Feedback Management Systems: Explanation, Step-by-Step Guide, Examples, and Best Tools
You need to build a product that your customers actually want to buy. It needs to solve their problem.
And to keep customers happy, they need to continue to get value out of it.
How can you uncover what they want and need?
They tell you. And you listen.
A feedback management system helps you collect what you hear and use it to make better product decisions.
What is a feedback management system?
A feedback management system is a set of processes that helps you collect, track, and respond to customer feedback. A good feedback management system will allow you to solicit feedback, gather it in one place, and then analyze it to pull out insights. After that, you want to act on your feedback—use it to inform product decisions.
Many companies use customer feedback tools as the central pillar of their feedback management system. (We talk about several of these tools later in the article—skip ahead now!)
Note: Savio helps B2B SaaS Customer Success, Product, and Sales teams organize and prioritize product feedback and feature requests. Learn more about Savio here.
Customer feedback management vs. enterprise feedback management
You might see feedback management systems called “enterprise feedback management” systems or EFMs.
That’s an old term for a category of software tools that helped large companies manage a complex system of feedback. Modern companies don’t use EFM much anymore because the focus is wrong.
Enterprise. Our focus is now on the customer, not the enterprise
Feedback. There are a variety of inputs that we care about, not just feedback
Management. We often are more interested in insights and action, than simply managing.
Customer feedback management (CFM) is a more modern term and puts the focus more squarely on the customer.
Some prefer going even further and using “Customer Insight and Action (CIA) systems”. Others will talk about these as experience management systems.
Why gather feedback?
There are many reasons to collect and use customer feedback. The short, overarching answer is that it helps you understand what your customers want so that you can give it to them.
But there are lots of ways you can use customer feedback at any stage in the development cycle. It can tell you:
Why prospects are (or aren’t) signing up for your free trial. Use this feedback to increase trial sign-ups.
What the “Aha!” moments for customers are. Use this information to help guide your user onboarding process.
Why customers decide to convert to paying plans. Use this to boost conversion.
What features your customers want. Use this to understand what features to build to keep them happy.
What features your churned users would have liked. Use this to build features that increase customer retention.
Customer feedback is a kind of market research that you do on an ongoing basis. gives you the information you need to make good product decisions and build high-impact features.
Make sure you’re collecting it.
How to build a robust feedback management system (step-by-step)
To make sure none of your customer feedback falls through the cracks, design a robust system to capture product feedback, organize it, and then use it to inform your product decisions.
What’s the best way to build that system?
After in-depth conversations with hundreds of Product leaders, we’ve found the following template is very effective:
Ask: Invite your customers to give you feedback
Centralize: Collect it in a single place
Prioritize: Analyze your feedback to gain insights and understand what matters most
Act: Use your feedback to inform product development
Follow up: Closing the feedback loop with customers
Importantly, this system recognizes that customer feedback is a loop. When customers see that their feedback is heard, valued, and acted upon, they’re willing to give more. It becomes a virtuous cycle.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to design the ultimate customer feedback system to build better software.
1. Ask: Invite feedback from your users
The first step in a powerful user feedback strategy is to invite feedback.
Ideally, that means you ask for it. How you do that can vary widely depending on your business and product. Three of the big decisions are what to ask for, when to ask for feedback, and how to ask for it.
Decide what feedback to ask for
Some of the most common types of feedback you may want are:
Feature requests and product suggestions (these are critical)
Customer experience data
Customer satisfaction scores
Decide when to ask for feedback
You can collect customer feedback at pretty much any stage of the customer journey:
Before customers sign up for your free trial
After new customers sign up for the trial
After conversion from trial to paid
As they use your app
As they look at the changelog
When you launch new features
While they’re testing a beta version of a new feature
Or when they cancel your service
Asking for feedback at each of those points gives you different kinds of information that you can use in different ways.
Decide how to ask for feedback
Your next decision is the how. Some options include:
Customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT, NPS, CES, etc)
Website and in-app widgets
Feature voting boards
And many more.
There are so many possibilities that we actually started a big list of how others are asking for feedback to give you inspiration. Check out these 51+ examples of how SaaS companies ask for product feedback.
Respond to the feedback you receive
Don’t forget to acknowledge feedback when you get it. This is powerful because it shows that you’re listening. Respond personally and politely—especially to negative feedback.
2. Centralize your feedback
Now that feedback is coming in, you need a place to put it.
If you’re a brand new startup or you get relatively little feedback, you could probably get away with using spreadsheets or a Trello board to keep track of your feedback and feature requests. But that’s if you’ve got a good flow of feedback coming in, you’ll probably want a purpose-built feature request app tool.
Note that the tool you choose should be able to easily pull in feedback from any source so that all your customer-facing teams—Sales, Customer Success, your help desk, and Product—can use it without switching tools. For example, you may need it to:
Connect to your Intercom, Help Scout, Zendesk, or other customer support tool
Connect to HubSpot CRM or Salesforce so your Sales team can easily submit feedback
Accept feedback via email
Bring in responses from feedback surveys
Receive feedback from a form on your website
Permit customers to upvote features on a voting board
In other words, think about all the sources where you receive feedback, and make sure your customer feedback management tool can connect to them and automate feedback collection.
3. Prioritize your feedback: Categorize, filter, sort, and analyze
Your feedback is in one place. Now you have to use it to inform your product roadmap and strategy.
We’ve written a guide on how product managers can prioritize feature requests, and that’s still our best model for how to make sense of a big pile of requests. Briefly, what that looks like is:
Clarify your business goals. Are you most interested in increasing acquisition? Retention? Expansion? Think about what your focus is.
Filter for feedback. Now look for what matters to relevant customer segments. For instance, if you’re trying to reduce churn, figure out what features your churned customers wanted.
Prioritize. With clarity around the features that matter to your customers, figure out what goes on the product roadmap. Here’s where you take into account strategic alignment, effort, development resources, and so on.
By the end of this step, you should have a good idea of what you’re going to build and how it will contribute to accomplishing your business goals.
4. Act on your feedback: Build features customers ask for
With new features that your customers have requested on your product roadmap, you just need to build.
At this stage, you sometimes run into some pushback from your team members or stakeholders—execs, the Dev team, and so on.
Luckily, feedback comes in handy here, too.
If your feedback has been carefully collected and analyzed, it’s easy to use it to justify new product and business decisions. Show it to your executives or your Dev team and use it to explain what your customers want. You can even provide links to your feedback data so your teams can see for themselves what your customers are asking for.
Here’s an example of how you can use feedback to justify product decisions.
With everyone on the same page, you’ll be able to plow through your roadmap and get your features built.
5. Follow up: Tell your customers when you listen to them
The next part is very simple, but so many people forget it: close the feedback loop with your customers when you build a feature they asked for.
And here we’re talking about sending a personal email directly to each customer that asked for a feature.
Of course, you should do the other communications pieces too: send out a general email to users, write a blog post about the new functionality, update your change log, and so on.
But also, make an effort to connect individually with all the people that asked for a feature that you built. This is called closing the customer feedback loop.
Your message can be super simple. Just note that you built a feature they asked for, show them where they can learn more about using it, and then thank them for the feedback—and encourage them to give more.
A simple, personalized message gives you credit for not just listening, but also for acting on the feedback you were given. Customers love this—it’s perhaps the easiest way to build customer loyalty.
The other main benefit of closing the loop is that your customers will see that you really use their feedback. That encourages them to give you more.
Feedback management software tools
There are a ton of different tools you can use to build your feedback management system. Some tools are better for some parts of the system than others.
Best product feedback software tools. These are the best tools we’ve seen for both collecting and organizing product feedback.
Powerful Feature Request Software Tools for SaaS Teams. These are tools designed specifically for collecting and tracking feature requests for SaaS companies.
NPS software tools. These tools are specifically designed to solicit net promoter scores (NPSs) from your customers.
Best survey software. This is a list of survey tools that are great for collecting feedback from online surveys. Most also come with common survey templates.
Roadmapping tools. This is a list of tools that are designed to produce visual roadmap documents for your customers, teams, and stakeholders.
Voting board tools. Here are some of the tools that can help you manage a public voting board. It also outlines some of the pitfalls of feature voting, and ways to avoid them.
Free feature request tracking apps. On a budget? Here are some of the tools that have free plans.
Note: Savio is the best feedback management tool. It helps SaaS companies centralize, organize, and prioritize customer feedback and feature requests. And it makes it easy to close the loop. Try Savio for free.
Example: How we track and use customer feedback at Savio
What does a feedback management system actually look like in practice? This is the system we use at Savio to maintain a healthy pipeline of feedback and feature requests.
Ask: We ask for feedback in a variety of places
We ask for feedback at several touchpoints in different ways:
We reach out to customers directly to ask them what they think of Savio
We have people send us feedback via Intercom
We invite people to email us directly
And we have a public voting board
We also give people an easy way to request features in our app.
Then we respond to all the feedback we get.
Centralize: We collect our feedback in Savio
We use Savio to centralize our feedback. Savio is extremely easy to use and very flexible—it can bring in feedback from anywhere you get it.
We use the Chrome Extension to take feedback from customer calls and send it to Savio
We use Intercom integration to bring messages into Savio as feedback
And entries on our voting board get sent directly into Savio
Savio also offers a number of other integrations with customer support tools (Help Scout and Zendesk) as well as CRMs (HubSpot and Salesforce). You can also connect with it through thousands of other feedback tools through Zapier. And you can even send feedback programmatically to Savio using our API.
Analyze: We filter and sort our feedback in Savio
Again, we use Savio to filter, sort, and analyze our feedback so we know what our customers want.
Savio offers powerful tools for segmenting. It pulls in customer and company attributes using integrations to other apps—in our case, Intercom. That way, when someone makes a feature request, we can see their MRR, plan, stage in the customer lifecycle, and more.
When we’re trying to understand what to build, it’s easy to quickly find the feature requests that:
Have the highest MRR associated with them
Are most requested by churned customers
Are the most requested in the last 30 days
Are the most requested by customers on our Enterprise plan
Have a given tag
And so on.
Savio makes it easy to find the highest-impact features, including those with the highest MRR.
Prioritize: We plan our product roadmap based on user feedback
Once we know what our various customer segments are asking for, we use that to make product decisions. At this stage, we also take into account effort for each feature, the resources we have available, bugs we need to fix, and tech debt.
We make these roadmapping decisions in a product meeting. The meeting typically starts by reviewing the status of previous features and then selecting the next round of features to build.
Read more: How to run your Product meeting with Savio
Act: We build features and update their status in Savio
While our Development team works its magic, we follow the status of the features we’re building.
Our Dev team works with Jira. We use Savio’s Jira integration to make sure that when a feature moves along the Dev team’s workflow, its status automatically updates in Savio.
Follow-up: We use Savio to close the loop with customers
When we finish building a new feature, we go through a communications workflow to ensure our users know about it and how to use it.
We write a knowledge base article with instructions to set up and use the new feature
We write a blog article announcing the feature
We send out email notifications to users announcing the feature
We update our changelog
But the most critical piece at this stage is closing the loop with the individuals that asked for the feature. We send them a personalized email telling them we built what they asked for. We do this through Savio’s close-the-loop feature—it takes just a few clicks.
Nail your feedback management system to build better products
Feedback is gold. It’s at the core of good software.
So make sure you have a leak-proof way to collect it, centralize it, prioritize it, and act on it. And then don’t forget to follow up.
Savio is a lightweight tool that makes it easy to build an iron-clad feedback system so you have a single source of truth for the voice of the customer.
It can centralize feedback from any source
It filters, sorts, and segments feedback so you can draw actionable insights
It makes it easy to identify and prioritize high-impact features
It helps you share your customer feedback with your team
It lets you close the feedback loop in seconds with just a few clicks.
Take Savio for a spin—it’s free.
Kareem is a co-founder at Savio. He's been prioritizing customer feedback professionally since 2001. He likes tea and tea snacks, and dislikes refraining from eating lots of tea snacks.
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