Blog Customer FeedbackInternal Feedback: Definition, How to Collect it, and Best Tools

Internal Feedback: Definition, How to Collect it, and Best Tools

Internal feedback is the feedback you get from your employees about your product or service. But is it as valuable as feedback from your customers? Let’s find out.

Customer Feedback
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Internal feedback guide with top tools.

Who knows your product better than the people who work on it? While customers can give you the most valuable feedback, sometimes it’s the people who listen to customers daily who have a broader perspective.

Internal feedback is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to improve your products and services and crush your business goals.

But at the same time, is it worth the hassle? 🤔

Collecting external feedback can be tedious on its own, and doing the extra work may not sound like a good return on investment. Let’s take a look at internal feedback and why it can be a valuable way to improve your customer satisfaction.


What is internal feedback?

Internal feedback is feedback collected from internal stakeholders in the company, such as employees, managers, and various other types of stakeholders. It's primarily used to improve operational efficiencies.

By giving feedback to their management and their peers, your employees can do more than improve the quality of your products and services. This feedback type can also improve employee engagement and contribute to your company's culture, mission, and vision.

Source

Internal vs. external feedback

The question of internal vs. external feedback is not one of which is more important and valuable. You need to collect both types of feedback to fully understand what pain points your product solves, how customers feel about it, and what it looks like from the perspective of the employee.

Having said that, there are some key differences between the two types of feedback.

Internal feedback External feedback
Source Employees and internal stakeholders Customers, review websites, market analysts
Focus Internal processes User experience, market needs, product satisfaction
Control Controlled by the company Not controlled by the company, can come in various shapes and forms
Timing Can be collected regularly by the company Comes in continuously
Bias Can be biased by company culture and politics Typically more objective
Actionability More actionable with practical implications May require some interpretation
Cost Typically lower in cost, e.g. internal interviews, surveys Can cost more depending on how broad your feedback collection campaigns are
Example Internal interviews, employee suggestions, usage statistics Customer feedback boards, surveys (NPS, CSAT, CES), reviews, support tickets

In short, internal feedback comes from inside the company, such as employees and internal stakeholders, focusing on internal processes. External feedback comes from outside, such as customers, market analysts, etc., and is typically more objective and not controlled by the company.

Ideally, you want to collect both, but you may have enough time and resources for just one. So, which one should you choose?

Internal feedback: good when you want to collect actionable feedback on internal processes at a low cost. It’s best for businesses that want to improve operational efficiencies.

External feedback: good when you want to gather insights from real users and get an objective view of product performance, all so you can stay competitive. It’s best for user-centric product development, improving customer satisfaction and retention, and identifying market trends and opportunities. External feedback loops can help get valuable customer insights and improve customer engagement.


How to collect and manage internal feedback (step by step)

The process of collecting feedback from internal teams is not too different from collecting it from your customers. There are the same feedback loops and rules you need to follow if you want to capture valuable insights from internal teammates.

1. Start with a feedback tool

User feedback tools such as Featurebase may be designed for collecting honest feedback from customers, but they work just as well for internal applications. Just as you have external-facing boards with customer entries, you can create internal ones for internal product feedback.

Featurebase's internal feedback portal.
Featurebase's feedback portal.

The features are already there: your team members can create new entries, while others can comment and vote on them. Thanks to the AI-powered systems in Featurebase, the entries get categorized into boards. After that, you can analyze and prioritize based on your business goals and desired outcomes.

2. Run internal surveys

Surveys are not reserved for customers only. In fact, running pulse surveys on a regular basis with your team can help uncover insights pretty easily. If need be, you can also make them anonymous to remove the stress from giving honest and heartfelt answers.

Customer satisfaction surveys in Featurebase.
Example of surveys in Featurebase.

CSAT and NPS surveys are some of the most common types that you can use, and any good survey tool can help you run them at a low cost or for free.

The important thing is to run the surveys regularly, e.g. once a month. This not only creates a culture of feedback but also ensures that you have a solid basis for comparison over time.

Even with negative feedback, you can create a feedback culture, one survey at a time.

3. Set up suggestion boxes (in person or online)

A suggestion box is a virtual or real object where employees can submit their ideas for suggestions in the company, management, product, etc.

As many businesses nowadays operate remotely, it may not be the ideal choice of format, but it can be done with a simple form with open-ended answers.

Bear in mind though, that because of its nature, you’ll get a variety of different feedback forms and topics. If you want to get specific feedback on e.g. product roadmaps or feature prioritization, you’ll have to ask specific questions, and suggestions boxes are not ideal for this.

4. Run employee interviews

Hopping on a 1:1 interview is the best way to collect qualitative feedback, be it a customer or an employee. It ensures maximum focus for both parties and gives you the opportunity to have meaningful, in-depth conversations.

The downside is that this feedback collection method is not very scalable. Running interviews requires significant time and a dedicated person from your team to administer them. You’ll also find that some employees are not eager to provide feedback if they can’t be anonymous.

5. Monitor internal performance metrics 

Many times, you don’t have to ask your employees to provide feedback on internal systems to figure out if things are going well or not. Depending on the tools you use, you can fairly easily track progress and see if there are potential bottlenecks in development, project management, and any other department.

For example, you can track:

  • The progress on ongoing tasks in your project management app
  • The team(s) with the most tasks in progress and in the backlog
  • The number of (un)resolved customer calls
  • The product features with the highest number of complaints

And many other metrics.

Tracking these metrics is crucial for customer-facing teams who get critical feedback on the front lines, directly from customers. If their actual performance is not on the appropriate level, feedback strategy implementation suffers too.

6. Run employee feedback meetings

An employee feedback meeting is similar to a customer advisory board meeting. Your aim is to gather feedback but to do so, the meeting needs to have an agenda and structure.

Think about:

  • The topics you want to cover
  • The order you want to cover them in
  • Who should speak and when
  • Who facilitates these meetings
  • How often you want to run these meetings
  • Who should be present? I.e. one-on-one or town hall meetings

Before a meeting takes place, let all participants know about the topic so they can prepare ahead of time.


Best practices for collecting feedback internally

Employee feedback collection requires a slightly different approach compared to collecting it from your customers. However, some principles still apply. Here is what you should know before you ask your employees about their opinions.

1. Always follow up and close the internal feedback loop

If an employee leaves a piece of feedback and you decide (not) to do something about it, let them know. 

Whether their idea is discarded or put into production, let them know what you’re going to do. Once the project is complete, a feature is launched, or a bug is fixed, follow up and close the feedback loop.

Automatically send out a status update to all idea subscribers
Automatically update all employees that are relevant to the feature in Featurebase.

This not only improves employee engagement but also increases the likelihood of the employee leaving useful feedback time and time again.

2. Encourage open communication

By allowing employees to contribute anonymously and giving them a space to openly voice their opinions, you’ll get better quality feedback.

Show by example that honest feedback is appreciated rather than punished.

3. Recognize and reward employees

If someone consistently provides valuable feedback that makes a difference for your business, recognize their efforts in public. 👏

Praise them in front of the company - not just the internal feedback groups. If possible, reward them in certain ways as well: with additional days off, bonuses, vouchers, gift cards, etc.


Top 5 internal feedback tools

1. Featurebase

Featurebase's product illustration.
Featurebase's feedback board

Featurebase is one of the best feedback tools for both internal and external feedback. It has a neat interface and many features, including voting boards, roadmaps, prioritization frameworks, and feedback widgets.

It comes with affordable pricing and a Free plan allowing for unlimited feedback. You can set it up in minutes and always get quick help through live chat. ⚡️

Featurebase's key features:

  • Feedback boards, changelog, and a roadmap
  • In-app widgets (see live demo)
  • Surveys
  • Sort feedback by monetary value 
  • Prioritization frameworks
  • Automated notification emails
  • Custom domain
  • User segmentation
  • Single Sign-On
  • API
  • Tons of integrations
  • Over 6 + languages, including Spanish, German, French, etc.

Advantages of Featurebase:

  • Intuitive interface - a neat and easy-to-use design for you and your employees with gamified features like leaderboards to incentivize feedback
  • AI duplicate post-detection - you will see relevant duplicate posts before posting to reduce duplicates
  • AI-powered search - always find that idea that you were looking for, even if you don't remember the exact wording
  • Lots of customizations - have your boards look exactly the way you want by changing the colors, theme, text, and much more
  • Replies and @ mentioning - intuitive comment section for lengthy discussions

Drawbacks of Featurebase:

How much does Featurebase cost?

  • Free Plan - unlimited posts and employees, all basic features like a feedback board, roadmap, and changelog to take your product to the next level
  • Growth Plan ($40/month) - 4 managers, all integrations and widgets, custom domain, and seamless user login
  • Premium Plan ($124/month) - 8 managers, API, SSO, and user segmentation

All plans let you collect unlimited feedback, and you can try the paid ones with a 10-day free trial. See pricing here →

Featurebase reviews:

  • Product Hunt - 4.9/5
Conclusion

Featurebase is one of the best and most affordable employee feedback tools on the market. It lets you collect anonymous feedback, run surveys, prioritize ideas, communicate updates, and much more.

Featurebase offers an intuitive interface with voting boards, roadmaps, a changelog, surveys, and much more.

The onboarding is amazingly quick and it comes with a Free plan, so there's no downside to trying it.

Learn more here →

2. Canny.io

Canny's product illustration.
Canny's feedback board

Canny.io is a popular customer feedback tool that also enables internal feedback collection. It offers voting boards, roadmaps, and a changelog. However, their paid plans cost a lot, and the free plan has a strict limit on monthly posts.

Canny's key features:

  • Feedback boards, roadmaps, changelog
  • Prioritization frameworks
  • Feedback widget
  • Automated email notifications
  • Duplicate post-detection
  • Custom domain

Advantages of Canny:

  • SOC2 compliance for enterprises
  • Modern & intuitive design

Drawbacks of Canny:

  • Very expensive pricing 
  • No changelog popups
  • No bulk editing
  • No prioritization matrices
  • No follow-up questions like "How important is this for you?" for extra insights
  • Customers complain about not being listened to
  • Supports only English

How much does Canny cost?

  • Free plan - limits active posts to only 100 a month. For very small companies only
  • $99/month (Starter Plan) - custom domain, roadmap, 2 integrations. Very limited in features, equal to competitors' free plans
  • $399/month (Growth) - for 5 admins, user segmentation, private boards, and more
  • Business (talk to sales) - unlimited boards, pay by invoice, SOC2, etc.

Canny Pricing 2024: Is It Worth It →

Canny reviews:

  • G2 - 4.5/5 (complaints)
  • Capterra - 4.8/5
  • GetApp - 4.7/5
Conclusion

Canny is a reasonable feedback tool for enterprises looking to collect employee feedback. They are SOC2 certified, support paying by invoice & have advanced moderation features. 

They offer a free plan that limits you to 100 posts. Furthermore, the most useful features are on the $399/mo plan, so it can get even quite expensive.

Check out these affordable Canny alternatives →

3. Frill

Frill product illustration.
Frill's feedback board

Frill is a straightforward feedback tool with simple feedback boards and a widget. It has a pretty user interface but could use improvements on the feedback management side.

The pricing and dashboard make it a more suitable option for smaller teams that don't get much feedback.

Frill's key features:

  • Feedback boards, roadmaps, changelogs
  • Feedback collecting widget & changelog popups
  • Custom domain

Advantages of Frill:

  • Minimalistic & straightforward UI
  • Translations into any language

Drawbacks of Frill:

  • Poor dashboard view for managing & moderating feedback
  • No in-app surveys
  • No user segmentation
  • No sorting feedback by customer revenue
  • No changelog emails
  • No duplicate post-detection system
  • No built-in prioritization frameworks

How much does Frill cost?

Frill offers 4 plans to choose between. You can try out each one with a 14-day free trial.

  • Startup ($25/month) - 50 active ideas at a time
  • Business ($49/month) - removes the feedback limit
  • Growth ($149/month) - unlimited feedback, white labeling, privacy features
  • Enterprise (starting at $349/month) - SOC2 and a dedicated support manager

Frill reviews:

  • G2 - 4.8/5
  • Capterra - 4.6/5
  • GetApp - 4.6/5
Conclusion

If you're looking for a simple internal feedback tool, Frill is a nice option. It offers a changelog, widgets, and a custom domain.

The first plan costs $25/mo and is suited for smaller teams that don't get more than 50 ideas in a month. The next plans are still quite affordable, but a bit pricey compared to competitors.

Check out the best Frill alternatives →

4. Rapidr

Rapidr's product illustration.
Rapidr's feedback board

Rapidr is another good internal feedback tool with a pretty intuitive design. It's aimed at larger companies, helping them collect and manage all types of feedback to make better product decisions. The pricing makes more sense for teams with many admins, so keep in mind if you're a smaller startup.

Rapidr's key features:

  • Feedback boards, roadmap, changelog
  • Custom domain
  • Email notifications
  • User segmentation
  • Single Sign-On

Advantages of Rapidr:

  • Pretty modern design compared to some other alternatives
  • Enterprise integrations like Hubspot & Salesforce
  • SAML 2.0 for enterprise

Drawbacks of Rapidr:

  • Expensive
  • No changelog widget or popups
  • No customer surveys
  • No built-in prioritization frameworks & matrices
  • No bulk editing, deleting, or merging
  • Very few customizations - can only change the theme color

How much does Rapidr cost?

Rapidr offers 3 pricing tiers:

  • Startup ($49/mo) - 5 admins, roadmap, changelog, custom domain, widgets, and basic integrations like Slack
  • Business ($199/mo) - 50 admins, user segmentation, SSO, and advanced integrations like
  • Enterprise (custom) - unlimited admins, white labeling, and priority support

While the first plan is comparable with most other feedback tools on the market, the other plans are quite expensive and more suitable for enterprises.

Rapidr reviews:

  • G2 - 4.8/5
Conclusion

Rapidr is a fresh feedback tool for larger teams, but lacks some important features like prioritization frameworks and in-app widgets and surveys, that are crucial for employee feedback.

Plus, if you're a smaller startup, you'll find a better deal elsewhere in terms of pricing.

Check out the best Rapidr alternatives →

5. featureOS

FeatureOS product illustration.
featureOS feedback board

featureOS is another good feedback management tool. As the name suggests, it's packed with many useful features. If you want detailed control over every aspect of the feedback board, featureOS is a good choice.

featureOS key features:

  • Feedback boards, changelogs, roadmaps
  • Widget for feedback collecting
  • Duplicate post-detection
  • A knowledge base feature
  • Replies and @ mentioning

Advantages of featureOS:

  • Modern design
  • Lots of customizations
  • Feature-rich

Drawbacks of featureOS:

  • No changelog popups
  • Can't sort feedback by monetary value
  • No user segmentation
  • No built-in prioritization frameworks
  • Supports only English

How much does featureOS cost?

FeatureOS offers three pricing tiers:

  • Runway ($29/month) - 2 boards, 1 admin, 1 integration
  • Take Flight ($79/month) - 10 boards, 3 admins, 3 integrations
  • Fly High ($149/month) - unlimited boards, 10 admins, SSO, API

You can try each out with a 14-day trial.

Note: They have offered free plans many times in the past and overall change the pricing rather often. Last time, they closed the free plan overnight.

featureOS reviews:

  • Product Hunt - 4.5/5
Conclusion

featureOS is a nice internal feedback tool. It has many features, including a changelog, a knowledge base, and widgets.

However, it's missing some important ones, like sorting feedback by revenue and prioritization frameworks.

They offer great pricing for companies that need to collect many different types of feedback. But they change it constantly, so there's always some uncertainty.

Check out the best alternatives to featureOS →

Wrapping up

Internal feedback may seem like a lot of additional work, but it’s worth it.

Whether you do it on its own or couple it with external feedback, it can help reveal insights that would be difficult to spot with traditional feedback collection methods. And when you do it right, it does not have to cost a lot of time or money.

Choosing a great feedback tool is an excellent starting point. With Featurebase, you can collect qualitative and quantitative feedback internally and externally.

Start collecting internal feedback with Featurebase for free →