Ask & ye shall receive: 3 tips for gathering actionable customer feedback

Early in 2019, we launched Game Thinking TV — a Youtube channel where we share innovation tips, design inspiration & interviews with world-class product leaders. Making weekly videos is a BIG commitment — and we stumbled a lot as we learned the ropes.

Now — eight months in — we’re finding our rhythm and voice. We’ve featured an AMAZING lineup of guests like Jesse Schell, Jason Hreha, Cindy Alvarez, Raph Koster., Chelsea Howe, Dan Cook, Matt Leacock, James Currier, Charles Hudson, Siqi Chen and others. I’m THRILLED with the quality and impact of what we’ve been sharing with our growing audience.

Now, I’m a feedback junkie who LOVE listening to customers. Although we request feedback at the end of each video, we haven’t been getting many comments. I needed to figure out how to connect with our viewers, and find out what THEY thought about the channel.

Tip #1: Motivate action a simple contest

We kept it simple — asking people to leave a comment telling us what they want from the channel. We promoted the contest to our newsletter subscribers, and on social media.


It worked! In 6 days we got 37 comments (!!!) & learned that our viewers love

  • the concise, to-the-point structure of our instructional content
  • the focus on cooperative play and community-building in our interviews
  • specific, step-by-step techniques that they can try out for themselves

We also learned that our viewers want to see:

  • more Game Thinking case studies centered around education & gaming
  • design techniques for building habit loops for healthcare compliance
  • suggestions for applying Game Thinking to brick-and-mortar businesses

Tip #2: Don’t take negative feedback personally

I was momentarily taken aback — and then I looked at this person’s viewing history. He’d consumed dozens of hours of our free educational content. Meanwhile, I have dozens of comments from appreciative viewers, telling me in detail what they like, and how to make it better.

I KNOW that we’ve been sharing high-value content — so I assumed this person was probably having a tough time personally, and was lashing out as a way to express frustration.

I wrote a short, polite email acknowledging the feedback, offering links to our most popular recent videos, and encouraging him to unsubscribe if our content isn’t providing value.

The next day, I got an appreciative email back, acknowledging his own struggles and apologizing for lashing out.

Now, as a self-proclaimed feedback junkie, I ALWAYS look for patterns in customer feedback, both positive and negative. That’s just good business.

But as a person sharing content on the Internet, I learned to NEVER take a specific negative message personally. It’s more empowering to assume that it’s NOT about you, and be compassionate and teflon-like in your response.

Tip #3: Share your findings & educate your community

So we’ve decided to do a LIVE event for our viewers and share what we learned from their feedback. We’re announcing our contest winners and sharing a summary of ALL the feedback we received tonight Monday Aug 19 at 8 PM PST — live on Youtube. Check out the details below.

Every community is defined & held together by shared values & common interests. So holding up a mirror, and sharing what you learned with your tribe is a great way to create a sense of connection — a sense of “who WE are.”

I hope you enjoyed these simple tips for gathering actionable customer feedback. Which tip is most relevant for you RIGHT NOW? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear what you think.

Game designer, startup coach, author, entrepreneur

Game designer, startup coach, author, entrepreneur