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Uservoice – A More Sustainable way to Gain Customer Insight

| Wednesday May 20th, 2009 | 4 Comments

Uservoice.jpegThere are many ways for businesses to learn from their customers – the typical arsenal includes focus groups, surveys, and recently, social media “listening” tools. While all those have their value, they all can use an inordinate amount of time, energy, and money to manage.
Most consumer insight research involves outreach on the part of the company. You have to find your customers/potential customers, and perhaps incentivize them to participate. What if they came to you, felt heard, and were managed in such a way as to give only the most pertinent results?
Uservoice would seem to fit that description.
Whereas user forums can get cluttered with numerous one-off duplicates of the same issue, clouded by vocal minorities, and in turn discouraging to others that may have had valuable insight, Uservoice has put one simple, effective boundary to remedy all of this:


uservoice%20voting%20interface.jpegEach person gets a total of 10 votes to use, however they choose. 1-3 votes are allowed per idea, and if they choose to input a new idea, Uservoice live searches for similar/duplicate results.
And instead of having customers jump through a number of hoops to where they can get their voice heard, they allow you to easily integrate a small, noticeable yet unobtrusive tab on the side of your website that says “Feedback.” The user is taken to a small window showing the current most popular ideas, with the option to then go to the overall feedback forum hosted by Uservoice. For online/software based companies, there’s also a separate link for reporting bugs.
Use of this service isn’t limited to software companies, or even on computers. Crunch gyms and Random House are among their clients. And with Uservoice’s API, this can be used on mobile apps. This is particularly useful, as it’s giving users a voice directly on the tool they are using whichever service Uservoice is being used to get feedback on, capturing information and needs that would otherwise go unknown.
With pre-filtered, more representative results, companies will spend less time on redesigns that don’t meet customer needs, and reduce the need for multiple iterations. And with the ability to interact with users directly, getting a finessed understanding of what they’re asking for, being able to let them (and everybody else) know that you’re considering, doing, or have done what they’re asking for, will go for miles in consumer minds.
It’s similar to how doctors that take more time to listen to clients are far less likely to get sued for malpractice. Being heard means a lot.
Readers: What other innovative, energy, resource, cost, and time saving methods do you use to best meet your customer needs? What works well for physical product design, as well as services? Comment below
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media. Who he has and wants to work with includes consumer, media, clean tech, NGOs, social ventures, and museums.


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  • http://uservoice.com Marcus Nelson

    Hey Paul —
    Thank you for the write up on UserVoice, what a great overview. We really appreciate your explaining our methodology and not just what can be done with our service. Again, well done!
    ~marcus

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    Gladly, you’ve got something good going on here, people need to know!

  • http://vielmetti.typepad.com Edward

    It’s still possible for uservoice to get gamed by griefers who want to get their comments in. One tactic is to use a bunch of accounts to create a flood of new suggestions, all suitably unpleasant, which will fill up the RSS feed and distract from people who are actually trying to use the system.
    I’m seeing that on http://feedback.annarbor.com right now (oh, it might be cleaned up by the time you see this) and it’s a pain.

  • neha

    I guess you need to cover http://yousuggest.us if you are really excited about listening tools. The product is more business-like and better positioned for organizations. More in the likes of Salesforce…