Feedback to Feature: How Customers Can Inform Your Product

Customer support agents have a wealth of feedback to offer when it comes to making your product better, thanks to their constant interaction with your customers. Instead of letting the insights go waste, why not actively collect customer feedback and use it to develop your next feature? By combining the information from customers along with your organization’s expertise, you can build a better product that serves your customers well.

To use feedback while building a feature, you’ll need to:

– Collect feedback using various methods
– Know your customers well
– Communicate and share the feedback between departments
– Consider feedback while building products

For details on how to execute each of these steps, keep reading.

Collect Feedback Using Various Methods

Before taking decisions based on customer feedback, you need to collect it. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. While gathering feedback, it’s essential that it’s done in a way that’s purposeful and organized. If you compile too much feedback without any plan on how to organize it, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed and miss out on all the potentially useful data. Instead of asking every single customer to submit feedback, reach out to specific users directly. Be sure to work in batches and sort the data you collect along the way.

In addition to making a plan for sorting the feedback you collect, it’s also important to decide how you’ll get it in the first place. The details will depend on your organization, but a combination of methods across various groups of customers is often the most useful for discovering a broad cross-section of information.

Consider collecting feedback using some combination of the following options:

Send a survey to a group of users.

Add a feedback portal or widget to your site for customers to submit ideas.

Conduct user interviews.

Connect with users to perform usability tests.

However, you choose to gather feedback, start small and expand once your process feels solid. Your customers are probably already sharing tons of feedback with you through their customer support interactions – so start there! Don’t be afraid to make adjustments along the way if you find you aren’t collecting enough feedback in a meaningful and useful way.

Know Your Customers Well

Aside from the feedback, it will be helpful to understand your customers beyond the information they share with you. While compiling your data, you should also examine usage patterns, questions asked to support, and other related details to form a full picture of what customers want and need.

You may also want to consider customer demographics such as age, location, education, and income, among other details. For example, a person with extensive computer knowledge won’t ask the same questions as someone who’s just figuring things out, just like a person based in the U.S. won’t experience your product the same way as someone in Kenya. Each customer brings a unique set of circumstances to the table, and while it’s impossible to build the perfect product for them all, you can use the collective data to create a plan that aligns best with your organization’s goals and the needs of your customers.

Communicate and Share Between Departments

You will need to find ways to collect and organize feedback to the other departments like development, design, sales, and marketing. When deciding how to present it, consider how people who don’t work in customer support will view it and make it easy for them. Avoid dumping a disorganized pile of data on them, as they likely won’t have the time to turn it into anything useful.

The difference between qualitative and quantitative feedback is important to think about as well. While qualitative, anecdotal feedback might be useful in portraying the emotions of customers looking for a specific feedback, it’s not always useful in developing a business strategy. The squeakiest wheel can’t always get the grease in this case. Back up emotional pleas with hard data about the value of customers that are looking for similar features.

Beyond giving other departments access to the data, it can also be beneficial to create a path for them to request feedback on specific topics. For example, if the developers are working on updating a feature with your mobile app, providing them with a collection of feedback on the existing feature and related feature requests at just the right stage in their planning process can make an impact.

Consider Feedback While Building Features

Every customer will have opinions on what you should do, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be right. Developers and designers are skilled and their expertise matters. That’s not to say feedback from customers isn’t valuable though. Just be sure not to give it more weight than it should have. Remember, some people are louder than others and their frequent or extremely detailed feedback may create a sense of importance around an issue that may not actually be a big deal. Similarly, new users are likely to have more introductory issues, but that doesn’t mean the features they struggle with at first should be changed. What about everyone else who is using your product successfully and like the way things are?

New features and changes to your tool should be thoughtful and purposeful, not made in reaction to a pile of complaints from people who may know how to express their irritation, but not what’s best for the product. Listen to what your users are saying, then interpret it using the knowledge you have about your product and goals.

That said, feedback can undoubtedly contribute to the process. Beyond reviewing it out at the start of a project or when deciding what to tackle next, checking in with customers throughout the process can be helpful too. Conduct user interviews or have a group of customers test out a new feature before it launches widely and see how they feel about it. Their feedback in the middle of the process could be key in getting it right for a successful launch.

Start Collecting Customer Feedback Today

Are you ready to collect and organize feedback so it can be used to make your product better? To get started, before soliciting any feedback from customers, think about how you’ll sort and share it across your organization. Consider collecting a small batch of feedback through a simple survey from a specific set of users and doing a test run to start. Be sure to make it easy for other departments to understand and be ready for follow up questions as they work through the development process using your data. As you decide what kind of feedback to collect and how to use it, keep your company’s goals in mind. With preparation and organization, you can convert your customer’s comments to actionable insights.