Product Feedback

4 min read

Product Experts Weigh In: Sarah Doody on Micro-Feedback

In case you’ve missed it, we at UserVoice blog are currently *obsessed* with best practices for customer feedback - how to do it right, how to do it wrong, how to onboard your co-workers, etc., etc. In keeping with this theme, we decided to talk to experts and get their perspectives on how to optimize customer feedback. This post is the first of a handful of influencer interviews we’ll be sharing in the coming weeks.[divider] [/divider]Sarah Doody is an NYC-based UX designer, consultant, and writer, who helps companies evolve their user experiences and assists startups in launching products.After hearing Doody’s sharp take on the connection between user experience and product management on an episode of This is Product Management (highly recommended for both product and UX folks), I decided to reach out to her and pick her brain on how product folks can get the most out of user feedback.Doody’s perspective is understandably UX conscious, noting that you should always ask yourself why you’re collecting feedback, consider user context, and err on the side of time-sensitive “micro-”feedback.


why should your feedback be micro?

“Without being clear about the why behind the research, there’s a risk that the feedback will be too vague and there won’t be any specific conclusions or findings,” she says, adding that, “To collect quality customer feedback requires that you consider the context.” Doody gives an example of a particularly context-insensitive, extended survey that Delta Airlines sent her two days after a flight — it was not close enough to the flight experience, much too long, and felt “like work.”[Tweet ""To collect quality customer feedback requires that you consider the context." - Sarah Doody"]


be timely about micro-feedback

Doody suggests that you go small, evangelizing for “micro-feedback:”“To successfully implement a customer feedback program, don’t try to collect everything at once. Instead, focus on micro-feedback — smaller bits of customer feedback at the right time in their experience. Identify the triggers or activities in the customer journey that you want feedback on and make it dead simple for the customer to provide feedback. You will collect more authentic information by seeking out smaller bits customer feedback more frequently rather than trying to collect a lot of information all at once.”She offers Instacart as one example of a company who does this well: “A few minutes after a customer receives a delivery, Instacart sends a text message and asks the customer to rate the delivery on a scale of 1 - 10. Simply by texting back one number, customers can send their feedback from a mobile device - far easier than sending an email which leads to a survey.”


the bad kind of micro-feedback

But it’s also possible, she notes, to do this poorly: “The key to collecting micro-feedback is that it needs to be contextual — and not interrupting a user. As a user, one of the most frustrating examples of micro-feedback that I encounter is when I’m on a site and all of a sudden a pop up comes up asking me for feedback or if I’m ok doing a survey. It’s the right idea, but the wrong timing. Another example is when you’re using an app, and you get a pop up that asks you to review the app. I absolutely hate these because they are interrupting whatever I’m doing in the app!"She’s right - those “take my survey” solicitations are about as annoying as the spam “urgent message” phone calls I’ve been receiving where they claim they’ve found a way to drastically reduce my electricity bill. (If anyone knows how I can stop these, please send me a note. I will be eternally grateful.) There’s even a whole Tumblr called Eff Your Review dedicated to venting about in-app survey solicitations.In sum: collect micro-feedback, but do it in a way that’s easy for the user and context-and-time-sensitive.This is one micro idea that will get you...wait for it….macro results.

Further Reading

Check out Doody’s article on micro-feedback here: can also find her guide to collecting micro-feedback here: stop by her tip-filled UX/product website,