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Customer Feedback is Product Management

Updated: 6 days ago

ronke artifcle

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Customer feedback provides cross-functional teams with confirmation that they are on the right path, which leads to the development of products that bring value to customers. Products that impact their lives for the better. 

What makes a product great? It solves a problem for our customers. In some cases, the product improves their work-life; in others, it may enhance their lives more broadly. When built with the correct use cases, products can transform what was once seen as impossible into reality.

Effective products offer utility and delight to their customers. An online product needs to be scalable, secure, and fast so customers can quickly complete their tasks. Moreover, it must be enjoyable, tapping into customers' emotions. They should look forward to using it, feel good during the experience, and be excited to share their experiences with friends and colleagues. This enthusiasm turns them into ambassadors of the product.

The success of products that combine utility and delight is partly due to the innovative and fearless cross-functional team that developed it. These teams possess superb experience and extensive backgrounds in their industry, understanding the jobs their customers and personas need to accomplish.

The secret recipe for creating compelling and impactful products lies in their deep-rooted commitment to putting their customers at the center of their decisions. This customer-obsessed approach involves seeking and valuing customer feedback shared across the organization to inform solutions to problems. 

For interdisciplinary teams, seeking, gathering, and acting on customer feedback is part of their ethos. It serves as the connective tissue that unites them in their organizational roles and in solving customer problems.

What is Customer Feedback? 

Customer feedback is the assessment, response, reaction, and comments customers provide about their product experience. This feedback aims to reveal their satisfaction levels and helps multidisciplinary teams address product bugs, enhance products, add new features, and even develop new products.

Organizations can collect customer feedback by regularly requesting evaluations, interviewing customers, conducting surveys, and providing a platform for comments on the product.

Why is Customer Feedback Important? 

Gathering customer feedback is invaluable. While product teams and their multidisciplinary partners may have a clear vision for the product, customer, and business outcomes, they still need to validate these visions and ensure that customers and prospects will desire the new feature or product. Before engineering teams start work, product leaders and their partners conduct discovery and research, seeking customer feedback to inform their decisions.

In some organizations, the UX Researcher leads discovery alongside product and design partners. After formulating hypotheses, they validate these through a learning plan, discussing potential features or products with customers to ensure they address real market needs. 

As these interdisciplinary partner teams design and implement the experiences, they use the customer information and insights they have acquired to substantiate and reinforce that they are on the right course; they are solving a problem in the marketplace. Confirming they are on target goes a long way to helping these teams ascertain their objective, which is product-market fit.  

Customer assessment and evaluation help cross-functional teams discern and deduce if their existing customers are experiencing bugs that impact their workflow, need product enhancements, and need feature requests. For a new product, they can verify and confirm if they have a true product-market fit. 

Types of Customer Feedback

So, what types of customer feedback are available to cross-functional teams? How do product teams collect these customer commentary and insights and use them to galvanize the entire organization? Let‘s dive in. 

Customer Retention

Customer retention reflects the organization's ability to turn its clients into repeat buyers who do not switch to competitors. Retaining customers denotes that our product is of value to them. It means our customers do not purchase what we are selling; they buy what solves a problem or fulfills a need. 

Customer retention is a gateway to capitalizing fully on revenue.  Therefore, product leaders must gather and share with their multi-functional partner teams the monthly retention report, which will communicate why customers are repeat buyers, why they sign multi-year commitments and if they churn, why they are switching to a competitor, what needs they have that our product does not fulfill. 

Win Interviews 

These interviews contribute to understanding why an opportunity made it to a sale. For product teams, the interviews provide the whole picture of how potential customers purchase products. In some organizations, the sales team collects win analysis; in some companies, the PM team conducts “Win” interviews and assessments.

The unique feedback and insights will help product teams fathom and grasp potential customers' priorities and what kinds of problems they plan to solve by using the product.  Where their company is headed strategically, any planned technological shifts, and any new business initiatives that may have an effect. 

Loss Interviews 

Loss interviews are essential for understanding why prospects chose not to go with our product. In some organizations, the sales or marketing team collects loss analysis; in some establishments, the PM team conducts “Loss” debriefing and exploration. This feedback assists product teams in understanding market perception, identifying feature gaps, and recognizing competitors' strengths.

Customer-Reported Problems 

Technical support teams are a valuable source of customer-reported problems, offering insights into onboarding, servicing issues, and frequently requested features and enhancements. In addition, they can help prioritize these requests, which are backed by data based on call volumes. 

Customer Advisory Board Feedback 

If an organization has an already established client advisory board, the product teams and their cross-functional partner teams can amass a wealth of information from their gatherings, such as appraising and validating the roadmap and product vision. This provides discernment and awareness into how customers truly utilize the product, what features and attributes of those products are most advantageous to them, and what additional third-party tools they use to get their job done.

Furthermore, these board members can also provide intelligence into their organization‘s business strategy, how it will change in the next 3 or 5 years, any upcoming mergers or acquisitions, and how they can be supported. 

Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) Feedback 

Quarterly business reviews (QBR) are periodic gatherings with customers or multi-disciplinary teams such as sales, relationship managers, or customer success teams to discuss their products and relationships. These discussions aim to ascertain and extrapolate our product’s effect on customers' businesses.

QBR observation and commentary can help product teams assess usage metrics, discuss feature requests, and solicit commentary and observation on the product roadmap. These findings help product teams prioritize development efforts and identify areas for improvement. Additionally, QBRs yield a forum for product leaders to educate their customers on new features and functionality and to discuss strategies for leveraging products to help them achieve their business objectives and goals. 

Product Focus Group 

A product focus group is a study, fact-finding, and learning technique that is used to gather and pull together views, ideas, observations, and reactions from a group of customers about a specific product or concept.  Companies that routinely schedule focus groups are in a great position to accumulate qualitative data that offers insights and reactions to customer experience and product development efforts.  

Usability Studies 

A usability study offers data on whether our customers can use the product or feature we have built or are about to build. These studies help us ascertain and deduce challenges and difficulties people have or will have with an experience they are interacting with, such as whether they cannot complete a task or if there are inconsistencies in the UI or content.  

Customer Satisfaction Score Survey (CSAT) 

The CSAT makes available and supports the median satisfaction score of customers influenced by a specific experience, which is critical for a well-balanced viewpoint of our client engagement. Product teams partner with their scrum teams to ensure they can prompt a poll in the aftermath of a significant event, such as the initial use of a particular feature or completion of onboarding, as this will offer a more precise response. 

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS information is owned by the marketing team in many organizations. They share these customer responses in readouts and presentations to their cross-functional partners. The NPS Score is vital because it cuts straight to whether our product addresses an issue for our customers and whether they think it could do the same for their colleagues. If the response is they are not likely to endorse the product, they are essentially communicating that they do not believe the product generates value to justify purchasing it. For product teams, understanding the motivation behind the “why” will guide us in recognizing what amendments we need to make to our product to add additional value.  

Final Thoughts 

Customer feedback is crucial in product management, offering the insights required to build solutions that address market needs and customer problems. By integrating customer feedback into their philosophy, product management teams can develop products that achieve market fit, satisfy customers, and positively impact their lives, winning their hearts in the process.

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