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Aug 29, 2019 14:54:28

Canny Best Practices: Using Canny publicly

by @hum | 858 words | 🐣 | 417💌

Sarah Hum

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Continuing our series on Canny use cases. Check out the other ones:

Canny Best Practices: Using Canny privately

Canny Best Practices: Using Canny internally


Most teams using Canny are collecting feedback publicly from their customers. 

When your company is small, a simple spreadsheet might be enough to keep track of feedback. As your company grows, it becomes harder to use the feedback to improve your product. The feedback gets lost, the spreadsheet becomes outdated, and you no longer have a source of truth for customer feedback.

Ahrefs, a Canny customer, has a rapidly growing customer base with constant incoming feedback:

“I know if we stopped using Canny today, tracking feature requests would be a disaster.”
– Tim Soulo, CMO at Ahrefs

We've designed Canny to help teams like Ahrefs to collect feedback at scale with minimal effort. We want Canny to be your home for customer feedback. 

Our goal is to get you as much feedback as possible in an organized way. That way, you can use the data to make informed product decisions. Your customers will also appreciate being involved in building your roadmap.

Setting Canny up is easy and you'll be well on your way to organized feedback.

Collecting feedback

When you create your account, you automatically get a Canny subdomain (e.g. appy.canny.io). The easiest thing you can do is link to that page within your product. We've written more about asking for feedback within your product.

We strongly believe that feedback is only useful if you know who it's coming from. The best way to do that is by identifying your customers. That way, people won't have to create an account to give feedback. Someone technical should be able to set it up in 15 minutes. Here are the instructions.

That's all it takes! Your customers should now be able to find your feedback link when they need it.

Here's an exhaustive writeup of how you can introduce Canny to your customers.

You can also supplement with our vote on behalf feature. If your team talks directly to customers (live chat, sales calls, etc.), this is a great way to capture feedback from those chats. We have Intercom and Zendesk integrations to make that even easier. This ensures that no feedback is falling through the cracks. 

Over time, Canny should grow into your single source of truth for customer feedback. You’ll be able to see the top requested features and make product decisions informed by feedback. You’ll also have a handy list of people you can reach out to personally with further questions.

TIP: We don't think it's necessary to respond to all requests. We follow this general rule: Respond when it’s helpful for both you and your user. We've written more about the specific situations when you should respond.

Understand your feedback

As a product manager, your job is to make product decisions based on data. 

With feature requests, you often need to identify the source of the request. Customers will often suggest a solution to a problem. Always ask for clarification so you understand the problem:

Customer: I’m going to need a faster horse.
You: Can you tell me why you need a faster horse?
Customer: Because I need to get from point A to B quicker.
You: OK, I understand that problem. How about a Ford? It’ll get you from point A to B much quicker than a really fast horse would.
Customer: Cool!

TIP: As a Canny admin, you can modify post titles and descriptions to better match the actual request. You can also use internal comments to note customer stories and use cases for a particular request.

You also shouldn't just build what has the most votes. It's important to consider who the votes are coming from. User segmentation is a powerful feature that enables you to look at feedback based on specific user groups. For example, the top voted post overall might be a lot less popular to paying customers.

Feedback is a great data source to inform your product decisions if you know how to use it.

Closing the feedback loop

With spreadsheets, following up with customers on their feedback is a huge task. If you're tracking a lot of feedback, it takes a lot of time to update everyone manually.

With Canny, all you need to do is change the status of the request. Everyone who requested it gets an email. Here's more information about each Canny status and how to best communicate updates to your customers.

We highly recommend keeping your statuses updated. It’s the final step that says to your customers, “we’ve heard you and your feedback has made a difference”. Your customers will really appreciate and be impressed by the follow up.

TIP: When you change the status of a feature to complete, it's the perfect time to add it to your changelog. That way, all your customers who didn't vote on the feedback post will also know about your new features.

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