Product teams can use customer feedback as a source of inspiration and insight. For many, however, the idea of inviting another stakeholder group to weigh in on the product can seem overwhelming or an unnecessary hassle in the development process.

Customer feedback is crucial in creating great products and experiences. Listening to customers, investing in scalable feedback systems, and closing the loop between stakeholders are the cornerstones of the best product-led organizations. If you don’t incorporate customer feedback into your roadmap, then you are missing a great opportunity to engage customers and gain valuable insights that will make your product shine.

What is the importance of customer feedback for your roadmap?

Small startups have the advantage of being able to get to know every customer and talk directly with them about their experience using your product.

As companies grow, keeping in touch with your customers becomes more difficult. As customers use more products, their roles change, and their needs evolve, it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine yourself in your customers’ shoes.

What’s the bottom line? It’s impossible to please every customer. Instead of basing product decisions solely on intuition, it is important to seek feedback from customers to inform your decision-making.

These valuable qualitative insights are a great source of inspiration for product design. However, when combined with quantitative user analysis, it can really help you see the whole product experience and where you should focus your efforts.

Involving the customer in future and current projects

Future projects

To start taking a proactive approach to incorporating customer feedback into your future roadmapping efforts, bring voice and opinion (VoC). It is a great way for you to plan for the future by listening to your customers and learning from what they have to say about your current offerings.

For those who are concerned about the possibility of over-indexing your customers’ feedback, remember that their feedback should inform your strategy and not drive it.

Planning for future projects is a great place. Think about your future customers (aka current prospects). Prospects can provide valuable feedback and requests for benchmarking your product. If you are losing deals, listening to feedback from prospects who have left could help you identify the most important features and areas where you can grow.

When you are planning your next product roadmap, consider how you collect and use customer and prospect feedback. Think about which voices are most relevant to your product and company goals. Timing is also important. Give yourself enough time to process the data to make it useful in your research and development.

Also Read – Free Roadmap Tools

Current projects

It’s never too late for feedback. Releases are iterative for most product teams. This means that the product’s improvement never stops. Customer feedback is a great way to validate or pivot projects currently in flight. It also provides context about how users interact with features, so you can see the “why” behind it all.

One common misconception when it comes to leveraging customer feedback in the current project is that you should only include the original requestors.

Sometimes, input from customers with no vested interest in a project or initiative is equally valuable. Your users’ feedback can give you a new perspective and, when combined with product usage data, will give you an objective view of how a feature functions in the hand’s first-time users.

When evaluating your current initiatives, think about how you incorporate customer feedback. Are you able to follow up with customers to find out what their opinions are about your product?

Are you able to track usage and see which features are being used? Do you encourage input from outside the product team to create products that people love?

Process, process and more process

Setting up and scaling a customer feedback program doesn’t need to be difficult. There are four steps that will get you started with a simple, repeatable and highly effective VoC process.

1. Select one location for customer feedback

You can avoid duplicate data by storing all feedback data in one location. It also allows you to spot trends and patterns easier so that you know where to focus your efforts. This is the one thing you should do to get your VoC practice started.

2. Make sure to review the process

Feedback is not a ticketing system or bug system. It’s a two-way process. Customers should be able to express their opinions and expectations. This will keep them interested in sharing their feedback.

3. Get in touch

It is important that your customers feel valued and heard if you want them to give feedback. You can leverage automation to make it easier to keep customers in the loop.

This is where a Product Feedback policy can be extremely helpful. It helps customers set clear expectations so that they know when and how they will hear back from you.

4. Get your teams on board.

Because of their proximity to users, your sales and customer success teams (CS) can be amazing partners to gather and add context.

Sales and CS can be involved in the feedback process to help you gather better data and have better conversations with your customers and prospects.

Are you unsure how to involve them? Your product operations team can be a great resource for keeping your customer-facing teams informed and aligned on the latest product news.