Why it Pays to Track Customer Feedback in the Product Roadmap

Posted by Maziar Adl
Maziar Adl
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Illustration: behavior segmentationIdeas for new products or product improvements come from a variety of sources. Sometimes, they result from a stroke of genius, while other times, it’s the reaction to market changes or competition changes. Other inspiration for product improvements comes directly from the customer. When the end-user of your product tells you how they would like to see the product improved or enhanced, and you follow through to deliver on that feedback, you’ll have an advantage at keeping loyal customers and growing your market share.

While there is a combination of factors that lead to successful products, such as entering the right markets, marketing the product effectively, and selecting the right price points, the foundation of success is customer satisfaction. Customers are the reason companies make products and offer services in the first place.


Close Relationships Lead to Valuable Insights 

Illustration: personal informationHow do you gain the trust of your existing and potential customers to solicit their valuable feedback? You can start by building relationships and conducting market research. Depending on the type of product you have, there are several ways your customer success teams can connect with customers. They can send surveys either with the product at purchase or follow up after the sale with the customer’s email or address, if available. You can also have a product feedback line or email account for users to send in their feedback, both positive and negative. 


Physical vs. Software Products and Components

For new initiatives, your teams will likely invite the ideal user to participate in customer testing. Physical products usually require users to interact with the product in person to share their experiences, thoughts, and opinions at a specific location. For software products or components, users can test from the convenience of their homes either in a beta trial version or in a monitored session where your team can see how the customer uses the product in real time. 

Both of these testing environments can generate valuable observations as you see how the customer uses the product and witness opportunities for improvement without the customer having to describe it. 


Deciphering Customer Feedback

Customers don’t consistently articulate what they need from your product. Still, they will rave about the features they like and complain about the ones they don’t. Listening carefully to customer feedback provides the opportunity to discover what customers aren’t saying just as much as what they are saying. They might say that the dashboard in your software is too complicated for them without being able to describe ‘why’ it’s difficult. 

The answer may be adjusting their ability to filter the information they see with different view options. The customer won’t know to ask for that feature, but your team will have the insight on what needs to improve the user experience. 


How to Measure Customer Value in the Roadmap

Illustration: Humans and targetWe know that putting the customer first leads to better products, but it’s not enough to believe it; we need to measure it. How can product teams measure the value they’re delivering to their customers? It may sound like an elusive measurement, but when you examine your customer pain points and how your product delivers on those, you’ll find there are very tangible measures to use.


Customer Research: Quantitative Research Methods

Perhaps the easier measurement to start with is quantitative data. Operating costs and price points are important for nearly every customer. If the price tag is a place of value your company wants to deliver for the customer, the obvious solution is to lower the cost of your product. 

Depending on the complexity of the product and the cost of materials, you’ll only have so much wiggle room on this portion. You’ll know this because you’re tracking the cost of your product on your product roadmaps. When you decide to set your price, your product stakeholders can refer to your roadmap to evaluate the cost and determine a retail price that makes sense for the business and helps the customer. 

Company executives who are passionate about their customers and their livelihoods will look beyond the cost of their own products to deliver additional value. There may be other ways your product can help save your customer money, time, or frustration (aka the user experience). If each of these concerns is valuable to your customer, it should be measured and tracked on your roadmap


Customer Research: Qualitative Research Methods

Quantitative measures are important for determining how to deliver value to the customer and measuring the results of your initiatives. Qualitative measures are just as important because they can give you valuable insights on how to improve your products, even before your customer knows to ask for them. 

In many scenarios, customers know what bothers them and what delights them. However, they don’t always know how to articulate this into words product teams need to hear. When you ask customers open-ended questions, they’re more likely to describe their values and frustrations in detail, even if they’re not directly talking about your product. Let’s look at a basic example of this with a customer providing feedback on a computer printer. 


Product Example: Computer Printer

When you ask customers how they like using your computer printer model, they may complain about how much it costs to replace the printer ink. They may ask that you reduce the cost of the ink. This suggestion may or may not be feasible for your company, and as your customer keeps talking, it might not even be the root problem. 

As the customer continues to talk, you might realize their real frustration is how fast the printer uses up the ink, which is why they think the ink is too expensive—they feel like they’re constantly paying for refills. This feedback can inspire your team to develop a printer model that uses ink more efficiently, reducing the customers’ need to purchase refills frequently and decreasing how much the customer needs to spend on ink each month without actually lowering the cost of the ink. 


Think Outside the Box with Your Solutions

While the printer example is a basic scenario, try thinking about what your customers tell you about your products. How can you create solutions to address their complaints? Companies that encourage innovation and keep their product designs focused on the user give themselves a competitive edge.

Even the best ideas still require testing and validation before a launch, which is where your minimum viable product or MVP comes in, followed by more customer feedback. If your teams have listened well to the customer, the test product should garner glowing reviews from the test audience.


Tracking & Implementing Customer Feedback on the Product Roadmap

Illustration: roadmap to successGathering customer feedback is only useful when your teams share the results on the product roadmap, allowing for discussion and analysis. Customer feedback can impact the product vision and impact how new ideas are prioritized. Product roadmaps are also the place to streamline the product strategy and communicate any adjustments in goals or metrics. 

By using Gocious product roadmap management software, your product stakeholders can even discuss the customer feedback findings and assess how these results should impact how your teams prioritize new ideas. When product stakeholders use the roadmap as the central communication tool to capture these observations, everyone stays informed with the detailed information they need most.

Book your free demo today to see how Gocious can support your product plans.

Topics: Roadmap, Product Roadmap

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