The 20 Percent Edition Nr. 17: Hacking Customer Feedback

Hello friends, and welcome to this edition of The 20 Percent.

All successful entrepreneurs share one thing in common. Regardless of who their customers are and the format they choose to work with them, they all provide a service or product that their minimum viable audience loves.

Finding what brings this aha moment, that specific thing that really clicks for your audience, shouldn’t be left to chance. It’s the experience that binds your tribe and turns your clients into evangelists. Moreover, getting feedback from your clients is not only a way to understand them better. It’s also a way to build trust and learn how to improve.

At a startup, these feedback processes would be described as product marketing. This is the strategic marketing function whose primary role is to ensure that a product is aligned with its target market.

Product marketers have perfected the art of getting customer feedback. In this edition of The 20 Percent, we’ll borrow from these ideas and discuss the frameworks that can help you find what makes your biggest fans click.

The Must-Have Survey 1

In traditional feedback surveys, we ask our customers how satisfied they are by rating specific statements on a scale from 1 to 10.

For example:

I feel that [your offer/service] has helped me make progress towards my professional goals.
Where 1=strongly disagree, 10= strongly agree.


How likely is it that you will recommend [your offer] to your peers?
Where 1=unlikely, 10= extremely likely.

I am sure that you also see several problems with these questionnaires. In comparison, the must-have survey asks a seemingly simple question:

How disappointed would you be if this product/service no longer existed tomorrow?

a) Very disappointed
b) Somewhat disappointed
c) Not disappointed (it’s not that useful)
d) N/A – I no longer use it

As a rule of thumb, if 40% or more of the responders answered “Very Disappointed,” it’s likely that the audience you’ve attracted is the right fit. Moreover, it means that you can communicate your offer in a way that resonates with them, and its benefits are clear.

If you didn’t hit that mark, you now have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions that can help you understand:

a) if you’ve accidentally gotten the wrong audience
b) if the perceived value of your offer is not strong enough
c) if there’s any potentially unclear communication

Well-crafted follow-up questions can give you a glimpse of how your audience perceives you and whom they consider your competitor. For example:

What would you likely use as an alternative to [what you offer] if it were no longer available?

a) I probably wouldn’t use an alternative
b) I would use: ………

What is the primary benefit you have received from [what you offer]?

Have you recommended [what you offer] to anyone?

a) No
b) Yes (Please explain how you described it)

Knowing the answers to these questions can help you focus on a better-defined niche and thus market to that micro-audience more effectively. I can back this with data. We often see that marketing to well-defined niches crushes industry benchmarks for ad performance.

Final Thoughts

The must-have survey goes beyond receiving warm or critical feedback. It’s about understanding your niche’s wants and need. It also offers a better experience to your clients. The interrogative nature and number of questions in traditional surveys can be overwhelming.

Stay inspired,


Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success, by Sean Ellis