The growth trajectory of a product and the value it adds to users are primarily driven by customer engagement. Customer feedback and engagement are crucial to all aspects of product development, including the product roadmap. Regular and valuable customer insights lay the foundation of successful product iterations that lead to improved customer engagement with your product.
When it comes to engagement metrics, no one size fits all. It varies from company to company and product to product. Nonetheless, active and engaged users keep the wheels of change and growth turning for every successful company.
With customer centricity at the heart of your initiatives, it is important to drive your product forward through customer feedback. And that can only happen, if your customers are actively participating in your Product roadmap activities. Here are five smart tips to help you build a stellar customer engagement plan for your product roadmap.
1. Map your Customer’s Journey & Use that to Structure Product Roadmap
Unraveling your customer and understanding her needs and expectations is the first and most important step in creating an effective engagement strategy. If your users feel they have been understood and their opinions are valued, they will likely remain loyal to your product.
While charting your customer’s journey, get a sense of all the significant touchpoints, pain points, and challenges they might face. This information is vital to decoding their choices and behavior and choosing new ways to create engagement. Organize one-to-one meetings, set up email surveys, and create beta test groups to decipher the DNA of your customers.
Use the information that you gather to present your product roadmap to the customers. Inevitably, the customer journey will have an impact on the roadmap that you showcase. For example, some feature requests on the roadmap will cater to the power users and the others will work to steal away customers from competition.
2. Identify Common Workflows & Roadblocks to Connect with End Users
When building a product, you may have certain assumptions about how a customer will likely use it. However, users may develop unique workflows that are divergent from your original plan. Use metrics to measure user interaction with your product and identify potential blockers and standard workflows.
The product roadmap should be a forum to listen more from your end users. Probe them on why they are using a feature in a certain way, when it was designed to do something else. Maybe ask them, if doing X, Y & Z in your product can potentially solve the roadblock they are currently facing.
3. Collect Contextual Feedback to Drive Product Roadmap Engagement
When & where are the most important questions for product roadmap engagement. If your tactics are reaching the customer at the ‘not so right’ time, the desired product roadmap engagement won’t be achieved. That’s where user activity driven, in-app feedback collection comes in.
The distinct advantage of in-app feedback is that you gauge the user’s real-time thoughts and feelings about a feature or the product as a whole. An NPS survey or one-to-one interaction can’t match in-the-moment reactions you can get via in-app feedback.
Turn the feedback into feature requests on your product roadmap & use it as a conversation starter. You gain on two fronts with this approach – Customer support wins big time because the in-app feedback mechanism allows end users to vent their frustration immediately and second, you can use this feedback to increase engagement on your product roadmap.
4. Create a Buzz around your Product Roadmap Engagement Program
Create awareness about your product roadmap/feedback program so that maximum users can be part of it. Share your ideas with customers and solicit their participation in surveys, in-app feedback, and other conversations around the product roadmap.
Don’t limit yourself to one or two channels; cast your net wide and reach users through webinars, newsletters, social media posts, emails, blog posts, and community announcements. Timely polite reminders in routine communication will also nudge customers to share their feedback regularly. Add a link to your Product roadmap in the email signatures & in your knowledge base. Getting the word out through these creative means is equally important to generate the necessary interest.
5. Close the Feedback Loop by Delivering on Product Roadmap Promises
All this effort will count for little if you don’t follow up and close the feedback loop. It’s one thing to garner feedback, but acting on users’ suggestions will genuinely make them feel valued. One surest way to build credibility around your Product roadmap is to acknowledge feature requests promptly and deliver them as promised. This timely follow-up will foster confidence and ensure that the customers remain engaged with your Product roadmap items to get maximum value from their investment in your product.
Users want the assurance of consistency, and you need to keep the focus on key features that customers signed up for at the time of the product launch. It’s also important to know the user threshold and not bombard users with too much information on product roadmap. Avoid creating a product debt that can dilute the impact of your core product.
Based on criticism and negative feedback, you may have to remove certain features, which will always be a tough call. Customer feedback will help you understand why a shiny new feature is simply not clicking with users despite all your time and effort. Using feedback tools again, you can ask customers to decide what to do with this feature, develop it further, and improve or scrap it entirely.
Use a Feedback System to Create Customer-Centric Experiences
There’s no magic mantra to get maximum engagement on your product roadmap. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, every product will have a different set of users. Keeping them engaged could be a hit-and-miss game requiring fine-tuning at every stage.
With some trial and error, you will have a engaged customer base for the product roadmap. The next step is to organize it and finally deliver on its promise. Choose a system that keeps your entire customer-facing team and marketing and product management on the same page. Creating access to a shared pool of consumer insights will make the right synergies across the organization.
The product roadmap is created to keep the customer abreast of product direction. Enhancing customer engagement and collecting feedback along this roadmap is a win-win for everyone. Even as the consumer feels heard and valued, the company can create improved products, a better user experience and sustain growth over a long period.