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3 ways to get more actionable feedback from your customers

Last updated

21 August 2023


Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

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Customer feedback plays a pivotal role in guiding companies toward excellence and success. 

Adopting a proactive approach to gathering customer feedback is essential for staying in sync with your audience’s evolving expectations. Feedback provides invaluable insights to steer your company in the right direction. 

From product development to user experience enhancements and customer support, actionable feedback paves the way for continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

Feedback is also a valuable tool that helps employees grow and businesses make informed decisions. However, not all feedback is created equal: It must be actionable, insightful, and delivered with care to truly make an impact. 

Collecting feedback can be overwhelming with the vast array of options, so where do you begin? Don’t worry; we’re going to get into that! 

We’ll explore the importance of actionable feedback and provide a comprehensive guide on giving and receiving feedback.

What is actionable feedback?

Actionable feedback is constructive customer input you can learn from and act upon. It offers specific insights beyond general praise like "I love your app!". 

Positive and negative feedback can be actionable, but actionable negative feedback is particularly valuable for a business. 

It’s specific, relevant, and constructive, so it pinpoints areas for improvement and provides enhancement suggestions.

Actionable feedback highlights what customers like or dislike and delves into how your product meets or doesn’t meet their expectations.

It also benefits employees as they can easily grasp what they need to do to excel in their roles. This fosters a motivated and engaged workforce, boosting productivity and cultivating a positive work culture. 

What is constructive feedback?

Constructive feedback is an invaluable communication approach that offers helpful, supportive criticism to improve performance, behavior, or outcomes. It plays a vital role in refining and enhancing products.

In the context of actionable feedback, it goes beyond praise or criticism; it focuses on specific aspects of products or services you can improve. 

For example, if a user expresses dissatisfaction with user profile navigation for changing their status, this qualifies as constructive feedback. 

In response, you could devise a more intuitive, seamless method for users to change their status from anywhere within the product. 

Actively seeking opportunities to give and receive feedback regularly will allow you to become more attuned to the nuances of effective feedback delivery.

What is positive feedback?

Positive feedback involves acknowledging and reinforcing the aspects of a product or service that work well and users love. 

While actionable feedback focuses on improvement, positive feedback highlights strengths and successes. It’s valuable for employees and organizations.

For instance, users sharing how the product helped them solve problems exemplifies positive feedback. Analyzing these aspects and replicating them can further enhance the product.

Insights into customers’ perspectives on product strengths and achievements can help the company understand, promote, and grow areas of excellence. 

Making changes based on customer feedback underscores the importance of actionable feedback in continual improvement.

Why should feedback be actionable?

Actionable feedback is a powerful catalyst for continuous improvement and success in today's dynamic business environment. 

Its specificity and practicality enable people and organizations to address specific issues, refine processes, and enhance overall performance. 

Actionable feedback promotes accountability, encouraging employees to take ownership of their responsibilities and strive for better outcomes. Listening to employee feedback is crucial, too. It fosters employee engagement and loyalty as they see the organization act upon their input, leading to greater job satisfaction.

Actionable feedback plays a crucial role in understanding and meeting customer needs. Organizations that prioritize and act on customer feedback can make strategic decisions that drive innovation and build customer loyalty

Implementing customer suggestions leads to tangible improvements in products and services, fostering lasting relationships with clients. 

How to collect actionable feedback

1. Be relevant

Customer feedback is crucial for an organization's success. However, managing feedback from different sources can be challenging, and acting on every recommendation isn’t always feasible. 

Gathering feedback on time and responding promptly is essential. Asking for customer feedback right after they interact with your products or services ensures its relevance. 

2. Analyze reviews from customer forums

Customers often avoid long surveys as they’re time-consuming and sometimes irrelevant. 

Tapping into customers' comments and reviews on various forums and websites can provide a valuable edge. 

Sifting through customer review websites offers access to a large, diverse dataset, allowing your organization to gather actionable feedback.

Leveraging this feedback allows your organization to gain genuine insights directly from customers. It’s a great way to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions to enhance your products or services.

3. Target clients who've turned you down

Actionable feedback can encompass positive and negative responses, but the latter often provides more valuable insights. 

As you seek actionable feedback, pay attention to customers who express dissatisfaction with your products and services. Understanding their reasons for declining can offer profound opportunities for improvement.

Additionally, customers who choose not to purchase have little to lose in providing candid criticism. Consequently, their feedback may be more actionable than loyal clients. These critical insights can guide you in refining your offerings and addressing shortcomings.


What is non-actionable feedback?

Non-actionable feedback offers a general impression without highlighting how the customer experience differs from competitors. It often consists of vague or ambiguous comments, needing more specificity to address the issues effectively. 

Consequently, this type of feedback fails to facilitate positive change or promote growth since it does not provide actionable steps for improvement.

How do you decide what feedback is actionable and what is not?

To identify actionable feedback, evaluate its specificity, relevance to your users, and achievability. Feedback that offers clear guidance that you can realistically implement is actionable. 

On the other hand, vague or unrelated feedback may require further refinement to become actionable. Additional clarification or context might be necessary to address such feedback effectively. 

Also, if a complaint from a single customer occurs but is uncommon across most of your users, they may not be your ideal user. Subsequently, you may not need to take the feedback as actionable.

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