Customer Feedback vs. User Feedback

Customer Feedback vs. User Feedback

The terms “customer feedback” and “user feedback” are often used interchangeably, but there is an important distinction between the two terms that we should not neglect. It is especially crucial to understand the difference when issuing feedback surveys.

What’s the difference between customer feedback and user feedback?

Here’s the difference in four words: users use, customers buy. Customers are usually also users, and users are oftentimes customers. But not always.

Some customers will purchase a product for another entity, so they are technically not users. This subset of customers is usually small enough to ignore, so we won’t be focusing on them in this article.

We’ll instead be turning our attention to the users who are not yet paying for a product or service. They are users but are not yet customers. Perhaps they are undergoing a free trial or using the freemium version. This is a group you definitely want feedback from!

The importance of non-paying user feedback

If you are looking to expand your customer base, the non-paying users are the first people you should target. They already know about your product, they presumably already find it useful, and you already have their contact information. They’re just one step away from becoming customers.

That’s why their feedback is so important. Perhaps there is a single thing they require before making the leap, and unless you collect their feedback, you will never know what it is. You should ask them how satisfied they are with your product, whether they would recommend you to a friend, and even directly ask them what is stopping them from becoming customers.

How to collect feedback from non-paying users

Collecting feedback from non-paying users is no different from collecting feedback from customers and regular users. You already have several ways to contact them, and they are just as likely to complete your customer feedback survey. Here are three ways to collect feedback:

1. Prompt them in-product

This method is especially popular for software products. Freemium and trial users can be prompted to complete a survey while they are using the product or after they’ve completed a task. The survey serves two functions: it gathers valuable information on the user, and also reminds them of the paid version.

2. Survey them with the rest of users

You have contact information for your non-paying users, so there’s no reason to exclude them from a mass survey. Just include a “Not Applicable” option in questions specifically for paying customers. Input from non-paying users is just as valuable and can offer you a unique perspective.

3. Design a survey specifically for them

There may be times when you want to only target your non-paying users. There are questions that are only relevant to them, and you may want to drill down on exactly how these users feel. However, you may run into sample size issues if you only have a handful of freemium and trial users.

If you want to survey specific subsets of your user-base, you’ll need to be mindful of sample sizes. Here’s how to calculate the minimum sample size required for a survey.

About Kris Tonthat

Kris is a writer and editor at Displayr. He is also a former sportswriter and a recovering economics graduate. Despite all his writing experience, he still struggles to craft a decent profile bio.