The very first principle of the Agile Manifesto says that the highest priority for software businesses is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. Of course, the only way to confidently determine if customers are satisfied and find value in your software is collecting and processing their feedback.
Let’s take a look at why to collect end user feedback, strategies to effectively collect it and how to put the knowledge to work in your business.Customer feedback is a critical part of the Agile development process and essential to increase engagement, minimize churn and improve the user experience. Click To Tweet
Why Collect Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback is critical to the success of any software business, but the benefits extend beyond merely collecting suggestions for improvements.
The most obvious benefit is that such feedback can help improve products and services by ensuring that the roadmap reflects customer requirements and priorities. While stakeholders and product managers may have the best intentions, the only way to be confident in the roadmap is to understand the customer’s point of view.
Aside from planning, customer feedback can help measure customer satisfaction with existing features. Improving the user experience of existing features can have a positive impact on customer retention, which is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow revenue since the cost of acquiring new customers is typically higher than retaining existing customers.
Finally, collecting feedback from them also shows customers that you care—even if you don’t end up making the changes they want. The simple act of including them in the conversation is often enough to boost engagement and retention rates, assuming that you actually use their thoughts and opinions during your decision-making processes.
Tools to Collect Customer Feedback
There are many different types of customer feedback and even more strategies and tools to collect that feedback—it can be hard to know where to start.
The Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is the most popular way to collect customer feedback. In a single survey question, customers are asked how likely they are to recommend the product on a scale of one to ten. These scores are a good measure of customer loyalty and tell you a great deal about how much value they see in the product or service.
Example of an NPS Survey – Source: Baremetrics
In general, those that score 9 and 10 are promoters – these users are very satisfied with your product. A score of 7 or 8 indicates a satisfied customer that may have one or two issues that makes them hesitant to whole-heartedly make a recommendation. Scores of 6 or less are detractors that may be a good source of customer feedback for improvement.
Customer surveys and interviews are another important way to collect feedback. While the NPS provides some valuable information, follow-up conversations are often required to what they like and don’t like with a product or service. These days, it’s a good idea to offer some kind of incentive for completing a survey or interview, such as a gift card or credit.
A final way to collect customer feedback is through usage data. Using modern analytics tools, you can follow specific users through different workflows to identify pain points. A common example is an abandoned workflow among new users. By looking at these sessions, you may notice that a certain step frequently leads to new user attrition.
Customer feedback comes from many different channels. The sales team, support engineers, product developers receive feedback that designers and developers typically implement.
Communication is essential to ensure that all feedback is collected and organized in an easily accessible location. For example, many companies use Trello to collect feature requests on a roadmap—or simply keep internal feedback in a centralized location—since columns are a convenient way to represent the development pipeline and cards can be organized by priority.
Amoeboids’ Roadmap Portal for JSD – Source: Amoeboids
Amoeboid’s Roadmap Portal for JSD takes things a step further by integrating with Jira Service Desk to enable verified customers to provide feedback on a Trello-like board outlining the product roadmap, helping automate both feedback and planning processes. These kinds of tools can save time by having customers input feedback themselves.
Product managers should also ensure that someone is responsible for validating customer feedback and transferring requests into design and development pipelines. For example, a product manager may hold an interview with users to validate feedback and then incorporate it into the development backlog as a user story.
How to Use Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is only valuable if you put it to use to inform your product roadmap, improve the user experience or fix glaring mistakes.
The best way to use customer feedback to inform a product roadmap is to make a product roadmap public. In addition to getting customers involved, these roadmaps make it easy for customers to see what new features may be on the horizon as well as understand the velocity of development and see that you’re making progress each month.
Customer feedback concerning problems can be used in many different ways. For example, a bug may simply be entered into a development backlog to be fixed whereas a confusing part of an application could benefit from an enhanced onboarding sequence. You can even hold virtual customer interviews and watch them interact with the app to pinpoint fixes.
Product managers should also periodically review feedback from customers to identify ways to improve existing workflows. If something is rarely used, it might be worth cutting out to simplify the application. If something has a high abandonment rate, it might be worth rethinking the workflow or providing more documentation.
The Bottom Line
Customer feedback is a prerequisite to the very first principle of the Agile Manifesto. While stakeholders and product managers may have the best intentions, soliciting and analyzing feedback from customers is the only way to ensure that your product roadmap reflects the right priorities and the user experience is optimized for customer success.