Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

by Ruben 2 Minutes

Bidsketch has been live for about 8 months now and I continue to be surprised by how much great insight can be gained by talking to my users.

I’m lucky in that Bidsketch is made for designers. Talking and interacting with designers is just plain fun. Things go a lot smoother when the person on the other end of your conversation can understand the terms you’re using. A major benefit to this is that I’m able to get some great feedback about how to make Bidsketch better.

Still, a few months ago I was struggling with getting feedback from an important subset of users: the ones that cancel.

I don’t know if you ‘ve tried to do it before, but getting feedback from users that cancel isn’t easy. It’s downright impossible sometimes. I know; I tried everything.

Well, I thought I did. It turns out there’s an extremely effective way to get this type of feedback if you just have the guts to ask.

What do I mean by asking? I don’t mean sending surveys after the fact, or even sending personal hand-crafted emails asking for feedback (I tried both). When you do that, you’re only half-asking.

What I’m talking about involves taking a risk that some people might get pissed off. I’m sure there different ways of doing this, but I found a way to increase the percentage of useful feedback from 20% to 80%.

And here it is:

cancel

Yep, it’s a mandatory comment field when an account is canceled. Putting that on my cancellation page was hard for me. I want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to stop using Bidsketch if they really want to. On the other hand, I need to know how to get better.

This simple comment box taught me two things:

  • People are more than happy to give you useful feedback as long as you’re serious about getting better.
  • Assuming you know what your users are going to think without validating it is a big mistake.

Another neat thing that I found was that a surprising amount of users are only temporarily stopping (because of a job change, etc.) and plan on signing back up.

If you offer a service of any kind, think about what you can do to truly ask how you can get better. Trust me, it pays off.

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by Ruben
Ruben originally founded proposal software, Bidsketch as a one-person company while working as a software developer for a billion dollar payroll company. Since its early days as a “company of one,” Bidsketch has grown to help over 2,000 paying customers win billions of dollars in new business and save thousands of hours in the process.