How to build effective product feedback loops

“Don't tell people your plans – show them your results.” The same applies to Product: don't tell customers about your roadmap – show them your release notes.

The best way to create trust is to demonstrate your ability to ship new (relevant) stuff, fast.

No one will ask about your roadmap if they trust your ability to listen, ship & communicate. The "communicate" part is crucial, though. It's not enough to just ship.

Job's not finished when it's shipped, let alone when the PRD was written. Job's finished when you closed the feedback loop at each release and inform relevant folks.

Let's dive in.

What is a product feedback loop?

Feedback loop meaning

In software development, a feedback loop refers to the process of iteratively collecting and responding to product feedback from various stakeholders to improve a product or process. It plays a critical role in agile methodologies, where rapid adaptations to changing contexts of products and services are emphasized.

However, although providing useful information for improving the product, this is only half of the loop. There is more value to capture from such feedback when companies then close the loop with customers at the end of a development cycle.

Define feedback loop

Closing the feedback loop with customers in software development involves a full-circle communication process where you don’t only gather product feedback from users but also act on it and communicate back to them about the actions taken.

In this guide, we'll explore the different stages of the feedback loop and provide practical examples of how to implement tight feedback loops in your company.

Feedback loop content

A few things matter when communicating back to customer upon their feedback:

  • Thank them for the feedback: it is thanks to them that you’re able to understand where to improve the product and build a stronger business. This has the advantage of turning them into promoters and co-creators
  • What they shared: the content of their specific quote
  • What has shipped: a good release note communicates the value of a solution in the context of the problem that was initially captured
A feedback loop template

Realizing why feedback loops matter

Feedback loops not only help in enhancing the product, but also build trust and engagement with the users. Often left aside, this is where impact gets real.

Here are the biggest reasons why you should seriously consider closing the feedback cycle:

  • Build trust with internal customer and stakeholders
  • Improve engagement and net revenue retention (NRR)
  • Increase new feature discoverability & adoption
  • Get more feedback from customers for the next iteration
  • Re-open lost commercial opportunities (for product objections)

B2B context — the internal feedback loop

We often think of the feedback loop as communicating back to the end user, who shared the product feedback initially. Although true, there is a twitch in the B2B context where it isn't the Product team that owns the relationship with end users and customers — but rather the customer-facing ones (CS, Sales). This means that getting in their way without considering all account factors (renewal events, negotiation discussions, etc) could harm such a relationship.

However, by closing the feedback loop internally — with customer-facing teams — Product teams give them strong support for customer engagement and product activation. We observed that the internal feedback loop has helped break the collaboration silos between Product and Business teams, by creating trust and delivering business results.

What are the four 4 stages of the feedback loop?

The 4 stages of the full feedback loop

Collect stage: Gathering customer insights

The feedback pipelines must be frictionless to collect feedback effectively from customers and allow for a direct stream of customer quotes. Capturing feedback should be a drag and drop or a reacji away, otherwise never done exhaustively. It's important to ensure there is minimum room for interpretation by customer-facing teams capturing the feedback.

Analyze stage: Interpreting the feedback

In this stage, product teams understand the full customer context, segment it by specific dimensions, and identify the most important product opportunities to work on. This is where scattered feedback items form a comprehensive understanding of the customer context. This step should heavily rely on AI, as no efficient product teams today can afford to spend hours manually categorizing feedback.

Implement stage: Applying the insights to improve the product

Once identified, product teams need to work on specific opportunities and release new features or improvements to the product. The key for an effective feedback loop is to have insights properly synced with the delivery (regardless of the issue tracker used: Linear, Jira, Gitlab, etc)

Communicate stage: coming back to customers on their feedback

Once the feature has been released, most teams stop there. Yet the most impactful stage of the product development cycle is its product marketing. If you shipped it but didn’t communicate, did you actually ship it? In this stage, the best teams communicate the value effectively to relevant customers. Most importantly, to the customers who shared feedback on that particular feature. This can be done through a public changelog and release notes, or through closing the loop in a personalized way to specific customers who raised their voice on the subject.

How to communicate a feedback loop

At Cycle, we’ve been strong advocates of closing the feedback loop since Day 1. We’ve developed our product to enable product teams to communicate every release effectively. But more to that, we’ve used such principles ourselves to build the best product possible and ensure we would market it in a way that would reinforce our customer relationships.

For example, below are a few ways to close the feedback loop at each release.

Direct messages

  • email: as a bare minimum, send out an email to all customers who shared product feedback on the released feature
  • Slack: if you have a direct line of communication with customers on Slack (DMs or shared channels), using those allows for communicating in the context of the initial request (by responding in the thread). Cycle automatically notifies stakeholders in each feedback thread.
Automated feedback loop in Slack

Updates in customer-facing tools

  • CRM: sales folks tend to keep notes of customer feedback in their CRM directly (like HubSpot, Salesforce, Attio, folk, etc). Capturing such data and updating sales teams on new features within their CRM (in the right deal page) will allow them to know who to contact and with which context.
  • Support tools: if you're using support tools such as Intercom or Zendesk to converse with your customers, you could use those to close the loop in the context of their request. This requires keeping the product information up-to-date within those support tools, for CS agents to know when features are shipped. Cycle automatically pushes all status update in every conversations in such tools.

Public changelogs and release notes

Next to the personalized messages, keeping an updated changelog and sending out generic release notes to the full customer base is great way to foster different types of engagement.

  • feature discovery: not only vocal customers will benefit from your latest features — communicating on those will keep all users up-to-date with which features could bring them more value
  • reopen lost opportunities: keeping your lost prospects in the loop of what you ship will allow for inbound opportunities to re-emerge when a new feature — considered an objection from the prospect side —is released
  • proof of shipping velocity: keeping an up-to-date public changelog with all the latest releases helps customers and prospects get a feel of your shipping velocity — which is a strong argument and proxy to build trust for the future of your product
Public changelog — powered by Cycle

Tools for managing an effective feedback loop

The hard part of closing the feedback loop is knowing which customers to communicate with when a feature is released. For every feature in your roadmap, keep a list of all customers who asked for it or shared a challenge being solved by such a feature.

Excel sheet

As the most basic way of keeping a record of which customers asked for which feature, an excel sheet will be a good starter repository. This will be hard to scale and only work for single-subject feedback (i.e. only linked to one feature).

Without a proper customer data model, you'll need to ensure you keep email addresses and companies up-to-date.


More advanced and flexible than a spreadsheet due to its database feature, Notion can cater for linking multiple pieces of feedback to a single feature. However, it quickly becomes over-engineered and high-maintenance over time — requiring a person entirely responsible to hold it all together.

Public portals

Some tools provide their customers with a public portal to capture feedback and account for upvotes. Those tools typically end up notifying all customers who subscribed to a feature when they release it.

The caveat here is that upvotes aren't as rich as customer quotes — they don’t provide the same context. On top of that, it’s fostering a bias towards solutions (from the eyes of the customers) instead of problems.

Cycle App

This lack of granularity in the link between a piece of feedback and a feature — as well as the absence of a coherent customer model — is solved for in Cycle.

Every feedback can be linked to multiple features through the intermediary object of an insight, which inherits similar properties as its initial parent feedback — including the customer (its company, email, and all synchronized sources from which this customer reached out).

The consequence is that when a feature shipped, closing the loop with all customers who shared some feedback is as simple as:

  • automatically notifying them through support/communication tools (like Intercom, Slack or Zendesk)
  • export a list of all customers with their email, the quote they shared and when — and plug this to your email marketing tool

Contrary to other tools on the market, we've put feedback loop automation at the core to ensure it's part of the main workflows.

How to measure the performance of your feedback loop

In agile development, success is measured through shipping velocity. In other words, how many features have been released in a certain period. The problem with this metric is that it only accounts for the growth of your code base, but not your user engagement (being the true value created).

Hence we need another metric for measuring the success of a full feedback loop that accounts for the communication step. At Cycle, we think in terms of feedback loop velocity: with how many customers we were able to close a feedback loop upon a new release, in a given period of time.

To increase this number, you need to:

  • talk to customers
  • connect feedback to delivery workflows
  • ship at high velocity
  • close the feedback loop at each release

What are examples of feedback loops?

Case study 1: How Contrast uses Cycle to build out its feedback system

In this article co-written with Contrast, we highlight that their whole team (product and customer-facing) is involved in capturing customer feedback, and collaborating on it until they systematically close the loop after each release — building a strong relationship with their customer base.

Case study 2: How Epoch builds its product by leveraging the power of customer verbatim

Epoch has made a clear case about the power of leveraging customer quotes to convey the right messages and align everyone as a team to which challenges should be solved. On top of helping them build the best product, it has pushed them to use such customer verbatim in order to market their features effectively.

This way, they've been able to get clear benefits from their feedback loop system:

  1. Enhanced prioritization & decision-making: Anchored in a deep customer-centric approach
  2. Team engagement and alignment
  3. Customer satisfaction & engagement: The ability to track, manage, and close the loop on customer feedback has resulted in heightened customer satisfaction
  4. Product processes updates

Wrapping up

Now that we've seen why feedback loop matter, and how to set them up, I suggest you start building your first feedback loop pipeline, starting with one feedback source.

As you'll see customer engagement soar, you can then add more sources to the mix — boosting your understanding of what customers really need, and making sure you're nailing a low-hanging and effective product marketing tactic.