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Jun 21, 2019 17:38:16

Canny Best Practices: Managing a lot of feedback

by @hum | 1279 words | 🐣 | 215πŸ’Œ

Sarah Hum

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If you have a passionate customer base, you will get a lot of feedback over time. Without Canny, that means you have feedback in a million different places. As a result, it's impossible to organize. Without organization, it's hard to use feedback to inform your product decisions.

Luckily, Canny is your single home for customer feedback. You have organizational tools at your fingertips so that you can best utilize the feedback you're getting. 

If you're using Canny publicly, you also have tools to make sure you're setting expectations with your customers. With limited resources, your team can only work on so much. It's helpful for your customers to see into why certain decisions are being made.

Let's take a look at some of the features in Canny that help with managing a large volume of feedback.

Post organization

Feedback in Canny comes in the form of posts. Each post should represent one idea, problem, or feature. This way, all votes can be attributed to something very specific. Posts can be organized in several different ways. 


This is the highest level of post organization. One board holds many posts. If your company works on distinct products, boards are a great way to keep the feedback separate.

For example, if your product is a marketplace, you can create separate boards for the buyer product and the seller product. In this case, buyers probably don’t care to see feedback about the seller product. It's best to keep the feedback separate.


Tags are unique to each board and are only visible to Canny admins. We recommend using tags if your product areas are not very distinct. The feedback for each area will be mixed together in the board. Here are some use cases for tags:

  • Device (iOS, Android, Web)
  • Customer segment (VIP customers, students, freemium)
  • Effort (Quick win, long term, need resources)
  • Roadmap (Q4 2017, Q1 2018, Q2 2018)

We won't want Canny to feel like another inbox you need to stay on top of. Don't worry about tagging every single post. We recommend only tagging them once they get a good amount of interest.

Once you have those top posts tagged, you can filter your post list down to specific tags.


If your product areas are distinguishable by your customers, categories are a great option. Instead of putting categorization on Canny admins, you leave it to your customers to specify. This takes some of the work off your hands.

Your customers will have the option to specify the product area that is relevant to their feedback. By using categories, PMs are able to subscribe the categories that they are responsible for.

Setting Canny up to suit your company structure will save you time down the line.

Use vote milestones

If you get a lot of feedback on a daily basis, you probably don't want to be notified about every post and every vote. Over time, you'll have a long tail of feedback and it won't be feasible to follow up on every post. Canny does a good job at setting customer expectations just by showing the vote count. They can see why a post with 2 votes might not get a response compared to a post with 200 votes.

We created vote milestones so you can keep an eye on posts that are generating a lot of interest. Milestones are fixed; 0, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2500, 5000 and so on.

There's a section in your admin report that includes posts that recently hit a milestone. Keep your eye on these. If your team is seriously considering the idea, change the status to "under review". If you know your team will not work on it, change the status to "closed" and leave a reason. This is a great way to stay on top of your feedback.

TIP: If your team uses Slack, you can also trigger notifications for vote milestones. Send it to a product channel so your team can discuss. If you make a decision on it, update the status of the post or add a comment then and there.

Set time to review and update statuses

We recommend scheduling some time at least on a monthly basis to review feedback. This is your time to consider new new or trending ideas. By doing this once a month, you can make sure your team is getting the maximum value out of your feedback.

Here are some general guidelines to follow to make this process easy:

Only look at top posts

Again, it's not feasible to follow up with every post including the long tail. Decide on a threshold of votes that represents significant traction for your team. Aim for that threshold to include around 10%-20% of all posts. Say, for example, that threshold for you is 100 votes. Sort your posts by "top" and review the ones with more than 100 votes. 

Only look at posts relevant to you

At a big company, your responsibility might be for a very specific area of your product. A big reason why it's hard for product managers to consider feedback is because not all of it is relevant to them.

Here's where your post organization work comes very handy. By bucketing feedback into the right boards, tags, or categories, product managers can filter feedback down to only the ideas that fall in their respective domain.

Be aggressive with status updates

If you can make a firm decision about a post, adjust its status to reflect that. If something is already on your roadmap, go ahead and set it to "Planned". If there's something you are very unlikely to build, change the status to "Closed" and include a reason why.

If you can stay on top of organizing your roadmap, your feedback reviews will get easier. If you expose your roadmap publicly, your customers will appreciate being kept in the loop.

Here's a post about the different Canny statuses and when to use them.

Continue to organize and prune

If things are in the wrong place, put the work upfront to make it right. You can easily move a post to a different board or merge them into another post. It will make your life easier down the road.

Admins in Canny can also edit the title and description of posts to make them clearer. Using straightforward language helps reduce duplicate posts when we suggest similar posts.

Your first review will take the longest because everything is new. Over time, you'll see the same posts at the top. These are the ones your team should consider building!

Making feedback a breeze

At the end of the day, Canny is supposed to make feedback management easier for your team. We strongly believe that the best products are the ones that consider customer feedback. Customers notice when their feedback is taken into consideration.

Making sure Canny is set up properly from the beginning will help a lot over time. Use boards, tags, and categories to optimize your feedback collection. If you aren't sure about how you want to set Canny up for you team, we're here to help. You can book some time with Andre here.

Once you have feedback rolling in, there are two main things you should focus on:

  1. The top posts – Feedback can be endless. Looking at your long tail of feedback can feel overwhelming. More importantly, it's not impactful. The most impactful feedback for your team are the ones that have a lot of interest.
  2. Dividing and conquering – Feedback should be organized so the related posts are all filtered to the right team. If you have that in place, every team can be responsible for their own feedback.

Focusing on those two things alone makes reviewing on a regular basis a lot more manageable. 

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