How do you ensure feature development answers customer’s needs?
August 24, 2018
August 24, 2018
One of the most important questions product managers need to ask themselves is how do you ensure feature development answers customer’s needs in order to ensure they are spending the companies resources (time and money) to maximize their product and business growth. Otherwise, what is the point of building a feature that no one uses so understanding your customer specific pain points and needs is critical to ensuring your product feature development is a direct response and solution to the issues they are facing.
So how do you ensure feature development answers customers needs? By asking them! Creating feedback loops with your customers allows you to have a constant flow of new ideas, suggestions and general understanding of your users and their needs. To hear the voice of the customer, product managers need to use customer feedback management software which provides them different approaches for customers to share their thoughts. Different customers will be open to different approaches for example, some customers don’t want to talk on the phone or meet in person but would be open to sharing and submitting thoughts through other venues. To be effective you need to have a number of options available for your customers to share feedback.
Here are some common methods for feedback management
In App Feedback Widgets: You want to make it easy to get customer feedback and having a simple feedback tab within your product that let’s them click and submit thoughts, suggestions and ideas makes the flow easy and available all of the time. Additionally, often a user experiences a pain point within the product and if there is not a feedback widget within the product at that time, they may just forget about it or worse yet, cancel. So putting feedback widgets within your product make it available when it matters most to hear the voice of the customer.
User Interviews: Nothing is more powerful for a product manager than talking directly with a customer to hear first hand their feedback during a user interview about their experience with your product and the pain points in general they are experiencing. Product managers should always clear time in their schedules to make a point to reach out to users that are using the product differently to see how things are going and identify opportunities to improve the product. By hearing directly from the customer you can improve the quality of the features you are placing on your product roadmap to ensure your feature development aligns with customer needs.
Feature Voting: Don’t be an island as a product manager but instead show your cards to your team and customers and let them know what features are being discussed. By allowing your team and customers to vote on features you can quickly see what are the top most popular features to know what to move forward with. Customer feature voting is available to help assess if your feature requests that you are tracking will actual solve a customer need. Why spend time guessing when you can have your users themselves validate what they feel is important.
Public Product Roadmap: In addition to showing the features you are debating to include in your product roadmap, go ahead and show your roadmap to your users and let them see where you are heading. Allow them to submit feedback on your product roadmap to see if they feel something should be prioritized differently or if there is something missing from your plans that are important to them for their continued use of your product. By having a public roadmap, you take additional guess out of your plans but also you gain buy in from your customers on the future of your product.
Product Managers need to ensure their product plan, releases and features are solving pain points and cashing in on opportunities and to ensure that your feature development answers customer’s needs you need to start by asking your customers early and often what their needs are and constantly validate.