Communication is a vital skill for product managers. We spend lots of time thinking about the best way to deliver our product roadmaps, give presentations, run effective meetings, and create stakeholder alignment. But in reality, the communication tool we use far more often is email.

Even if internal communication has shifted to collaboration platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, email is still the universal communication method for interacting with customers. And there may be no more valuable type of email than a customer interview email that solicits customer feedback.

Product managers can’t effectively do their jobs without understanding customer needs and gauging their satisfaction with the current offering. And while in a perfect world we’d get to sit down and chat with every user about their experience, that’s not a particularly scalable model.

But by reaching out to customers via email during specific moments in the customer journey, product managers can tap into what users feel while the experience is still fresh in their minds.

These emails are important because customer feedback is the lifeblood of any customer-centric organization, revealing exciting opportunities and painful realizations. But if the emails you’re sending don’t spark a response, you’ll never know what you’re missing.

Read the Customer Interview Tool Box ➜

4 Key Ingredients of an Effective Customer Feedback Request Email

Your customers didn’t ask you to ask for their feedback, so you must make it worth their while. By including each of the following in your email template, you’ll increase your response rate and the quality of what you hear back.

1. Lead with intention

Being clear and concise is the key here. Tell them why you’re reaching out—you just tried a feature, haven’t used the product in a while, etc. That way, they don’t think it is just a blanket spam email sent to every user.

2. Tell them what you want

An open-ended request for feedback might seem the least intrusive and limiting, but that can seem daunting to a user not in the habit of offering input and might swamp you with all kinds of irrelevant comments. Be specific without being too leading in your request (think “we want to hear about your experience” and not “tell us what we should do better”).

3. Ask for availability while respecting their time

If your email asks the customer to participate in a call, web conference, or follow-up meeting, be upfront with exactly how much time you’re asking for. Less is more, in this case, so design your feedback session to be efficient, limiting the focus so you can squeeze it into as narrow a window as possible. Telling them you only need, for example, 15 minutes of their time, should increase response rates and be less of a burden on both of your schedules.

Watch our webinar on scaling customer-centricity to see how to strike the balance:

 

4. Be genuine

Remember, you are asking them for a favor, and they owe you nothing! Use natural language and don’t come across as too pushy or demanding. The more human and organic it feels, the more likely they’ll want to respond.

4 Customer Feedback Request Email Templates

Here are some basic templates for four different types of requests to help you along your journey in crafting useful emails. Use these as starting points, customizing them based on your product’s nature, what you know about the customer and the specific context of “the ask.”

These templates are specifically requesting a phone call or meeting. They could just as easily prompt the user to complete a survey or provide feedback directly via an emailed response. Remember, anything you can do to make this seem like a person-to-person interaction and not an automated, system-generated message will improve the odds of a positive response.

1. The Feature Feedback Request

“Hello [the customer’s first name],

I see you tried [X feature] recently. I’m very interested to hear about your experience on [feature-specific topic]. Do you have some time in the next week or so for a short, 30-minute conversation?

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you,

[Your name]

[Your title at/@ your company]”

2. The Discovery Session

“Hello [the customer’s first name],

Thank you for recently purchasing [Y enterprise product]. We’re curious to understand more about your decision process to buy it, and how your experience has been so far— specifically how you’re finding [topic B]. Do you have some time in the next week or so for an informal 15-minute conversation?

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you,

[Your name]

[Your title at/@ your company]”

3. The Feature Validation Session

“Hello [the customer’s first name],

I see you run [ABC, are using a particular product feature, or are a particular user]. Based on that experience, I would be very interested in getting your feedback on a potential new feature we’re considering. Do you have some time in the next week for a conversation? It would be great to spend 45 minutes to an hour exploring this with you.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you,

[Your name]

[Your title at/@ your company]”

4. The Support Experience Review

“Hello [the customer’s first name],

I saw you recently contacted customer support regarding an issue you were having with [topic Z]. I would be very interested in hearing your feedback on your customer support experience, and making sure your issue was entirely resolved. Do you have some time in the next week or for a conversation? It should be a quick 15-minute conversation if you’re open to it.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you,

[Your name]

[Your title at/@ your company]”

Prepare for the Response

By relying on templates, automated workflows, and routine, product managers can create a continuous feedback loop by prompting customers for their input. As the goal is for customers to respond and set up a time to talk, be sure your calendar is relatively open before firing these emails off.

You don’t want to spoil your first interaction with them by delaying the actual phone call until their experience is no longer fresh. So don’t be too overly aggressive in sending out more requests than you can reasonably handle.

What product managers hear back from these feedback sessions may be startling insights, painful realizations, or helpful, constructive criticism, thanks to asking great questions before sitting back and listening. But without asking, there’s no way to know what’s truly on the mind of real users. The more perspectives we receive, the more informed and grounded our decisions will be.

To avoid overreacting to any lone nugget of feedback, product teams need a defined system for capturing, organizing, validating, and summarizing what they hear. You should contextualize and socialize these results to key stakeholders. They can learn from what’s really happening in the marketplace, adjusting their plans and strategy accordingly.

Customer Interview Email Takeaways

On a final note, don’t forget to close the loop with customers who give their time and provide feedback. Follow up when their requests are being acted on or are now available, as well as when you decide they won’t be in the cards. It’s the least you can do to acknowledge their participation in the process.

Read the Customer Interview Tool Box