As an entrepreneur one of the most read books probably is “The lean startup” from Eric Ries. It’s a bestselling book with a lot of insights on how to build a startup or business by following methods like the “Build, Measure, Learn” circle.

The methodology is simple and effective: Build a minimum viable product (MVP) by a defined hypothesis, measure your goals about the success of thehypothesis and learn as fast as possible from this circle to adapt your strategy. The Build, Measure, Learn circle is meant to bring validated learnings as fast as possible by not doing the big tasks before validating the actual business idea.

Feedback from the potential customers and clients is vital.

It will give a better understanding about the validation of the hypothesis and is often a secondary goal, when conducting the measurement.

Of course, every business is different and it always depends on the idea and execution, either offline or online – yet when talking about online businesses a feedback tool is absolutely one of the tools in the toolchain, which will pay off big time.

How to gain feedback by your prospects?

Often times, when validating a hypothesis it’s not so hard to form the actual hypothesis, but harder to define the goals which may be used to measure if something validates or not. Simple feedback questions let you easily ask straightforward questions – you will be surprised how often you will get a response.

Most importantly, yet, it is relevant when the questions will be prompted and asked to the prospect. Timing is key to this – so when is the best time to ask about feedback or conduct a survey? When the visitor or prospect is anticipating it, either through learned behavior or when the visitor is lost or doing nothing at all anymore.

Anticipation and learned behavior of feedback timing

User experience is evolving all of the time an it certainly differs a few years back to the current state. As an example burger menus were introduced, when small screens needed a way to integrate a menu. Same for accordion elements or scrolling tables/elements. So to the current state, there are certain moments, when a feedback question might be more accepted than in other moments:

How to ask to right question?

Within the feedback circle, the main goal is to form and validate a hypothesis and to gain validated learnings. Asking the correct question, will lead to a learning, which is essential for the feedback circle. Asking the right question therefore is tightly couple to the hypothesis formed before.

Examples: Would a client buy a certain product? Will a client be willing to use a service being offered? To validate this kind of question, one could create a product detail page or describe the service and ask exactly question or some kind of question, which will lead to a learning. One can do this with open or closed questions:

In all of the three example questions, it’s possible to gain a validated learning. Starting with an open question may give a broader type of answers, asking closed questions with only one or more possible preformed answers will validate a previously formed sentiment.

A feedback questionnaire could look as simple as this:

Do you have a moment?

What kind of clothing products do interest you?

A feedback questionnaire has been set up – now what?

Setting up the feedback channel will not be sufficient to set up a whole Build-Measure-Learn circle, but is just the base of the MVP, now Measurement and Learning has to take place. Once feedback is being aggregated it’s time to analyze it. It highly depends what kind of feedback is being collected, when closed questions are being asked, it may be easier to analyze the results, since they may be aggregated and summed up, while for open questions the answers may be read one by one and categorized. Even though open questions tend to bring more work for the Analyst, they do give the opportunity to get feedback, which was not anticipated before. One will truly learn from the potential client, while for closed answers it’s only possible to get a tendency for a certain bias.

Drawing conclusions from the answers and results is the final part within the circle, which will eventually lead to the start of a new feedback circle. Ideally one will have confirmed a hypothesis or it simply will not be confirmed – which will be also a validated learning. In this case, the right questions might have not been asked yet, the right track not found.

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