by Michele Nachum
Published on 9 June 2011
Customer feedback has never been more important than it is today. As social media sites have empowered customers to broadcast their feelings about products and services all over the internet - good and bad - understanding the mood of the general public is a must-have. Back in the day, people implemented expensive focus groups to get customer input but today you can solicit comments with less expensive means through your company website, blog, Twitter and Facebook pages. The one problem with using your website or social media accounts to take in feedback is that it can be overwhelming if you tend to get a LOT of customer comments and conversation threads. The trick is, how do you analyze and make sense of it all?
That is where UserRules comes in. This is an affordable and relatively easy product to use that allows you to gauge customer feedback, as well as organize and analyze your data into analytic reports. The product allows your customers to submit, discuss, vote and follow-up on feedback for your company. In return, you may respond back to customers either privately or in the public forum. A nice aspect that sets UserRules apart from its competitors (being that the product just launched) is that it allows you to decided which features you want or don't want in you subscription and if a certain feature is available in a higher plan, you could modify your current subscription by adding the right application for your business.
It is pretty much the ultimate product for collaboration on a wide scale.
The Basics: What does it look like?
UserRules employees an intuitive userface to navigate. Once you sign up, you are given a dashboard that will help you keep track of your customer feedback and analytics.
The dashboard ribbon consists of the following: My Company, User Forum, Issue Tracking, Analytics, Widgets, Templates, Canned Replies and Subcriptions. But first, before you go out there and see what your customers think, you will need to set up your account.
After signing up, UserRules helps you set up your own company website on the UserRules platform and will offer you a URL that looks like this: product.userrules.com. UserRules allows at certain subscription levels to both customize and alising with your company website so that customers are not aware they have been redirected to a separate URL. However, at any subscription level, you may add in your company logo.
Another part of the set up process is adding in the email addresses of your employees you may assign to help you respond to customer feedback.
Finally, and this is an important, is to copy and paste the Widget code onto your website so that your customers can see the feedback button, click on it and ultimately send you their comments. I found the instructions of how to do this a little vague, but figured it out after a few minutes.
In addition to configuing your website, you can also add in the products and services that you will be promoting to your customers so that when they want to offer their input, they can do so on a specific product (available via drop down box) or about the company in general. This is especially helpful for when you want to create reports, as UserRules will allow you to view reports and feedback by categories. I want to also mention here that UserRules supplies analytic reports that you can view on screen as well as export into Excel, PDF and others for printing purposes.
Soliciting feedback from your customers is relatively straightforward. Once you have employed the widget, your customers will see this form below on your website that allows them to share their ideas, ask questions, shower your company with praise (which would be nice if that happened all the time) as well as vote on certain issues.
If you are the administrator, you will have access to the Admin Forum that allows you to tag the feedback as private or in some cases, as spam. In addition, when a message or reply is marked as private it will not be shown on your public site. UserRules will allow you to send either private or public emails to customers in response to their questions or comments. You may customize these emails so they look like they are coming from your company but this option is available in the two top tier subscription levels.
The Admin Forum will collate all of your customer feedback in one area. Since customers have the choice to mark their comments as either a question, idea, praise or an issue, you can change the view of your admin forum to show just the questions or the praise, for example as well as view all the comments at once. The admin forum also allows you to assign employees to handle certain requests and mark the progress of the customer feedback as "pending" or "accepted."
Facebook and Integration:
As you become more familiar with UserRules, you will see that the solution offers many different options for using the product and enticing your customers to supply you with pertinent feedback. For instance you can post your feedback form on your Facebook page:
If your company uses Baseline or JIRA, you are in luck because UserRules can also integrate with those platforms as well as many others including Redmine and Bugz the solution is adept at enabling companies to use different business software systems for different purposes by providing easy integration with many popular systems. This will make it easier for companies to use UserRules without paying a significant cost of replacing current establishments and redefining the organization process.
Is it For You ?
UserRules will be most "useful" for those that have product-related businesses where customer feedback is key - and since millions of businesses out there do in fact depend on customer feedback, UserRules has pretty universal appeal. For example, someone who owns a restaurant may want customers to vote on a menu item or opine about the service. If you have created a new product, UserRules becomes an extremely helpful tool to solicit important feedback. Retail establishments, software solutions, financial institutions and even non-profits all have constituents and customers - and getting their feedback is critical. Considering there is a free trial period and affordable subscription packages ranging from $16.99 to $169 per month, UserRules is a safe bet for anyone looking for a solution to help them gather and analyze customer feedback.