While looking through the registry at some Skype for Business client settings, I came across something an entry I had not seen before: the Skype for Business Feedback Tool. In this post I will go over what this tool is and how to configure the options for it.
The Skype for Business Feedback Tool allows reporting a problem or sending feedback directly back to Microsoft about your experience with the product. The feedback is collected through a separate tool that can be accessed via the Help > Report a Problem menu in the Skype for Business client (or the smiley face next to the minimize option):
In order to be allowed to access this feature, there are a few prerequisites. First, navigate to https://aka.ms/sfb-feedback-tool and download the feedback tool installation file from the link provided. At the time of this writing, when viewing the download link, it looks like this is version 0.6.0012205.
Next, you need to build a client policy to allow for allowing to send feedback. I only tested with a Skype for Business Online client policy, but according to the TechNet page for New-CsClientPolicy, this should be valid for on-premises server versions Lync 2010, Lync 2013, and Skype for Business Server 2015. The two client policy options we are interested in are EnableOnlineFeedback and EnableOnlineFeedbackScreenshots. The first option turns on the feature in the client, and the second option enables the ability to include a desktop screenshot in the feedback. Here is a one-liner to create a client policy named EnableClientFeedback to create a policy with both of these options enabled:
New-CsClientPolicy -Identity "EnableClientFeedback" -EnableOnlineFeedback $true -EnableOnlineFeedbackScreenshots $true
Use Grant-CsClientPolicy to assign the new client policy to a user account:
Grant-CsClientPolicy -Identity email@example.com -PolicyName "EnableClientFeedback"
Since I was performing the above actions in Skype for Business Online, wait an “Office 365 minute” (so really 15-60 minutes) for this to take effect. Once everything has replicated, signing into the Skype for Business client will enable the feedback options shown in the screenshots above.
Now that the option is there, this is what it looks like to when you select the option to send feedback. First, the Skype for Business client will redirect you the feedback URL from earlier and prompt to switch to the feedback tool:
Next, in the feedback application, there are several required fields to input for reporting a problem. You have to categorize the issue using drop down menu with the following options:
- Unable to join a meeting
- Audio or video issues
- Can’t share or view presentation
- Instant messaging issues
- Skype froze or shut down
There is also a free-form field to input a description of the problem (it does not indicate any character limits). Once completed, the feedback can be sent to Microsoft.
Enabling the feedback policy will make a change in the registry (well, the one change I’ve found so far). In HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Lync, the field OnlineFeedbackURL will now have a value and indicate if taking screenshots is allowed or not in the URL. The field SendFeedbackDownloadExeUrl remains unchanged, and SendFeedbackEnabled remains disabled as well, so I do not know if it is related or not. Here is a comparison of before and after screenshots of the registry changes:
If you decide to enable the option for including screenshots in the feedback, the tool will include a current screenshot of your desktop (including multiple monitors) along with a refresh arrow to capture a new image. This also changes the URL in the registry to indicate that screenshots are allowed:
This was all tested in the Skype for Business 2016 client version 16.0.8431.2046. I have not verified if the feedback option is included in older versions or the MSI version. As for the Skype for Business Mac client, when visiting the feedback page, I got a popup message saying this tool was not supported.
A quick word of warning: according to this article from Microsoft on controlling this feature, the Skype for Business client logs are collected and included in this report. The data will be stored in the U.S. for up to 90 days. Be sure that sending client logs will not violate any data protection policies for your organization. This warning is also listed as a disclaimer on the website with the download link for the feedback tool.
In my opinion, this is a great feature, however, I doubt you would want to turn this on for every user. The feedback provided should be meaningful and actionable. From the list of available categories, this looks like it is intended to report bugs or when things do not go right, not necessarily feature requests. If an issue is reproducible, a user could be temporarily assigned the feedback policy so the tool can gather the logs, screenshots, and information about the error for submission. I have yet to submit any feedback, so I do not know if any response is expected from Microsoft, but I doubt there would be. Replying to potentially thousands of submitted reports would be a monumental task.