– User Feedback For Web Applications

This week’s Startup of the Week features an interview with Dave Churchville, Founder of UserMood, a user feedback software designed for web applications.

UserMood is pretty straight forward – Configure a widget, install on your application and start getting results. It’s this simplicity that makes it a great tool to use on any web application that you want to improve. As UserMood states on their homepage, happy users are your best sales people. And in the case of web applications, it is vital to continually learn what users like and don’t like so you can keep improving and attract new happy customers.

Here’s the interview:

webgeekly interviewed Dave Churchville to find out more about UserMood.
What’s your name and role for UserMood?

Dave Churchville, Founder

Describe UserMood in under 50 words.

Getting useful feedback for your web application is hard when you’re just starting out and have limited traffic. UserMood makes it easy for users to give feedback on your app with one click, which increases response rates and lets you followup with individuals based on their response.

How and when did the idea for UserMood come about?

Actually the idea for UserMood came from a need in our own web application, ClientSpot. About a year ago, we wanted to be able to find out from existing customers if they were still loving us, or were maybe less happy, so we could try to fix it or learn why.

We did the usual things like email surveys, but the response rates were pretty low, and what we got back was contradictory and not very actionable.

So UserMood started as a way to do a super-simple survey, right from our app, so that it was just as easy to respond with one click as it is to ignore. It was so effective, we thought other web app providers might find it as useful as we had, so we launched it as a standalone service.

In terms of feedback, what type of questions do you feel get the best actionable answers? Do you think generic open ended questions work better than specific ones?

For survey-type feedback, I think very specific questions with specific answers make a lot of sense when you’re trying to understand something at a basic level. For example, do people love my application, are they lukewarm, or are they barely tolerating it? Is the new feature we just added confusing, perfect, or not useful for them?

By limiting the choices, I think you get more honest feedback, but you do have to take some care in the wording and the choices. I like to have a “Not sure” type of answer, so you can actually tell if your question itself is badly worded, or the options aren’t clear.

In terms of generic versus specific and what works better, I’d say that if you want to draw out deeper insights that you don’t already have a handle on, it’s usually better to talk to people (on the phone) than to survey them. If you’re talking to someone in person or on the phone, open ended questions are much better for getting real insights.

But we’ve found that open ended questions in surveys either don’t get answered at all, or worse, they get solution-oriented answers where people tell you what you should build instead of what problems they’re trying to solve. So a good approach is to use surveys or feedback tools like UserMood to ask a specific question, then followup by email, phone or in person with people who chose a certain answer and ask them more open-ended questions.

What would you say is the one best feature of UserMood which makes it unique and better than its competition?

I think our one-click survey approach makes it much easier for users to quickly respond without it being annoying, and that dramatically increases the response rate, so you get more feedback. And since you can configure a delay, users actually have a chance to use your software before you ask them things about it.

What are the long term plans for UserMood?

We’re listening to our early users so we can make UserMood the best way to get user feedback for web applications.

And finally, convince us web developers we should be using UserMood to gather software feedback now.

For every one email you get, there are usually a hundred people that just don’t bother to talk to you. With UserMood, you can get a steady stream of input on what the other 99 users think of you. And that leads directly to better products, happier users, and longer term customers.

A big thanks to Dave Churchville from UserMood who took the time to complete this interview. UserMood costs $14 per month for unlimited feedback – you can cancel at any time. Before you subscribe, however, make sure you try out their 14 day free trial which does not require any credit card details.

What do you guys think of UserMood?

Don't forget to check out more posts from the Startup of the Week section.

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