Community feedback: asking is just the beginning

This morning in the always fast-paced tweet chat run by Buffer, an interesting topic came up that I feel is often overlooked by community builders and brands. The subject of the conversation was Nir Eyal‘s Hook Model, which essentially helps brands build habit-forming products.

A question was raised concerning how to figure out the current pain points of users of a platform or product, and the number one answer, of course, was to “ASK!!!”

Asking is, of course, the first part of the answer to this question, but it certainly isn’t the only one; and I don’t even think it’s the most important one. Having led community input efforts for’s redesign last year, I learned the importance of the next two steps of the community feedback loop.

1. Ask

It’s still important to address the fact that you can and should be asking your community about some of the pain points they’re facing with your product. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the ones that are most often overlooked, or transparently asking is frowned upon. This first point just serves as a little reminder that asking your community what’s bothering them is a-ok, and is in fact considered a best practice these days.

2. Follow up

Some might call this step “listen.” When you ask something of your community, especially when it has to do with a negative sentiment they might be feeling about your product, it’s super important to make sure you acknowledge their response. You can even take it a step further and ask questions about why they consider this a pain point and what might make it better for them. Conversations are a two-way street and this is no exception. But, it doesn’t stop there.

3. Take action

You asked, you listened, you even engaged. Guess what, though? Your job is still only 2/3 done. When consumer are asked about issues they’re facing they want two things in return: a response and/or a conversation, and an action to fix it. Addressing the responses that you receive when asking about pain points is great, but it could very easily end up feeling like an empty gesture if months have passed and nothing has been done about it.

When asking for feedback from your community, it’s important to make sure that you and the rest of your team are ready to take that feedback into consideration and make a change in the near future.

[Of course, you shouldn’t be expected to get rid of every single pain point, or implement every single suggested feature – that’s where managing expectations comes in, which is a whole different blogpost!]

Do you use your community as an active feedback loop? How do you ensure that they’re not left feeling ignored? Let’s discuss in the comments or on Twitter!

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About the Author

Ally Greer
Ally is's Director of Content & Community. She loves to geek out over anything social, Internet, or tech related. When she isn't working, you'll probably find her running the streets of San Francisco. Follow Ally on Twitter @allygreer.

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3 Comments on "Community feedback: asking is just the beginning"

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Great post, Ally! I would elaborate on one part of it. That’s if you are not in a place to seek out, listen and accept feedback from your community, then don’t pretend like you want it. That also goes for being willing to accept and listen to feedback, but never doing it anything with said feedback or promising things that never happen. That’s a lot more damaging to the community’s health in the long-term than a simple, but polite no thanks.

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