Not all feedback is useful, that seems like a strange place to begin when discussing how to deal with feedback but the underlying purpose of it is to build a better product. Yes, but with the qualification of a better product to people who are willing to pay for it.
A mistake we’ve made previously when we were much more inexperienced was to jump on every suggestion. Being charitable to our previous selves this was an unwise way of working. It meant that we were putting in features without an overarching objective, it might work out but it probably won’t.
How to get the feedback that matters from your users?
You have to be able to segment your feedback to identify the people who really aren’t invested at all in your product. They might even be people who are very vocal but their suggestions will be a distraction and create a muddled product that will not appeal to many others.
What you need to be able to do is look for people who already see some value in what you’re offering, maybe they love your product or they like it a little bit. You need to identify any common themes of what they like and double down on those and then if there’s anything that keeps coming up on what they think is missing – that should guide your future product development.
The reason for doing this is that for the group that love your product already you’ll avoid churning by developing features that they’ll love and you’ll increase the probability of the former unsure group of converting by improving the stuff they already like and bringing in features that’ll bring value to them.
It’s about creating a product that fits your customers.
The Product Fit Survey
Firstly, and it may sound harsh we ignore the feedback from anyone who answers “Not disappointed” to the question about how they would feel if they could no longer use RealtimeCRM.
For this group, your product is almost completely wrong for them and it’s not worth wasting time and resources trying to get blood out of a stone. They’re pretty much a lost cause, let them churn out and focus on the users who answered very disappointed or somewhat disappointed. Their feedback matters and will translate into lower churn and higher revenue if you execute on what they want properly.
Which leads us to question three, what is the main value you receive from RealtimeCRM? The answers to this from the very disappointed group will hopefully reveal what you do really well and should double down on and improve. It’ll help deal with “sharpening the tool” and creating that obvious value that will be attractive to potential customers creating that “aha” moment where they’ll convert.
What you think may be awesome about your product may not be what users actually love. In the case of RealtimeCRM, we were so used to the simple and clean interface that we took it for granted but every time we got feedback from people who would be very disappointed if they couldn’t use RealtimeCRM anymore it came up again and again – it made it so much easier for them to use, so we know now not to overcomplicate or clutter the interface and thereby destroying that piece of value that RealtimeCRM provides. Additionally, we constantly try to find new ways to simplify it further to double down on this strength.
We then segmented our somewhat disappointed group again into those for whom the main value was the same as the very disappointed group, for example a simple and clean interface. The other segment being where the somewhat disappointed group did not share their main value with the very disappointed group i.e. the clean and simple interface didn’t matter to them, this latter group we ignored because the main value which seems to correlate with a higher level of satisfaction really didn’t capture them. Instead, we focus on the segment of somewhat disappointed where the main value of a clean interface did matter but something else, likely smaller held them back from being very disappointed. It’s much easier to then deal with that small stumbling block and convert them rather than trying to find the major value they’re missing. That’s why we’re breaking down the feedback in this way.
And therefore when answering question four, how can we improve RealtimeCRM? We seek to identify a common theme in some feature or thing that was missing or underdeveloped for this segment of somewhat disappointed users who share their main value with the very disappointed group. This provides us a roadmap for future development and hopefully move them from the somewhat disappointed to the very disappointed group.
This is critical because we’re not soothsayers, let your users tell you what they want and the somewhat disappointed group for whom in this case the main value of a clean interface resonates are our most likely customers to provide future growth.
So whose feedback matters? Those who are your paying customers and those who could be and like your product but something is holding them back. Find those people, talk to them often and listen to them!
You want to have 40% of your respondents in the very disappointed group otherwise you don’t have product fit, and something(s) is not quite right with what you’re offering.
Who are your customers?
Building personas of potential customers is very difficult. Question two helps answer it by not addressing it directly and your focus should be on how the group who would be very disappointed answers this question.
People become self conscious when describing themselves but by asking it in this indirect manner you’ll get them to describe themselves anyway, as since they’re in the very disappointed group they’re obviously someone who would benefit from RealtimeCRM, try to pull out the language they use to help you craft a message that will resonate with them and others like them in your marketing copy.
A couple of final notes
People don’t like filling in surveys but don’t be tempted to offer incentives, it’ll just skew your results.
The purpose of feedback is to help you identify who your customers are, what is valuable to them in what you’re offering and what they want to guide your future development. Never lose sight of that focus or you’ll go on a wild goose chase producing something that no one wants which is not as good as producing something some people really want. There’s a viable business in the latter not in the former.
Lastly, we’d recommend this great talk from Rahul Vohra (Founder/CEO, Superhuman) on how to construct The Product-Market Fit Engine from Business of Software Conference. There’s a great Q&A session which goes into more specifics such as when to send the survey out: