Product managers are critical to the success of a product. They are responsible for defining the product's vision and strategy, gathering and prioritizing customer and market requirements, and working with the development team to deliver a high-quality product. And they’re always looking for ways to make incremental improvements.
The best way to optimize your product is often the easiest to overlook: incorporating direct customer feedback. To help you tap into this gold mine, we’ve broken down five steps for how you can effectively use customer feedback to improve your product below:
1. Gather customer feedback: The first step in using customer feedback to benefit your product is gathering the data. This can be done through a variety of methods, including surveys like NPS or CSAT, focus groups, customer interviews, support tickets, and online reviews. Ideally, you’ll gather feedback from a diverse group of customers, including those who are happy with your product and those who are not-so-happy.
To collect this kind of data, product managers can use tools such as survey software, online review platforms, and customer service platforms. They can also use more informal methods, such as social media or in-person interactions. Understandably, it's important to make it easy for customers to share their opinions by providing clear instructions and a convenient way to do so.
One of the challenges in gathering feedback is getting enough responses to be representative of the customer base. To overcome this challenge, PMs can use a variety of methods, such as offering incentives, providing clear instructions and a convenient way to provide feedback, and regularly reminding customers to share their thoughts.
Tools that help: ZenDesk, Front, G2, Typeform, and even Gong transcripts
2. Analyze and prioritize it: Once you've gathered the appropriate customer feedback, the next step is to analyze and prioritize it. This involves identifying common themes and patterns, and prioritizing the most important and actionable insights. It's important to prioritize it based on its potential impact on the product and its alignment with the product's vision and strategy.
To analyze feedback, product managers can use a variety of tools, such as text analysis software or spreadsheet software. They can also manually review the feedback to identify common themes and patterns. It's important to be systematic and organized, and to involve other members of the team, such as the development team and other stakeholders, in the analysis and prioritization process.
One of the challenges in analyzing and prioritizing customer feedback is determining which feedback is most important and actionable. To overcome this challenge, product managers can use a variety of methods, such as using a scoring system, conducting customer research to validate the feedback, and involving other members of the team in the prioritization process.
Tools that help: Viable
3. Incorporate the feedback into the product roadmap: After analyzing and prioritizing feedback, the next step is to incorporate it into the product roadmap. This involves working with the development team to identify what can be incorporated into the product, and when it can be delivered. It's important to strike a balance between incorporating customer feedback and maintaining the overall direction and vision of the product.
PMs can strike such a balance by using a variety of methods, such as involving other members of the team in the decision-making process, conducting customer research to validate the feedback, and using a prioritization system to prioritize feedback based on its potential impact and alignment with the product's vision and strategy.
Tools that help: Productboard
4. Communicate with customers about how their input is being incorporated: After incorporating it into the product roadmap, the next step is to communicate with customers about how their feedback is being used. This involves sharing what feedback was received, how it was analyzed and prioritized, and how it is being incorporated into the product.
PMs can share these updates via a variety of methods, such as email newsletters, social media posts, and in-person meetings. They can also use customer service platforms to provide updates and respond to any questions or concerns customers may have. It's important to be transparent and timely in the communication process, and to provide regular updates on the progress of incorporating customer feedback.
Tools that help: Delighted
5. Collect and analyze customer feedback on the updated product: Interestingly, the final step takes you back to the first! After incorporating feedback and communicating with customers about the changes, you’ll want to collect and analyze feedback on the updated product. This involves gathering feedback from customers who have used the updated product, and analyzing it to identify any areas for improvement. You’ll want to use the same principles and methodologies for collecting this feedback as you have throughout the process.
In conclusion, one of the best tools a PM can leverage for optimizing their product is customer feedback. They can tap into this wealth of data via the five steps above. By gathering, analyzing, and prioritizing customer feedback, incorporating it into the product roadmap, communicating with customers about the changes, and collecting and analyzing feedback on the updated product, product managers can ensure that their product is continuously improving and meeting the needs of customers.