It doesn’t matter if your product is a kitchen knife, a motorbike, or a SaaS product — product feedback should always be an integral part of your business plan to help you make effective product decisions.
Every business wants its products to reach more customers and stay relevant for them in the long run.
Sounds like a great plan, but how can you ensure this happens?
One of the best ways to figure that out is to ask them directly and incorporate the insights into your product development cycle.
Your product, how customers use it, and your customer acquisition strategy can change drastically throughout the product life cycle (PLC). Product insights keep track of the customers’ expectations and issues they face so you can make quick data-backed decisions and do away with guesses.
You can use it to develop product maps, run optimization cycles, and even design product marketing campaigns.
In this blog, we’ll show how you can collect product feedback and leverage it to deliver optimal solutions. We have also compiled a list of the best product survey questions for different stages of PLC.
Let’s get started.
What is Product Feedback
Product feedback refers to opinions and suggestions about your product, both positive and negative, given by the users.
Product feedback is mostly about the experience and satisfaction of people who use that product and focuses on specific aspects such as new features, product lines, upgrades, and more. Gathering this helps product teams hone in on making necessary product improvements.
You can collect feedback for a product in multiple ways, including:
- Customer support tickets
- Online reviews
- In-app surveys
Importance of Product Feedback
Product feedback at every stage of the product development cycle helps align customer expectations with the product features. From the conception of the product idea to its launch and afterward, gathering feedback becomes vital to make sure your product appeals to the target market.
Here are a few reasons why you need to incorporate customer feedback in your product development and beyond:
- Identify the Right Product-Market Fit
A “product-market fit” is when your product’s value proposition aligns with the audience’s needs. It means building the right product for the right audience.
When you’re first starting, your single biggest priority needs to be getting to product-market fit. It won’t be possible to acquire customers if your product doesn’t solve a market need.
But how do you know who your customers are and what they want?
By collecting regular feedback.
It helps to gauge the demand for the product so you can craft your value proposition accordingly. The answers you need should come from the people whom your business runs i.e. your customers.
Multiple factors can affect the product-market fit, such as;
- Ease of use
With valuable insights for your target audience, you can find the perfect balance between these factors to build products that appeal to your target market.
Case Study: How Netflix achieved its product-market fit
Netflix has always found its perfect-market fit by reading the current and future trends. It started as a DVD rental business to provide cheaper options to the users than the brick & mortar shops.
It used to mail movie DVDs to the customers as part of its subscription package, allowing users to keep the DVDs with them for as long as they wanted without worrying about the late fees.
With the increase in internet bandwidth, Netflix shifted from DVDs to online streaming to compete as the cheapest alternative to whatever the entertainment market offered. By constantly altering their product over the years to fit the current market, Netflix is now one of the best streaming platforms in the world.
2. Test New Ideas & Product Concepts
It’s not just about building a product but finding the next best thing for your customers.
According to a study in Harvard Business Review, customer ideated products performed 20% better.
That’s one more reason to crowdsource product ideas.
To create products that resonate with potential customers, getting to know them inside out is vital. It is even more important for digital and SaaS products because they tend to serve very specific purposes – and hence, are targeted towards similarly specific customer segments.
- What kind of solutions are your target looking for?
- Does the current product solve their problems in the most effective way?
- Does your current idea appeal to your target audience?
Another factor to consider is competition.
- Does a similar product exist in the market?
- Does more than one option exist to satisfy the purpose (or similar) that your product aims to fulfill?
- If yes, then what will set your product apart – the Unique Selling Proposition, the famous “USP”?
Feedback for products can help you explore answers to these questions and test new ideas at the pre-development stage so you can make early changes before committing to building a prototype.
Case Study: Udemy drives continuous product growth with user feedback
Udemy, an e-learning platform, uses Qualaroo’s contextual surveys to segment its audience based on various factors such as language and location. The survey responses help to understand issues and preferences for each segment to develop new ideas, product optimization and product feedback strategies.
For example, using customer feedback, they identified that many users outside English-speaking countries were opting for courses taught in English. So, they added a new feature – automatic captioning in their course videos to make courses inclusive for more people worldwide.
They also use user research surveys to obtain information about traffic sources to understand the effectiveness of marketing efforts and optimize budget allocation.
Watch: 3 Ways Udemy Learns From Their Students
Incorporating customer feedback into your product cycle is necessary not only at the pre-development stage but even after launching the product.
It allows you to explore new ideas about making your product better. Sometimes even seasoned entrepreneurs feel a shortage of ideas that have a high probability of success.
During such slumps of creativity, customer feedback can spark innovation like nothing else.
Since the general people do not have to face the pressure of coming up with ideas, they can surprise product developers with their fresh perspectives.
The way forward for the product can be charted by taking advantage of their so-called ‘out-of-the-box’ ideation through one-to-one conversations. When the purpose of the product becomes clear, the rest of the product innovation and development process becomes quite streamlined.
How to Innovate by Using Feedback in R&D
With the increasing relevance of customer feedback, it has become essential to use the Voice of Customer in product R & D. You can eliminate most guesswork by incorporating customer feedback in the design stage itself. Plus, your theories and assumptions get validated!
Some common ways to get customer feedback are:
- Interactive workshops
- Usability testing
- Social media monitoring
- Simple direct surveys that can be run inside your product or on-site.
Community feedback from long-time users is a great driver of new product development.
An excellent example of this strategy is the Lego Ideas portal, which allows the entire Lego community to submit their unique product ideas, participate in Lego-building contests, vote for the new ideas submitted by others, and interact with others in the world-ranging community.
Putting a customer feedback system in place lets you extract maximum insight from your target user’s mindset. It can also open up opportunities for target market expansion, customer acquisition, and new customer segments who are more than likely to love your end product.
4. Install a Continuous Delivery System
Often product developers and marketers are too close to it to identify (or even acknowledge) its problems. To them, the flaws become invisible.
Customer feedback is a great tool to break this dangerous mindset. It identifies users’ problems that might not be readily apparent to those involved deeply in the product’s design, creation, or promotion.
With the constant changes in market trends and customer preferences, effective feedback systems allow businesses to adapt agile product development to respond to such changes quickly, thereby reducing risks.
Even at the prototype phase, new products should be tested by unbiased users. The fact that such users have no prior experience with the kind of product you are testing gives you insight into how well the product works (or doesn’t, and why), even when new customers choose to try it out for the first time.
Case Study: KingsPoint discovered a problem to save $60000
KingsPoint implemented Qualaroo to collect and incorporate customer feedback in their conversion rate optimization process. The team deployed surveys on product pages, resource pages, and checkout pages.
This is what Steven Macdonald, advisor at KingsPoint, had to say about the impact of customer feedback on their product cycle – “Without Qualaroo, we would still be unaware of the problem. Based on conversion rates for both Firefox (12%) and Internet Explorer (9%), if we can convert just as many users with Safari, then fixing this problem could be worth approximately $60,000 this year.”
Benefits of Product Feedback
Product feedback can bring a lot of upsides to your organization. Once you start collecting data from product users, you can uncover insights critical to your business’s success.
Here are some benefits of collecting product feedback:
1. A Better Understanding of Your Customers
Product feedback, positive or negative, lets you learn a lot about your customers. Everything from who your customers are, where they live, their preferences, and product experiences can be understood just by collecting product feedback.
There are plenty of ways you can gather this information, including:
- Online surveys
- Social media monitoring
- Web analytics
When you understand customers well enough and know what irritates and motivates them, you can use that to your advantage and drive conversions.
2. Improve Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is an important metric to keep track of because happy customers are likelier to be loyal and generate more repeat business over time.
In fact, the data from Bain & Company suggests that satisfied customers make more purchases and act as promoters of the company.
To know how satisfied or dissatisfied your customers are with your products, you must follow up with them regularly.
And it’s pretty simple!
Just deploy a CSAT rating question using your online feedback tool.
CSAT surveys integrated into your product can help you instantly check your customers’ pulse. You can also use the data to fix existing problems with your product and boost retention.
3. Boost Loyalty
We already touched a tiny bit of customer loyalty in the previous step, but there’s more to it. Product feedback can tell you what works with your customer service experience and what’s preventing them from being loyal.
Loyalty is equally important as satisfaction, if not more, because loyal customers are likelier to make repeat purchases and are less likely to head toward the competition.
One particular survey that works extremely well in gauging customer loyalty is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. The survey asks customers how likely they are to recommend the product to people they know. Customers who are not loyal and unsatisfied would rate low on the scale.
The scores will help you categorize them into promoters, passives, and detractors. Then you can work on gathering more information from your detractors, make improvements and turn them into promoters.
4. Make Informed Business Decisions
Every business decision you make should be based on solid facts and backed by data. Ideally, the data you collect from your customers through product feedback is extremely useful.
These insights tell you exactly what your customers want, and you can use these insights to lay down a product roadmap.
When you base your decisions on proven insights and data, you can easily make improvements & changes that will be useful for your customers and improve their overall product experience.
All you have to do is carefully analyze your feedback.
You can do it manually or use your online feedback tool’s built-in sentiment analysis engine, which is much faster and more accurate.
Now that we’ve gone through the benefits, let’s look at different product feedback types.
Types of Product Feedback
There are multiple types of product feedback that you can collect based on the type of information you are looking for:
Let’s take a look at the different types:
1. Transactional Feedback
Transactional feedback collects information about the user’s interaction with the product at different touchpoints.
Transactional feedback is extremely specific, which helps brands zero in on each touchpoint and improve them for a better user experience.
To give you an example of transactional feedback, a restaurant or a food delivery service app instantly pushes you a feedback notification once you have either dined or have received your food delivery.
The feedback aims at gauging experience about the service and food quality related to that order specifically.
These types of feedback are mostly rating-based, where the user can rate the products and services and provide detailed insights about what they liked and disliked.
2. Free Trial Feedback
As the name suggests, you need to take free trial feedback at the end of a product’s free trial.
To give you a perspective, if a CRM software user doesn’t purchase the product after the free trial, the product feedback can help you understand the exact reason behind their decision.
To double down on that, brands can also reach out to users to learn more about their challenges and difficulties during their free trial. You can transfer this feedback to the product teams to eliminate recurring issues that drive potential customers away.
3. Onboarding Feedback
Onboarding feedback lets companies uncover insights about product adoption and the onboarding process.
These insights can help create a better onboarding experience and more customer-centric products.
Onboarding feedback is also beneficial for the users to improve product usage and familiarize themselves with key features & settings.
An onboarding survey can be quite diverse. You can deploy a rating scale to check how your users perceive your onboarding. Or you can even deploy an NPS survey to see if your process was a hit based on the likelihood of your users recommending you to others.
4. Cancellation Feedback
The insights you collect from a churned customer are called product cancellation feedback. The product survey is shown to the user when they cancel the subscription or service with you.
The idea here is to know the reason behind the user’s subscription cancellation and what you can do to retain them. You can add a pop-up survey to your cancellation page using a feedback tool like Qualaroo to instantly capture contextual feedback from your abandoning users.
Users are likelier to respond right when they take action and when the feedback fits the context of the situation perfectly. Here, you can use a product feedback platform to embed online pop-up surveys on your cancellation page to instantly capture feedback from your users.
You can also send email and SMS surveys to the users who have canceled their subscriptions at a later date.
When it comes to the questions, start with a restricted question and use branching to ask an open-ended question to contextualize your feedback.
5. Post Update Feedback
Regular product updates are necessary to weed out issues and add new features to the product. But how would you know how users perceive your product updates?
Product feedback helps to gauge the acceptance and efficacy of new features and updates you introduce.
For your post-update feedback, wait for at least 1-2 weeks before deploying your in-app product feedback surveys so that your users get enough time to get accustomed to the new updates and form an opinion about them.
You can easily deploy a CSAT survey here to check how satisfied your users are with the new updates and collect feedback on the following:
- The performance of the new updates
- The concept and the idea behind the new update
- Pricing and packages
- Suggestions for feature improvements
With that, we now know the different types of product feedback that you can deploy. Now let’s look at the best practices for collecting product feedback.
Read More – How to Collect and Benefit From In-App Feedback
Product Feedback Questions at Various Stages of Product Cycle
As discussed above, the right questions will fetch the correct information and prevent you from making mistakes that may deteriorate the product experience instead of enhancing it.
That’s why we have compiled a list of various questions you can use to collect product feedback for different scenarios that may arise in your product development and growth cycle.
A. Pre-Development Stage or Planning Stage
Scenario 1. Exploring product opportunities
- Which feature do you want us to build next? (Single answer type)
- Would you purchase the product at [price]? (Y/N)
- Have you seen any product with [feature name]? (Y/N)
- Would you purchase this product if it were available today? (Y/N)
- What problem would you like to solve with our product? (Free-text)
Scenario 2. Competitive analysis
- How long have you had the product?
- How often do you use the product?
- Rate the factors that affect your buying decision for [product] (Matrix match)
- How satisfied are you with the product? (Likert Scale)
- According to you, which brand best fits each of the following traits. (Matrix match)
- According to you, in which area is this product/service lacking the most? Specify below. (Free text)
B. Development Stage
Scenario 3. Testing usability
- What was your initial impression of the product? (Free-text, Likert Scale)
- What function do you think this product does? (Free text)
- What problems did you encounter while using our [product]? (Free text)
- What feature did you expect but not find? (Free text)
- How easy was it to navigate the product? (Likert scale)
- What are the things that you liked the most about the product? (Multiple choice)
- What grabbed your attention? (Free text)
- What words or sentences can you recall?
- What are the main elements you can recall?
- How can we make [this product] easier to use? (Free text)
C. After the Product Launch
Scenario 4. Understanding product experience
- Please rate the following aspects of the product as per your experience: (Matrix question)
- Please rate your overall experience with the product? (Rating scale 1-5)
- What changed for you after you started using our product? (Free-text)
- What convinced you to buy the product? (Free-text)
- Which of the following words would you use to describe our product? (Multiple choice)
- How satisfied are you with the product? (Likert scale or rating scale)
- What difficulty did you face while using the product? Please specify. (Free-text)
- How can we make the product better for you? (Free-text)
Scenario 5. Gauge customer satisfaction (CSAT survey)
- Overall, how satisfied were you with our [product name]? (Likert scale or rating scale 1-5)
- If the response is negative (1-3): Sorry to hear that! How could we improve?
- If the response is positive (4-5): What do you love about [product name]?
- Do you feel our [product or service] is worth the cost? (Y/N)
- What should we do to ‘WOW’ you? (Free text)
Scenario 6. Likelihood of recommending the product (NPS survey)
- What is the likelihood that you would recommend [company or product or app] to a friend or colleague? (NPS scale)
- If the answer is (0-8): What is the reason for your answer? (Free text)
- If the answer is (9-10): What are the aspects that you like the most? (Free text)
- How likely are you to buy again from us? (Likert scale)
Scenario 7. Identifying product Issues
- What’s the one thing that nearly stopped you from buying from us today? (Free-text)
- Did you find what you were looking for? (Y/N)
- What important features are we missing? (Free-text)
- What is your greatest concern about [product]? (Free-text)
- Have you started using other similar products? If yes, what made you choose that product? (Free-text)
- What are the things that you want to improve in the product? (Free-text)
- What are your main concerns or questions about [product or service]? (Free-text)
- How can we improve our product? (Free-text)
Scenario 8. Releasing new updates
- How would you rate this new feature? (Rating scale 1-5)
- How likely are you to recommend [product name] to your friends and colleagues after implementing [feature name]? (NPS Scale)
- Please let us know how we can further improve this feature? (Free-text)
- Have you used our [product or service] before? (Y/N)
5 Best Practices to Incorporate Customer Feedback Into Product Cycle
1. Estimate the Required Sample Size to Ensure the Data Is Reliable
One of the most important things to do while collecting customer feedback is to estimate the sample size for your survey responses.
A large sample size provides two benefits in your survey campaigns:
- Helps to establish the statistical significance. For example, a 95% statistical significance means the probability of getting wrong results is 5 out of 100.
- Increases the reliability of the data.
- Provides you with enough data points to draw accurate conclusions.
All customer feedback systems have limitations like survey bias, respondent bias, or random answers from respondents. So, If you don’t have enough responses, you cannot separate the genuine feedback from the outliers. Plus, it helps to spot trends among the data.
If you are using surveys, calculate the sample size from here.
As you can from the image above, to get 95% statistically significant results, you need to collect at least 2070 responses.
In the same way, if you are doing usability testing, the acceptable sample size can be between 5-39, depending on the method.
2. Ask for Feedback but Innovate Yourself
Always listen to the customers before, during, and after the product development to drive new ideas and innovation.
But there is a caveat.
According to Anthony W. Ulwick, founder of Strategyn, most companies approach customer feedback incorrectly. They ask customers for solutions instead of outcomes.
For example, the customers might say they want to be able to record videos using the app, and when companies deliver these solutions, it is observed that they don’t pan out as expected.
Anthony states that the reason is, the customers are not experts in innovations. Instead, the companies should only ask for outcomes like ‘what do you want the product to do for you.’
Using these outcomes as insights, the R&D team should develop new innovative solutions that appeal to the customers.
By focusing on desired customer outcomes, innovation becomes in-house research that can help you create products that sell.
3. Use Multiple Channels to Maximize the Sample Size & Response Rate
One of the most effective ways to collect customer feedback is to follow an omnichannel approach because:
- It puts you right where your potential customers are
- Makes it easy to reach the required sample size
It also helps to design a seamless omnichannel experience. So the customer can switch channels along its journey without any issues. For example, they can add the products to the cart from their desktop and then checkout using the mobile app afterward.
Plus, it helps you identify the most used channels and traffic sources so you can leverage them for feedback and optimization.
Using multiple channels for collecting product feedback is key to building the perfect product-market fit.
4. Look at the Big Picture — the Overall Experience
There are multiple touchpoints and interactions customers use along their journey. They may be directly or indirectly related to your product.
For example, a bug that prevents the customer from generating the report in your SaaS product is product-related feedback. But an issue such as an unoptimized help center or unclear pricing structure indirectly affects the product cycle.
These experiences help to shape the perception of your business in the customer’s mind. That’s why it is essential to optimize each point for improving the overall experience.
If you are only prioritizing the product-related issues, you are missing out on all other valuable information. You may offer the best product in the market, but if your services do not match customers’ expectations, they may move to the competition.
Here are some tips to improve the overall product experience:
- Optimize both transactional and overall customer experience.
- Use simple surveys or feedback forms to collect feedback across various customer interactions.
- Find the points of customer drop in the conversion funnel and collect customer feedback to uncover the reasons behind it.
- If you have a SaaS product, add a Contact Us tab and a help center link to give quick access to the customers.
- If you have a website or app, add a live chat widget to provide 24/7 support to the visitors.
- Collect feedback regularly to monitor general trends, spot undetected issues, and changes in customers’ satisfaction levels.
Watch: Supercharge Your Revenue With Data-Driven Pricing
Close the Loop Quickly
One of the biggest challenges while incorporating customer feedback into your product cycle is to act on it quickly.
With hundreds of data points, it becomes difficult to analyze each of them to drive actionable insights. But if you don’t act on it quickly enough, you risk losing customers.
So what to do? Categorize and conquer!
- Take help from relevant cross-departmental teams to work on the customer feedback simultaneously.
- Try to develop a system that consolidates the feedback into one place so all the teams can see it. For example, Qualaroo integration with Slack automatically sends the survey responses to the Slack channel in real-time. The teams can instantly pick and categorize it.
- Utilize the latest techniques like AI-based sentiment analysis, text analytics, voice analytics, NPS track
- For example, sentiment analysis can automatically identify the mood phrases in the responses to categorize them as happy, sad, angry, etc. In this way, you can prioritize the negative sentiments first.
The NPS or CSAT score trackers monitor the scores over time and let you visualize the changes in real-time.
- Behavioral analysis tools employ eye-tracking, heatmap, or screen recording to help you understand user behavior and actions.
Try to break down the customer feedback into small chunks that your teams can quickly analyze and act upon.
4 Examples of How Companies Use Feedback to Build Better Products
Apple has always taken a keen interest in collecting customer feedback on their products since the dark ages when customer feedback was not even a thing. Whether it’s an in-store or online experience, the brand always reaches out to its customers and asks them to share feedback about the products and services.
It also has an official support account on Twitter, which proactively collects suggestions, complaints, and customer feedback. CSAT and NPS surveys constitute a significant part of Apple’s product feedback program to measure customer satisfaction with the products.
This feedback is directly incorporated into the product cycle to drive innovation and explore new ideas for improving the products.
It’s no wonder that Apple has consistently scored one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the market – The fact evident in the 97% approval ratings for their Apple Watch among the customers.
Cloud communications platform Twilio’s product development strategy involves putting themselves in the customers’ shoes at every stage of the product cycle to work on their issues.
As they work in a fast-moving and constantly changing environment, testing every hypothesis and idea is impossible. So, the company uses customer insights from survey feedback to prioritize which hypotheses to pass for the experimentation process.
Using Qualaroo survey Nudges™, they collect targeted customer feedback to build data-backed hypotheses, making the process more efficient and increasing the chance of positive results.
The customer feedback is used not only by the product teams but across the entire organization – 18 different teams use survey data to build new ideas and test them.
Here are some ways Twilio empowers its teams with customer feedback:
- They use surveys to screen & recruit participants for user testing and interviews.
- Map customer needs and expectations to spark new ideas and innovation
- Collect data and collaborate among different teams to understand the difference between customer expectations.
With a constant feedback loop in place, Twilio can innovate, experiment, and deliver new functionality almost every week.
Salesforce employs the community feedback board called IdeaExchange and voice of customer research panels to collect customer feedback to improve their products and services.
IdeaExchangeIdeaExchange is a community feedback channel to crowdsource ideas, suggestions, and feedback from customers. People post their ideas about which features they want to be included in the product, and others can vote on the submitted ideas. The product development teams then pick the top voted ideas for testing and implementation.
By including customers directly into its product development process, Salesforce can find the perfect product-market fit for its platform.
Voice of Customer research panel
Salesforce research panels are a group of pre-screened respondents who participate in their research activities like surveys, 1-on-1 interviews, and focus groups. The interested customers can sign in to become a part of the research team. The feedback from these participants is directly used in the development of products and services.
The combined effect of gaining insights directly from real users and involving them in product testing during development makes Salesforce one of the leading CRM software in the world, as seen by revenue standings in the screenshot below:
In 2018, Mozilla decided to branch out from the Firefox browser to include more apps and services. At the same time, it decided to rebrand its identity and designed two design systems to bring the whole suite of tools under one banner.
What’s unique was that the Mozilla team asked users to help them pick the new system. Anyone could leave a comment about the design and suggest any changes by answering the following questions:
- Do these two systems still feel like Firefox?
- How visually cohesive is each of them? Does each hold together?
- Can the design logic of these systems stretch to embrace new products in the future?
- Do these systems reinforce the speed, safety, reliability, wit, and innovation that Firefox stands for?
- Do these systems suggest our position as a tech company that puts people over profit?
The entire campaign did two things –
- It made customers a part of the development and redesign process earning Mozilla loyal users.
- It helped Mozilla grow. By the time the new design came out, people were already familiar with design icons, preventing any confusion.
Listen Better, Build Better
If you keep improving the customer experience and find new applications or markets for your product, it can keep growing steadily well past the maturity stage. But most products fail to keep up with customers’ changing needs, so they gradually lose users and fade away.
Nip that decline in the bud before it happens. You need to put a system in place to figure out why customers leave you before it becomes a problem. That way, you know exactly where to turn to address churn as soon as it starts to spike, like these companies did, to great effect!
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