If you’ve just started collecting user feedback and managing feature requests, you’re probably still looking for the right tool for the job. There are a lot of choices out there, so it’s only natural to take some time to weigh out your options and find the best one.
In the meantime, you may want to try using a simpler tool for collecting feedback. Google Sheets is available to all of us and many businesses use it for crucial aspects of running their company.
So why not use it to collect feedback too? Here is why it may not be such a great idea.
Managing user feedback in Google Sheets
You can use Sheets to collect feedback from your customers. Be it someone reporting a bug or saying that your onboarding needs improvements, a sheet is an easy way to categorize, manage and label all this data.
Collecting feature requests in Google Sheets
Feature requests are pretty common with SaaS products - it’s a good idea to collect them. Instead of relying on your good memory, you can add your feature requests in a sheet to keep track of your most commonly requested features and comments that go with them.
A simple template for feedback and feature requests in Google Sheets
If you’re looking for a clean way to organize your feedback in Sheets, you practically only need a handful of fields. For your column headings, use the following:
- Who requested (a list of emails/customers)
- Status (Considering, Planned, In Progress, Done)
These are all the fields you need to capture the right data for your customer feedback. Note that your feedback comes in from various channels (email, live chat, calls, etc.), so it may not always be possible to get all these data points. However, the more you have, the easier it will be to categorize the feedback and make a decision later on.
Accurately naming the request and adding a proper description goes a long way in making your feedback process easier later on. As customers add the same or similar requests a few times in a row, it’s important to be able to find the original easily, so carefully craft your feedback titles and descriptions.
While this template works fairly well for businesses that don’t get a lot of feedback, it can get messy if your customers send feedback every day. You may see your sheets overflowing with entries and details to the point where it’s easy to see the details but hard to make proper conclusions.
Here are the major limitations of collecting feedback and feature requests in Google Sheets.
It’s hard to get more details.
Many times, the feedback that you want can’t be summed up in a few basic sheet columns. There are different aspects you may want to consider, such as how complex it may be to build a feature. Not to mention the fact that within that sheet, it’s hard to get comments from your team in the sheets, at least not in a way that is easy to view.
Can’t expose the sheets to the customers.
The problem with feedback being in Sheets is that you can choose to show it to your customers but you can’t really cherry-pick what they can see. They will be able to access all your comments, votes, and different aspects of feedback.
If another customer is pretty vocal about your product being horrible, they’ll be able to see that too. In other words, you want most of your customer feedback to be for your eyes only.
When it comes to feature requests, it’s a slightly different story. If you want to create a separate sheet for requests only, then this is a good way to keep a neatly organized list of requests.
However, giving your customers access to edit these sheets can lead to catastrophic results. As you post the link to the sheet somewhere publicly, you may quickly realize that it’s not such a great idea. Your customers (or just internet trolls) can quickly delete your sheets and make a proper mess out of them.
It’s hard to follow up with users.
When someone leaves feedback or a feature request and you add it to a sheet, you may decide to build that feature or just move it to a different stage. Once you do something with their feedback, you should ideally contact the customer to let them know.
With Sheets, this can be done - you have the contact data. The problem is that the entire process is very manual and you have to do a lot of the legwork on your own instead of trusting an app to do it for you.
Speaking of which…
Why a dedicated feedback tool is a better idea than Google Sheets
A tool such as FeedBear is a much better alternative to using Google Sheets. While everyone knows how to use Sheets (with more or less success), FeedBear is just as easy to learn. Here are some of the reasons to consider a dedicated feedback tool like FeedBear.
Collect feedback directly from customers and users.
When you use Google Sheets to store and manage your feedback and requests, you have to do a lot of manual work. For each entry, someone from your team will have to take the data from the original source (such as email) and then copy and paste the relevant data to the sheet. It may not be a lot of work for a few entries per month, but it adds up quickly if a lot of customers contact you.
A feedback tool like FeedBear allows the customers to give their opinions directly, without a third party getting involved. This lightens the workload for your customer support team and makes it much easier for customers to engage with your brand and give immediate feedback.
Make it easy to upvote.
One of the biggest drawbacks of Sheets is the inability to easily vote on feedback or feature requests. For each new vote, you have to manually update a field in the sheet. Once again, quite a tedious process that can and should be automated.
FeedBear lets your customers easily upvote existing feedback and feature requests. Once they’re added to a feedback board or a public roadmap, a customer has to click just one button to upvote a feature and they’re done.
Discuss with customers and get deeper.
It’s hard to engage in discussions in Google Sheets. The best you can do is leave comments on the fields in the sheet. This is an option but it gets pretty messy pretty quickly. Moreover, if someone can leave a comment - they can also edit the fields, and you risk your customers making a Wikipedia article out of your sheets, in the best case.
FeedBear lets customers discuss existing feature requests and feedback entries by leaving comments. Your team members and your customers can engage in group discussions in your feedback boards and roadmaps. The comments are public and transparent, which engages customers and encourages them to interact themselves.
Automate email follow-ups to customers.
No more looking up emails in Google Sheets and then copy-pasting them in your email marketing software to send customers an update about their feature request.
FeedBear automatically sends an email to everyone who engaged with a feature request, whether it’s through a comment, upvote, or because they created the request themselves. Every time you make an update, they get an email from FeedBear.
Share a roadmap.
One area that Sheets are completely lacking in is the roadmap. A roadmap is one of the easiest ways to keep your customers in the loop with your mission and vision and the features you’re building. Sheets just doesn’t have this option at all. The best you can do is use the data from Sheets and create a roadmap in some other app.
FeedBear lets you move feature requests from your feedback board to a roadmap with just a few simple clicks. You can choose from a variety of templates and create a beautiful and functional roadmap within minutes.
Build an engaged community.
With Google Sheets, the majority of the work on feedback is someone from your team working on a sheet. The interaction with customers is mostly one-on-one and sporadic when someone from your team reaches out with an update.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
FeedBear lets your entire customer base connect with each other in one place. They can discuss the feedback they left together, interact with each other in feature requests, leave upvotes and stay in touch with your team through emails.
It’s no longer a two-way conversation with you and your customers. Thanks to FeedBear, feedback is a group process where each customer feels like a part of a community.
Google Sheets can be a good way to collect and manage feedback if you don’t have complex demands and you don’t mind doing some legwork. However, it’s not the best tool to use if you want to keep your support team happy and your customers engaged.
Instead, why not try FeedBear?
It has everything you need to easily collect, store and manage feedback, as well as interact with your customers and keep them in the loop. It’s completely free to try, so sign up today and you’ll never use Google Sheets for feedback again!