Listening to your customers can be a powerful way to drive your business.
Soliciting feedback from your early customers can be a powerful way to stay on track and give them the best experience possible. Though you may think you have built the perfect product and have already anticipated what people want, it’s important to remember that sometimes your customers will know better than you. In fact, some of the best products were not created by the founders but instead by listening to their customers.
How many times has a customer provided feedback that improved your product? Consider using this method as a way to drive your business forward. Listening to customer voices can provide valuable insight into how they use your products and services and how they feel about them. It can also help improve customer service, which is especially important for businesses where service makes up a large part of the business model.
What are some other ways businesses have used feedback from their customers? Let us dive right into it.
If you're building a product, listen to the ways your customers attempt to describe it.
You can learn a lot about your messaging by listening to how people describe your product. If they use words that conflict with your marketing message or are difficult to understand, it might mean you need to either adjust the way you explain it or even change the actual product itself.
When someone describes something in a way that’s different from how you think of it, take note and see if there are any trends. For example, if customers consistently talk about “points” when referring to an image editing tool, but you always use “pixels” instead of points—it makes sense to start using points. It will be easier for people to search for and find your product if they use those common search terms.
Additionally, be sure to avoid jargon at all costs and stick to clear terms that everyone understands (e.g., rather than saying, “Our software offers dynamic toolsets to create innovative designs,” say “Our software helps designers create unique designs”).
Listening to customers is more important than ever as new technology gives them more channels for providing feedback.
For tech founders, the problem is that entrepreneurs are more likely to be focused on building a product than they are on listening to and understanding what their customers actually want. That’s particularly true at the early stages of setting up their business – when you’re strapped for cash and trying to validate an idea as quickly as possible.
Yet, it can also be tempting to ignore user feedback that doesn’t fit your original vision. After all, it can be frustrating to hear critical advice when you believe you have a great idea. But if you refuse to listen, all of your data becomes useless – and could lead you down the wrong track altogether.
Listening to customers is more important than ever as new technology gives them more channels for giving feedback. With social media alone, customers can now post their opinions about your product in many different places online – from forums and subreddits to Facebook groups, or Twitter polls.
Internal teams can sometimes lose touch with the customer, so it's important to create systems for getting feedback.
Your internal customer-facing teams are an excellent source of feedback. They have the most conversations with your customers and could give you some critical insights into how your product is doing. Unfortunately, they are also busy and don't have time to search around for people who can give them feedback. You need to make sure you're creating accessible ways for them to provide customer feedback into the company.
An excellent way to do this is with tools that collect data on their conversations with customers, such as customer service platforms or chat software. If the right systems are in place, these teams can easily provide information on how their interactions went. Make sure these systems track enough useful information and make it easy for your employees to share that data with you.
Many companies have a "customer obsession" culture, but some kind of structure is important to make sure it doesn't fall into chaos.
While many companies have a "customer obsession" culture, it's crucial to set up a structure for talking to customers and ensuring a consistent customer experience. For example, you can designate one person per team as the main point of contact for customer feedback; create an email list so that any employee can send in feedback from customers they've talked to; or ask each team to put together a presentation about what they're learning from their customers.
There are many examples of companies that have gone overboard with this sort of thing. Netflix is an example of taking things too far—the CEO decided on a whim that Netflix should spin off its disc rental business into Qwikster, which had no benefits and was hugely confusing for customers. It wasn't based on data, but rather on one person's opinion. (It didn't hurt his career prospects though!)
Once you get feedback from your customers, look for patterns or themes in their responses.
Once you have a decent amount of feedback from your customers, start looking for patterns. Look at their responses and observations in aggregate. You’ll begin to see themes emerge.
When you look for customer feedback that’s the most frequent, you see what everyone has in common. When you look for outliers, though, you can get an idea of what customers with different perspectives might think about your product.
For instance, if almost all of your customers are saying they love your product because it makes them feel like they have superpowers as a parent (or whatever benefit is aligned with the value proposition), but one customer says he thinks it’s kind of annoying to use because he usually just jots down notes on paper instead of using a mobile app, this is valuable information!
You don't have to listen blindly; it's okay to set boundaries and requirements for feedback based on your goals and long-term vision for the company.
While these are great rules of thumb, please remember: it's your company. It's okay not to listen to feedback if you don't want to! In fact, it's more than OK—it's important. If you find yourself listening blindly to what everyone wants and trying to do everyone else's bidding, you won't be able to progress in the direction that matters most. And that direction is yours; it's what you believe will help the business grow and succeed over time.
So check in with your early customers often. Listen intently, write down their comments, and take screenshots of bugs they've found or feature suggestions they've made—but listen critically at the end of the day. Don't let a small number of loud voices derail your plans or force you down a track you don't think is right for the business. If a few people say they want something but the product team doesn't agree with that path for whatever reason, don't feel bad about saying no—these people can't make all your decisions for you!
Feedback from customers is essential for creating a great product or service.
Customer feedback is the lifeblood of a successful product or service. Assessing your customers’ opinions on what you offer will help you understand how to improve it and tailor it to their needs. Feedback also enables you to understand what people think of your product or service and if they like it, which can go a long way in helping them form positive associations with your brand. Feedback can also help you understand what people don't like about your product, which is just as important as knowing what they do like!