.

This article explains how Feedback's reporting works.

Action items for the "Analysis" step:

  • Update your Team Guidelines document.
  • Set up training for your Feedback Analysts.

Updating

Anything you’re working on, whether it’s big strategic projects, quick wins, or anything in-between, should go into Feedback if they aren’t already.

If they are, then those particular requests should have their status updated according to the progress you’re making. Every time a project moves to the next stage of development, be sure to update the relevant request in Feedback.

One useful way of keeping Feedback up-to-date is to have the Feedback Managers in on any roadmapping meetings you have, so they can update any statuses as they go along.

How to Customize our Recommendations for your Company's Workflow:

There's one decision you need to make regarding the Updating section...

1: How often will Feedback managers get information about what the Product team is building?

This doesn't have to be an instant, ongoing process. It could be weekly, monthly, quarterly - as long as it gets done.

We recommend including the relevant Feedback Managers in on the product meetings where roadmapping decisions are made, and then sharing a roadmap or internal (product team) planning document to make sure everything is covered.

2: Who is responsible for this step?

Similar to the Triage ownership, Apps Product Areas & Request Assignee work great for assigning ownership between your Feedback Managers.

Optional: How do we Update our Existing Workflow?

If you've already been using Feedback for some time, but haven't ever implemented this workflow, then it's actually even easier for you. You're already 90% there.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Identify your Feedback Champions, Managers, and Analysts.
  2. Work through the workflow above and note any changes that need to be made to your current process.
  3. If you have a big library of "Not Reviewed" requests in Feedback, make triaging these a part of your "Manager training".
  4. Update your Team Guidelines document, or create one if you don't yet have one.
  5. Train your relevant employees.

Summary

Hopefully this has shown you that implementing Feedback doesn’t mean starting from scratch, or introducing a whole new process into your company.

Instead, Feedback can easily integrate into your existing workflow and be used to enhance and augment what you’re already doing.

Remember that you need to decide who is doing what:

  • You need Feedback Champions who own the overall handling of Feedback, and who are there to answer any questions about it.
  • You need Feedback Managers who are there to triage new requests and keep Feedback up-to-date.
  • And finally, you need Feedback Analysts who dive into the reporting data to uncover insights and user priorities.

Then the workflow can be seen as four distinct parts:

  • Triage - Where new requests are set to “Awaiting Feedback”.
  • Research - Where you gather more data to enhance what you’re already working on.
  • Analysis - Where you use the reports to help you decide what goes on your roadmap next.
  • Updating - Where you ensure Feedback is updated regularly, and you communicate back to your users.

Follow this workflow, or adopt it into your existing workflow, and Feedback will help you to build the best possible products.