Most business owners are well aware that open-ended feedback provides invaluable insight into helping them improve their product or service, boost user satisfaction, and even expand their customer base. But analyzing this useful information requires a significant amount of organization, protocol, and follow-up – The first step of which is creating customer feedback categories.

Automatically assigning open-ended feedback into predetermined categories makes the analysis of this information that much simpler. It gives business owners and analysts immediate insight into what needs to be tweaked, refined, added, or tossed out. When it comes to feedback analysis, categories are king.

But with all of the options for categorizing a potentially infinite variety of answers, how do you choose the right categories? How specifically do you need to be? Or, should you keep categories broad and general?

One general rule is to establish a positive/negative “version” of each category – This tactic gives you immediate insight into whether customers are happy or unhappy with a specific aspect of your product or service.

Here are 10 feedback categories that can help give business owners and analysts valuable insight:

FREE Worksheet: Identify Feedback Categories That Work For You

Universal Customer Feedback Categories: Applicable to Any Product or Service

#1: Customer Service

Whether you want to admit it or not, your customer service has a significant impact on how happy (or unhappy) your customers are with your business. This being the case, a general “Customer Service” category with subcategories is essential to any brand’s customer feedback framework. These can include:

  • Good Support (+)
  • Bad Support (-)
  • Fast, Efficient
  • Long Waiting Times
  • Friendly, Warm
  • Unfriendly, Rude
  • Competent
  • Incompetent
A person is paying for coffee and the worker is smiling reflecting a positive customer experience

Depending on what your product or service entails, your customer service categories will vary. For example, if you run a travel website, your customer service will most likely be dealing with customers who are experiencing glitches with your site. Or, if you sell a mail-order health supplement, you may be talking to those who are experiencing package delays. In any case, think through the specifics of what you might encounter in feedback when determining subcategories for customer service.

#2: Pricing

Pricing is fairly straightforward. Your customers – or potential customers – will either think your product is fairly priced or overly expensive. That being said, there may be exceptional cases where customers think that you could be charging more for your product or service – and they’re not afraid to say it. But in general, you can stick with two categories: “Fair pricing / cheap” or “Too expensive.”

#3: Overall Perception

The overall perception of your brand is related to your overall customer satisfaction. If a survey taker gives a fairly general answer to your open-ended question such as “I love _,” this answer will be allotted to a subcategory: “Positive Experience.” On the other hand, if a survey taker quickly dismisses your product or service – “Not worth the money,” or “Terrible” (Of course, we hope you never get feedback like this!) – this type of answer will be assigned to the subcategory, “Negative Experience.”

#4: Other

Finally, you’ll probably want to include a catch-all “Other” category that accounts for exceptional feedback – a random insight, opinion, or thought that may not fit into any other predetermined category.

Customer Feedback Categories for Subscription Services – Such as an App, Phone Service, or Insurance

#5: Billing

If you run a paid subscription service, survey takers will most likely offer commentary and insight into your billing process. Similarly to pricing, billing will most likely be fairly straightforward. Either your survey takers have a positive perception (“Billing fair/positive”) or a negative perception (“Billing unfair/negative”).

#6: Usability

Paid subscription services usually offer users a tool or technological application to make life easier and more efficient. “Usability” applies to services that are used on a frequent basis – Think a phone, website, or application. Subcategories under usability may include:

  • Network Speed – Fast
  • Network Speed – Slow
  • Works well; Rarely/never experience glitches
  • Works poorly; Frequently experiences glitches
  • Easy-to-use and navigate
  • Poorly designed and difficult to navigate

Customer Feedback Categories for a Product – Such as Clothing, Electronic, Food, or Health Item

#7: Quality

If you sell an item that your customers wear, eat, apply, take or use for their household, they may very likely comment on quality. Of course, depending on the type of product you sell, subcategories for quality will range dramatically:

  • For food, you’ll want to include categories about taste: “Delicious taste/positive” or “Bland/bitter/bad taste/negative.” Customers may also comment on how your food item makes them feel, how it pairs with other foods, or how sweet/spicy/rich your item is.
  • For a health product, you’ll want to include categories about effectiveness: “Effective, I see/feel a difference/positive” or “Ineffective, doesn’t work/negative.”
  • For clothing, you’ll want to include a subcategory that involves quality: “Nice fabric, material/good quality/positive” or “Cheap/poor quality/negative.”
  • For an electronic tech item, include subcategories that involve functionality. You can bet that if your product frequently breaks down or doesn’t work, your customers will have something to say about it.

#8: Design/Appearance

If you sell clothing, decorative items, or even electronics, your customers will be commenting on overall look and appearance – especially if you’re an online retailer. Try including subcategories that involve accuracy: “Accurately presented, true to image/positive” or “Inaccurately presented/negative.”

Customer Feedback Categories – Market Research Agencies

Market research agencies will use customer surveys in a different way than traditional businesses: By gathering open-ended feedback from a target audience, they are gaining valuable insight into a market for other brands or businesses.

#9: Preferences/Lifestyle

Market research typically involves identifying a specific market: a demographic of users, customers, or clients in a given industry. Although you may use multiple choice questions to identify the details such as the income or age of your survey takers, your open-ended feedback may also include information about preferences or lifestyle habits.

For example, if you are performing research for a food/beverage company, you may want to include subcategories, such as “Active lifestyle/fit” or “Trying to lose weight.”

Two people are discussing their research findings on a tablet.

#10: Problems/Challenges

Your open-ended question may ask a survey taker about what kinds of problems or challenges they face. Depending on what kind of market you’re researching, include subcategories that account for a range of responses. Here are a few examples:

  • If you’re performing research for a tech/software company, include subcategories that involve challenges with pricing, speed, functionality, and usability (i.e. “Budgeting applications inaccurate”/ “Data storage too expensive”).
  • If you’re performing research for a cosmetics company, include subcategories that involve problems with pricing or quality (i.e. “Skin serums too expensive” or “Natural hair conditioner doesn’t work”).

Of course, there will be a wide variety of subcategories for market researchers. The important thing is that you’re able to gather valuable, actionable feedback for your clients, and only a strategic framework of customer feedback categories can help you achieve that.

Segmenting Your Feedback for Different Departments

By categorizing your customer feedback efficiently and strategically, you also facilitate the task of segmenting your feedback for different departments within your business. Click To Tweet

For example, your HR department will be interested in open-ended feedback involving customer satisfaction. Your tech/IR department will want to know what users think about functionality and usability. In any case, customer feedback categories make it easy to deliver this information – and make insights from feedback immediately actionable.

Have you downloaded our free worksheet yet? Get it here: “Identify Feedback Categories That Work For You”

Caplena: Making Customer Feedback Categorization Simple

Using a combination of human intelligence and artificial intelligence, Caplena provides an instantaneous annotation to help you quickly and easily categorize your feedback into categories of your choice. To facilitate the development of the categories, Caplena offers a variety of templates for individual industries. Try Caplena now for FREE.

Related Posts:

How we ran a website satisfaction study and got actionable results in one day

Headspace vs Calm: A Comparative Analysis of Customer Reviews

How to ask for customer feedback – and get an honest response

Previous ArticleNext Article