Your customers’ needs, preferences and expectations are certainly going to evolve over time. After all, it all comes down to the ability to manage those ideas in a systematic manner. But is feedback always good in all forms? Not necessarily.
As you probably already know, customer feedback plays an important role on the journey towards building better products. Your customers are the fresh eyes that allow you to see things you wouldn’t necessarily be able to see yourself.
Your customers’ needs, preferences and expectations are certainly going to evolve over time. To be able to adjust your product to your customers’ needs to serve them better, you must be able to listen and respond to their concerns and suggestions for improvement.
After all, it all comes down to the ability to manage those ideas in a systematic manner.
But is feedback always good in all forms?
Traditional vs. integrated feedback
Customer feedback can be gathered in different ways, such as via surveys or online forms. While these types of “traditional” methods can be useful on some occasions, the user experience of is often quite boring.
People have never been too keen on filling out long questionnaires, which is why the response rates often stay too low. Also, the results can be quite difficult to aggregate and analyse afterwards if gathered via email or a contact form.
In general, once a customer submits their feedback, let’s say via an online form, they’re almost always thanked with a generic, automated response. This can easily send a wrong signal and make your customer feel that their input doesn’t have much value.
Transparency is the key
These so-called traditional methods for gathering feedback have one serious flaw: they lack transparency.
The issue here is that the feedback only travels in one direction and does not promote active two-way communication between you and your customers.
However, with the right tool, gathering customer feedback is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to gain valuable information from your users. Building a continuous feedback process that promotes active participation and transparency allows more information to be exchanged in less time.
Not only can it help make your customers feel more appreciated, it can also help you learn what works and what doesn’t so that you can improve your performance.
Transparent customer feedback also has a number of other benefits:
Increased customer loyalty
“Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.” – Jeffrey Gitomer
Building products people love is about making informed decisions based on their requests.
This requires the ability to bridge the gap between your customers and the product roadmap.
Listening and responding to customer feedback helps you to build a more loyal customer base as being transparent and open really shows that you care about what your customers have to say.
By engaging in active communication and involving your customers in the product development process, you’ll be able to develop your own brand identity that really leaves a mark in the mind of your customer. This way, your customers will eventually grow more attached to your entire brand.
No duplicate feedback
Everyone must agree that one of the most frustrating and time-consuming activities is having to respond to the same questions over and over again.
By making feedback transparent and visible for everyone, people can focus on generating new improvement suggestions instead of accidentally submitting the same feedback again. The best feedback tools are able to identify and combine duplicate feedback – automatically.
This way there’s no need to respond individually to each request. When you only have to handle each suggestion once, your response times will get shorter and you’ll be able to increase your productivity immediately.
Feedback is easy to analyse
The more feedback you receive, the more critical the analysis phase becomes. As you need to be able to prioritise your feature requests. As each feedback is out there only once, it’s much easier to aggregate and categorize that feedback to make better decisions.
With the help of a dedicated feedback tool, you’ll be able to save the trouble from yourself as it gives you useful data about the number of requests, that are in progress, planned or under review.
This undoubtedly leaves you more time to evaluate and analyse the nature and the development speed of these requests. What could be better than letting more of your customers know that the feature they have requested is already available?
“Success is not delivering a feature, it is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.” – Eric Ries
Most of us are aiming to build products that offer the best possible user experience. It’s good to keep in mind that the purpose of gathering customer feedback is not so much to develop tons of different features but more about getting familiar with the problems your customer is trying to solve.
By engaging them in your product development process, you’ll be able to really get to know your customers.
These are obviously just some of the benefits of transparent feedback. If you’re interested, you can also read a more comprehensive post of introducing transparent feedback in your organization.
The next step with making your feedback process as transparent and smooth as possible, is to get started with the right tool.
hellonext helps making your customer interaction more open with the ability to control the feedback the way you want to. To see it for yourself, you can now get started for free.
About the author
Julia Myllylä is creating content for Viima, the best way to collect and develop ideas. Viima’s innovation management software is already loved by thousands of organizations all the way to the Global Fortune 500. She’s passionate about helping leaders drive innovation in their organizations and frequently writes on the topic, usually in Viima’s blog.