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How to develop products with customer feedback

When it comes to developing products, the consumer should always be the focus. To understand customer preferences, needs, and expectations for products, collecting effective feedback is a must.

Despite the many benefits of customer feedback, too many companies still ignore it, can't interpret it, or are stuck trying to scale it effectively. To help you with this, this article will explore the best ways to leverage customer insights in your product development. 

Listen to the Voice of the Customer (VoC)

Voice of the Customer (VoC) simply means listening to your customers about their experience, including with products, services, and the wider customer experience. As you design products, the information you can extract from the Voice of the Customer is invaluable. 

The Voice of the Customer can help to:

  • Identify features that customers want most. 
  • Learn about customer pain points. 
  • Provide valuable ideas for product upgrades.
  • Highlight product issues before they arise. 
  • Determine which product features will be most effective in product marketing. 

How to ask for product feedback

To engage with the customer perspective, you need to ask for their input through trackable channels. One of the most effective methods is by using surveys.

The best customer feedback surveys are short, to the point, and relevant to the customers’ current situation. Questions can ask how a product solves a customer problem, which features are important to them, how it compares to alternatives, and how it could be improved. Additionally, why not ask customers who else might benefit from the product, or if they are likely to recommend it to others with a Net Promoter Score (NPS).  

How to enhance products with feedback

To make use of the Voice of the Customer, you need to ask for it, record it, and apply the findings to the customer journey. The best way to achieve each of these three key steps is with a customer success strategy and a Customer Feedback Management platform (CFM). To give you a head start, we have broken this into several helpful considerations:

Can you involve your customers more?

Before you make any major changes, your customers should get an opportunity to have their say. To ensure each product and product feature is aligned with customer wants, they must be part of the product cycle. From the initial concept to its withdrawal from the market, your customers know better than anyone what will meet their needs. 

Take the time to ask for their input at each development stage – ideation, research, planning, prototyping, sourcing, costing, and commercialization. You can collect product feedback with focus groups, social media polls, feedback forms, or by checking online reviews of your existing products. 

Does the product meet customer needs? 

To understand what your customers want from a product, you need to assess how satisfied they are with the current iteration. By collecting Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) data, you can determine if a product is meeting customer expectations, or if it needs improvement. 

A CSAT survey can ask about individual products, products in general, or specific features of products. For example, if you sell reusable coffee cups that are advertised as ‘leak-proof’, you might like to ask how satisfied the customer is with that particular function. If the customer ranks with a low number, you know the leak-proof technology may need some tweaking.  

How easy is it to use the product? 

To ensure your product is user-friendly, convenient, simple, and free of glitches, it is worth using Customer Effort Scores (CES). Essentially, these surveys ask customers how easy it was to use the product and get what they needed from it throughout the User Experience (UX). 

A Customer Effort Score survey will simply ask, “How easy was it to use this product?” and the customer will rank their answer on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10. Once scores are in, you can determine if a product is functioning as it was intended, or if it needs to be more convenient, simpler, less glitchy, or more user-friendly. 

Is your customer feedback organized and easy to understand?

Before making any decisions, the insights customers share must be thoroughly analysed and sorted through. This will allow you to identify trends in the data and common paint products well in advance. From there, product managers can develop an informed plan for each product, confident that the new version is well received. 

Are your products suited to your target market? 

If you believe your product is great just how it is, it’s possible that your marketing needs to be adjusted instead. Simply listen to what your existing customers have to say and you will see if their values align with those of your brand. If not, try to find a more compatible customer base. While the products themselves won’t have changed much, their reception should be far more positive. 

How can you apply feedback to your products?

Collecting and analysing customer feedback is not enough to improve product development – you must also act on it. 

With all the information straight from the source, you are now ready to proactively create products that are a better fit. Can it be more user-friendly, more sustainable, or more efficient? Maybe some glitches need to be fixed. Whatever the course of action, customers should be at the core of every product decision.   

Does the product improve the Customer Experience?

Products are a core element of the Customer Experience (CX) and should be treated as such. If customers find your products appealing and easy to use, your Customer Experience will be much better. On the other hand, if there are multiple sticking points and product flaws, customers will be less inclined to remain loyal to your brand. 

For more advice and helpful tools, download our guide to implementing a customer feedback strategy. From practical tips to survey questions ideas – find it all here. 

Download our free customer feedback strategy guide