Instant feedback

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
Bill Gates

I was having an interesting chat about ivory towers in OSS development with a learned colleague named Steve recently and had a lightbulb moment. Whilst we have a feedback form on every single page of a SaaS product my company has developed, it never dawned on me that OSS should incorporate this capability.

The red feedback icon that scrolls with each page in our app is ideal for us to get instant feedback about anything that the users have concerns with, could be done better or could have functional enhancements added.

Steve was saying how valuable their annual customer feedback sessions were for finding out about improvements that could be made to his organisation’s OSS. He also pointed out that these same customers often don’t feel obliged to tell them about these concerns throughout the rest of the year. He longed for this instant feedback and felt that it would be relatively easy to build just such a mechanism into their OSS suite.

In many cases, an OSS vendor has remote access to a customer’s environment to be able to provide ongoing support, so they already have the lines of communication open to collect feedback.

I also wonder whether there could be two layers of that the feedback functionality could support:

  1. To the customer’s administrators – for process or data issues
  2. To the vendor – for product features, problems or bugs

From a remote access point of view, it may be essential to have two (or more) layers, if the customer doesn’t allow the vendor to access their network.

It works for our app, although we do still seem to get more feedback during face-to-face sessions. What are your thoughts?

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