Product management

How to Manage Customer Feedback Within Product Management Teams

Listening to what customers think or feel is essential for product management teams to improve their product or solution (and stay relevant). Product managers, expected to know their target audience and pain points, invariably turn to customer feedback to keep on top of their issues. Apart from product managers, gathering customer feedback can benefit the product in multiple ways: teams can identify if a potential feature is essential for their users or not; validate assumptions about user behavior; test features in line with market trends; and so on. Customer feedback also sheds light on unmet needs and use cases not previously considered and can act as a rudimentary market research activity. With the power of these insights from the feedback, teams can identify improvements, add functionalities, or create new solutions that address the challenges faced by their target audience.

What is product feedback management?

There are plenty of touch points when users interact with the products they use, and not all of them can be anticipated or addressed by the developers. While product managers and product marketing teams try to do their best to bring an accurate representation of a customer success scenario to the table, the changes in the market mean that the model may not hold anymore. That’s why understanding user experience and customer satisfaction levels with the product are essential for product strategy. Awareness of this user experience can take many forms, including digital feedback surveys, support tickets, reviews on own or marketplaces, user interviews, ratings, interaction with customer-facing teams, comments and mentions on social media, and so on. Of these, digital feedback software is the most pertinent to the management issues many organizations face. As there are multiple ways for customers to submit their feedback, collecting all of them in a readable format becomes complex and unwieldy over time. An organized feedback management funnel can allow a product strategy that prioritizes features and enables product updates to happen more effectively.

What is a feedback management system?

A product feedback management system is a system of processes and survey software that manages and measures activities that elicit customer satisfaction, displeasure, indifference, or any other reaction. They collate the information provided by the customers about their experience centrally so that the data can be analyzed without silos and informs product strategy. It usually consists of customer feedback management software as a web tool or portal that collects, analyses, and distributes user feedback data when customers complete predefined milestones. Executive teams and product managers turn this information into product strategy decisions for future developments.

While incorporating a customer feedback management system, care must be taken that the learning curve for the team members isn’t too steep. Adding to the burden of already stretched teams leads to negative compliance, and the whole idea behind the process would fail. And product managers who are overburdened with strategy-related challenges will be unable to hold effective meetings or complete meaningful work.

How to track product feedback?

Customer feedback management can be overwhelming for anyone, including product managers who have enough on their plate. A system to handle feedback and file it according to priority or upcoming milestones can pave the way for future feature upgrades and product strategy changes. Product managers at start-ups, and even those from large organizations, use general-purpose tools like spreadsheets to track feedback, rank and sort them, and all kinds of other stuff – only for the files to grow unwieldy and crash.

While they have issues, general-purpose tools are excellent vehicles for people to understand product management intricacies. Once the feedback volume grows beyond the capacity of these, product managers can either use an in-department hack that others use or go for a purpose-built tool like Roadmap Portal for Jira. These tools make the process of collecting feedback very simple. Not only is feedback management happening in a centralized place, but getting clarity in the form of video recording of issues (if any) and optional voice directions from customers becomes a piece of cake. 

Typeform integration is another way to capture feedback that saves the support team’s time. It guides users to relevant resources before they create any support tickets, reduces time-consuming back and forth by un-intrusively getting all the necessary details from the users, and engages users by personalizing ticket creation forms based on their profile attributes. With some effort, reporting a bug can also be a customer satisfaction moment due to its simplicity and ease. They help to connect roadmap cards to Jira software issues and automate the entire roadmap management. Product managers can focus on strategy instead of taking care of the accuracy of their roadmaps.

What should you do with the findings from the customer feedback?

Leading product managers say that more than 50% of new products and features they introduce are because of customer feedback. Yet, only 10% of the respondents were happy with how their organization or product team collected input. Ensuring that feedback is collated from all sources is very important, and promptly handling customer support tickets simultaneously maintains the standards that customers are used to. Having a feedback system that gives details of the issue to the relevant team, like Screenjar, reduces the triage time of the problem and can be quickly passed on to the product, development, or marketing teams for further redressal.

Keep an eye on changes.

Once the feedback management system correctly classifies and hands over the data to the corresponding team, project managers can either check on them (if the issues or suggestions are significant) or have the updates announced during regular team meetings. This also gives breathing space for the team so that any errors or potential changes to the course can be flagged off and added to the agile roadmap accordingly.

Compare the product to the vision.

The feedback that relates to product features and requests should be evaluated by the product manager with the lens of product vision. If the input is essential to the customer but not the product, the product manager should decide to cut the feedback. Customer feedback enables teams to clarify the product strategy with insights from their active customer feedback and paves a data-driven path ahead. Also, by informing customers that their feedback led to essential milestones, they will be eager to contribute and help in the future.

Share feedback with the team.

Feedback management is not just about issues and requests – there is a reason to be delighted too. Congratulatory feedback means customer success, motivating employees to work better and bring in new clients. With the client’s consent, classifying positive feedback separately can lead to a feel-good environment for the team with constant displays of praise. It can be converted into a case study showing real-world capabilities. Initiatives like this can improve the Net Promoter Score of the product.

Why is customer feedback important for product managers?

Not all feedback is positive, but not all feedback is negative either. The small section of harmful feedback spoils it for everyone else because most feedback is from customers who want to return to their work. They either encounter a problem or see an area of improvement, both of which can be dealt with according to the severity of the matter. Product managers who sort feedback into positive, negative, and ignored are good; those who rank input based on its similarity with the product vision help their teams do great things. They evaluate their product strategy when customer feedback points towards a change in the market.

The biggest challenge for product managers is to understand if the market will accept the product they’re building or not. Therefore, external feedback from customers is critical in understanding what strategy needs to be adopted. The continuous feedback reveals what customers feel and experience, and remedial measures can be taken promptly. Acting quickly on feedback allows managers to get a head start on reviewing product goals and knowing the customers’ needs because even if they’re unsure about specific feature requests, they can toy with a minimum viable product in the testing environment to check for feasibility and other necessities. By basing their product strategy on customer feedback, product managers can find themselves in a win-win scenario, where the new product features being built are of value to both their customers and the organization they work for.

Conclusion

When customers take time off their busy schedules to provide feedback, it must be appropriately acknowledged. Taking a few minutes to personally recognize the customer’s concern and explain why it will be taken up immediately (or otherwise) in a reasonable amount of time shows customers that their inputs are valued and may encourage further participation. Templated replies might be construed as indifference sometimes, and that’s not what any product manager wants.

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