Startup Playbook Podcast Episode 5: Managing Feedback

Jessica Collier was out to dinner with her product team when a man from a nearby table struck up a conversation with them. As they chatted, he started asking them about what they were working on, and they told him about Spot.

Spot is an AI chatbot that enables employees to report harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Talking to a bot about a sensitive or potentially traumatic incident removes the need for having to discuss it with another person, which may feel uncomfortable or may hinder accurate recall. Spot allows for employees to document an incident without reporting to HR, or to file a report anonymously.

Hearing this explanation, the man at the restaurant raised criticisms about Spot’s model, and he questioned Collier and her team about their approach. This man was not a Spot customer, but he had his opinions, and he shared them. This kind of feedback is something Collier manages often, and she’s learned methods for handling it effectively.  

Product creators who listen to feedback from their customers can gain valuable insight into the needs of people who use their product. On the flip side, people who do not use the product—or have any intention of doing so—will not be as invested in the success of the product or have as full of an understanding of what it’s meant to do. Feedback from the latter group requires a different intake approach than the former.

Collier says the key to sifting through various forms of feedback is having a clear mission for your product, so that it’s easier to decide whether listening to a person’s feedback will align with your mission or not. Hear more of her advice on episode 5 of Startup Playbook on iTunesSoundCloud, or wherever you get your podcasts.