customer feedback

How to Leverage Customer Feedback to Create Better Products

Kurt GraverBusiness Development, Business Strategy

In the fast-paced business world, customer feedback is a goldmine of insights waiting to be unearthed. As a UK entrepreneur, harnessing the power of customer input can be the key to unlocking your product’s full potential and driving long-term success.

According to a study by Microsoft, 89% of UK consumers believe that organisations should actively seek out and act upon customer feedback (Microsoft, 2019). By leveraging customer input effectively, you can create products that meet and exceed customer expectations, fostering loyalty and advocacy. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the power of customer feedback and provide actionable strategies for collecting, analysing, and applying customer input to create better products that resonate with your target audience.

Why Customer Feedback Matters

Before discussing strategies for leveraging customer feedback, let’s examine why it’s crucial for UK businesses.

Identifying Areas for Improvement

Customer feedback provides invaluable insights into your product’s strengths and weaknesses. By actively seeking out customer input, you can identify areas for improvement that may have gone unnoticed, such as usability issues, missing features, or pain points in the customer journey (Entrepreneur Handbook, 2021). With this knowledge, you can prioritise product enhancements that directly address customer needs and preferences.

Validating Product Decisions

Customer feedback can also serve as a powerful validation tool for product decisions. Before investing significant resources into developing new features or making major changes to your product, gathering customer input can help you assess the viability and desirability of these ideas (Product Plan, 2021). By involving customers in decision-making, you can ensure that your product roadmap aligns with their needs and expectations.

Building Customer Loyalty and Advocacy

When customers feel heard and valued, they are more likely to develop a strong sense of loyalty and advocacy towards your brand. A study by Salesforce found that 89% of UK consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience (Salesforce, 2020). By actively seeking out and responding to customer feedback, you demonstrate that you value their opinions and are committed to meeting their needs, fostering long-term relationships and encouraging word-of-mouth referrals.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

Customer feedback can give you a significant edge in today’s competitive market. By continuously gathering and acting upon customer input, you can stay attuned to changing market trends, emerging customer needs, and areas where your competitors may fall short (Forbes, 2021). This agility and customer-centricity can help you differentiate your product, capture market share, and maintain a competitive advantage.

Strategies for Collecting Customer Feedback

Now, let’s explore proven strategies for collecting valuable customer feedback.

Surveys and Questionnaires

Surveys and questionnaires are powerful tools for gathering structured feedback from a large sample of customers. By leveraging online survey platforms like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, or Google Forms, you can easily create and distribute surveys to your target audience (Zapier, 2021). To create effective surveys:

  • Define clear objectives and research questions to guide survey design.
  • Use a mix of multiple-choice, rating scale, and open-ended questions to gather diverse insights.
  • Keep surveys concise and focused, aiming for 5-10 minutes completion time.
  • Offer incentives like discounts or raffles to encourage participation.
  • Analyse quantitative and qualitative survey results to identify key trends and insights.

Customer Interviews

One-on-one interviews with customers provide an opportunity for deep, qualitative insights into their experiences, needs, and preferences. By conducting structured interviews with a diverse sample of your target audience, you can uncover rich, contextual information that may not surface through other feedback channels (Harvard Business Review, 2021). To conduct effective customer interviews:

  • Develop an interview guide with open-ended questions that encourage customers to share their stories and perspectives.
  • Use a mix of in-person, phone, and video interviews to accommodate different customer preferences and locations.
  • Actively listen and probe for deeper insights, using follow-up questions to clarify and explore responses.
  • Record and transcribe interviews for analysis, identifying common themes and patterns.
  • Share insights with cross-functional teams to inform product decisions and improvements.

User Testing and Observation

Observing customers as they interact with your product can provide valuable insights into usability, user experience, and areas for improvement. By conducting user testing sessions, either in-person or remotely, you can gather real-time feedback and identify pain points or confusion in the user journey (UX Planet, 2021). To conduct effective user testing:

– Define clear testing objectives and scenarios based on key product features or user flows.

– Recruit a diverse sample of target users. Aim for a mix of demographic and behavioural characteristics.

– Use moderated and unmoderated testing methods, such as think-aloud protocols, task completion, and post-test interviews.

– Record user sessions and analyse video footage to identify usability issues, hesitation points, and areas for optimisation.

– Prioritise and implement user experience improvements based on testing insights.

Social Media Monitoring

Social media platforms offer a wealth of unsolicited customer feedback and sentiment data. You can gain real-time insights into customer opinions, preferences, and pain points by monitoring social media conversations related to your brand, product, or industry (Hootsuite, 2021). To effectively monitor social media:

  • Identify relevant social media channels and keywords related to your product or brand.
  • Use social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Mention to track mentions, hashtags, and sentiment.
  • Analyse social media data to identify common themes, sentiment trends, and areas for improvement.
  • Engage with customers on social media to gather additional feedback, address concerns, and build relationships.
  • Integrate social media insights with other feedback channels to gain a holistic view of customer needs and preferences.

Customer Advisory Boards

Customer advisory boards (CABs) are a powerful way to engage key customers in ongoing dialogue and collaboration around product development and improvement. By inviting a select group of customers to participate in regular meetings and discussions, you can gain deep insights into their needs, challenges, and desired product enhancements (Harvard Business Review, 2021). To create effective customer advisory boards:

– Define clear objectives and expectations for the CAB, aligning with your product strategy and customer engagement goals.

Identify and invite a diverse group of customers who represent your target market and are strongly interested in your product’s success.

  • Develop a structured agenda and discussion topics to encourage open dialogue and collaboration.
  • Foster a sense of community and value exchange. Provide CAB members with exclusive access, influence, and recognition.
  • Regularly share CAB insights and recommendations with internal teams to inform product roadmap and development decisions.

Analysing and Applying Customer Feedback

Collecting customer feedback is only the first step – the real value lies in effectively analysing and applying these insights to drive product improvements and innovation.

Categorising Feedback

To make sense of the diverse feedback you collect, it’s essential to categorise and organise the data meaningfully. Use manual and automated methods, such as text analysis, sentiment analysis, and thematic coding, to identify common themes, patterns, and trends in customer feedback (Qualtrics, 2021). Create a taxonomy of feedback categories that align with your product’s key features, user flows, and customer segments.

Prioritising Insights

Not all customer feedback is created equal – some insights will be more critical or impactful than others. To prioritise feedback effectively, consider factors such as the frequency and intensity of customer sentiment, the business impact of addressing specific issues or opportunities, and the feasibility of implementing changes (Product Plan, 2021). Use prioritisation frameworks like the Eisenhower Matrix or the MoSCoW method to identify quick wins, major initiatives, and long-term enhancements.

Sharing Feedback Across the Organization

To fully leverage the power of customer feedback, sharing insights across your organisation is crucial. Break down silos and ensure that feedback is accessible and actionable for all relevant teams, from product development and marketing to sales and customer service (Harvard Business Review, 2021). Use dashboards, reports, and regular cross-functional meetings to disseminate feedback insights and align everyone around a shared understanding of customer needs and priorities.

Continuous Improvement and Innovation

Customer feedback should be an iterative process that drives continuous product improvement and innovation. Regularly review and analyse feedback data to identify emerging trends, changing customer preferences, and new opportunities for enhancement (McKinsey, 2021). Use agile development methodologies to prototype, test, and refine product improvements based on customer input. Celebrate and communicate product enhancements to customers to demonstrate your commitment to their needs and foster ongoing engagement.

Conclusion

In today’s customer-centric business landscape, the power of feedback cannot be overstated. As a UK entrepreneur, actively seeking out and leveraging customer input is essential for creating products that resonate with your target audience, drive customer loyalty, and fuel business growth.

Implementing proven strategies for collecting, analysing, and applying customer feedback—from surveys and interviews to user testing and social media monitoring —can help you gain deep insights into customer needs, preferences, and pain points. The key is to approach feedback as an ongoing, iterative process that informs all product development and improvement aspects.

At SGI Consultants, we’re committed to helping UK entrepreneurs harness the full potential of customer feedback to create better products and drive long-term success. Our Business Systems framework provides a comprehensive, customer-centric approach to product development, ensuring customer input is at the heart of every decision and enhancement.

So, start using the power of feedback for your business today. By actively listening to and engaging with your customers, you can create products that meet their needs and exceed their expectations, setting the stage for sustainable growth and success in the competitive UK market.

Sources:

– Entrepreneur Handbook. (2021). How to Use Customer Feedback to Improve Your Products and Services. https://entrepreneurhandbook.co.uk/how-to-use-customer-feedback-to-improve-your-products-and-services/

– Forbes. (2021). Why Customer Feedback Is Important for Business Growth. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/02/19/why-customer-feedback-is-important-for-business-growth/

– Harvard Business Review. (2021). The Power of Customer Feedback. https://hbr.org/2021/03/the-power-of-customer-feedback

– Hootsuite. (2021). How to Use Social Media Listening to Improve Your Business. https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-listening/

– McKinsey. (2021). The Customer-Centric Organization. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-customer-centric-organization

– Microsoft. (2019). Global State of Customer Service Report. https://info.microsoft.com/ww-landing-global-state-of-customer-service.html

– Product Plan. (2021). How to Prioritise Customer Feedback for Product Development. https://www.productplan.com/blog/prioritize-customer-feedback/

– Qualtrics. (2021). How to Analyse Open-Ended Questions in 5 Steps. https://www.qualtrics.com/uk/experience-management/research/analyzing-open-ended-questions/

– Salesforce. (2020). State of the Connected Customer. https://www.salesforce.com/uk/blog/2020/07/state-of-the-connected-customer-report.html

– UX Planet. (2021). User Testing Techniques and Best Practices. https://uxplanet.org/user-testing-techniques-and-best-practices-38d40f957f4a

– Zapier. (2021). The 10 Best Online Survey Tools in 2021. https://zapier.com/blog/best-survey-apps/