One of the best ways to build your product is to base your product roadmap on completing features that are customer requests as you know what you are building will help those who use your platform and those you are still attracting for the future. Early stage product teams need to guess with the help of industry experts and user interviews on what the product features need to be to be ready for launch. Once launched however, there should be no more guessing and product managers need to maintain as many open streams of customer feedback as possible to fill their product backlog with feature requests from true customers or leads for your product.
There is a variety of different types of user feedback you can get to help you build a better product. Here are the main areas you want to work with customers to get feedback on and track within your feature backlog.
1. Product bugs or issues they are experiencing. Every company should have support to handle issues or bugs however not all customers are willing to report the issue or if they do, it may go into your support process and not bubble up to the product team to see trends in bug reporting. Product bugs is a great way to lose a customer especially when not handled correctly. Product bugs should be managed by support to ensure a customer has a workaround and help establish early priority but really it is up to the product manager to ensure customer feedback around bugs make it into their roadmap to be picked up and resolved in an upcoming release. To some extend, customers may expect to find bugs early on, but they also expect you to be responsive to their report of the bug.
2. Competitor Insight. If you have customers, then you have a chance to get insight into what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong compared to existing competition. Ask your customers if they have used similar products to your own. What did they like better about the previous product and what do they think you are strong at for them. You can also ask if they are looking at other competitors actively while using your product and what other products they use along with yours to understand your role in their workflow better.
3. What value has your product provided? Go ahead, ask your customers since using their your product have their reached their goals. If not, what was their goal, why are they not reaching it. You need to better understand your value proposition and the on boarding flow to take a user from start to value as quickly as possible so the more you ask users about their on boarding and their time to value you can learn about hiccups or bumps you need to iron out within your product roadmap. These features in your backlog help you achieve a number of goals and should be a staple of your user feedback loops.
4. What are customers searching for or asking about to your support team? User design is a very tricky thing and a great way to solve for design issues is to look at your support site and guides to look up what your customers are searching for about your product. If they are searching for it there, this means you may be missing some key setup information, instructions, or in product tips on how to complete a certain task. Product managers really need to lean on support data to see where customers struggle to pick up a feature and then add backlog items to increase the education and usability of a flow that seems to be a normal support question.
5. Focus on your features that are available. When you spend time and deliver new features, ask your users what they think about them. Make sure each feature you add to your product is nailed down before adding more features. You don’t need a lot of features to be successful instead you need to nail the problem with a solution and then make that as easy to use as possible.
Product teams without users need to really rely on best guesses to deliver a viable product but once a product gets a customer they should lean on them to nail down the features they have.