Make your site feedback friendly

by Martin Reed on 25 April 2007 in Snippets

In many of my previous articles I have stressed the importance of asking your members what they want. From redesigning your website to engaging with your members, it is important that you make it easy for your site’s users to provide you with their opinions and feedback.

If your site members think it is too difficult to tell you about something that has been bugging them about your site, they may just leave and you will be none the wiser as to the reasons why. Making your site feedback friendly helps you to correct any niggles that users have with your site before things reach this point.

It is important to continually tweak and improve your website – the best way of knowing how you can improve the user experience is by asking your users or by allowing them an easy way of providing you with their feedback. It is also important that you are not critical when they do so.

Every forum should have a ‘Site Comments & Suggestions’ section, inviting members to post should they have any ideas on ways to improve the site. Many of the improvements made at Just Chat have come directly from this forum on our message boards.

Offering an easy way for your members to post feedback and suggestions is only the first step, however. You must also ensure you do not criticise or belittle the person providing the suggestion or feedback. Sure, you may disagree with what they say but regardless of this fact, you should respond to their comment by thanking them for their contribution and outlining your own opinions.

Be sure that your response is professional and courteous – after all, whilst you may completely disagree with what your user has said, your response will determine whether other members of your site will feel comfortable providing you with their ideas. Additionally, if one person has taken the time to tell you of an improvement they think needs to be made to your site, then the chances are that many more think the same but have not bothered to tell you.

Your site depends on your users. Offer them an easy way to provide you with feedback and listen to them.

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Nate Whitehill April 28, 2007 at 9:23 am

Hey Martin, great post. I very much agree that a web site that is closed to feedback is one that is ultimately doomed to fail. Visitors inject life into web sites (especially communities) and they are the ones whose opinions count most.

Martin Reed April 28, 2007 at 10:36 am

Hi Nate – I am glad you agree. This is a similar article to the one I wrote about ensuring your blog has enabled comments. I am amazed that some people disable this feature!

Ratko May 3, 2007 at 5:54 am

Nice post, I completely agree. When you take the time to read and respond to feedback, not only does it reflect well on yourself as the webmaster, but it makes the user feel appreciated and significant, and other users will observe this and feel less apprehensive to submit feedback of their own. You eventually end up with an upward spiral of positive momentum and a strengthened community spirit.

Martin Reed May 3, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Hi Ratko – thanks for your comment, I am glad you enjoyed the article.

You are right on the money when you say that responding to feedback makes a user feel valued.

Feedback should be encouraged at all times – if someone criticises something about your site it only proves how much they care and want to remain a regular and loyal member.

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