Guest Post

5 Ways to Use Customer Feedback for Product Innovation

Feb 1, 2024

10 mins read

Manisha Khandelwal

Ever wondered which businesses need feedback to make their products better? 

– Well, all of them.

Trustpilot says 9 out of 10 people read reviews before buying something, and 66% trust a brand more if they see good online reviews. So, it’s super important to listen to the voice of the customer.

When customers give direct and honest feedback, it helps a lot in making products better. But the real magic happens when we turn this product feedback into practical steps for innovation.

This article shares five easy ways to do just that.

How Customer Feedback Helps in Product Innovation

Customer feedback means everything customers share after using a product or service. 

The direct link between customer feedback and driving product innovation lies in how feedback uncovers gaps and opportunities for product improvement, ultimately helping grow your business

Here’s how it works:

  • Identifying Customer Needs: Product feedback shows what customers want and need from a product.
  • Prioritizing Features: Helps decide which product features matter most to users.
  • User-Centric Design: Guides designs based on what users like and find easy to use.
  • Gives Competitive Edge: Adapting products based on feedback keeps a company ahead in the market.
  • Building Customer Loyalty: Listening to customers builds trust and loyalty, making them more likely to stick with a brand.

This way, new product features focus on fixing real customer issues, not just coming up with ideas that might not be useful.

But to make this work, we need to collect feedback in the right way. Let’s see how we can do that.

Tips on Effectively Collecting Customer Feedback

What defines effective customer feedback? 

It’s the high-quality insights directly from end-users and customers that drive valuable improvements to your product.

Read on for five tips to help you gather such feedback effectively.

1. Select Targeted Feedback Collection Methods

Opt for practical feedback collection methods that best suit your business, considering your audience, timing, and context. Consider the differences between each collection method, for example: 

Post-purchase surveys capture immediate reactions and pinpoint specific issues. At the same time, ongoing online reviews can reflect a longer-term perspective on evolving perceptions.

This image shows the open-ended survey question. How satisfied are you with your recent purchase?

  • Structured surveys collect quantitative data for easy analysis and comparison, while open-ended reviews uncover deeper qualitative insights and understand motivations.
  • Support conversations uncover pain points, while focus groups better evaluate new concepts.
  • In-app feedback tool enables you to collect real-time user input, social media monitoring tracks customer sentiment and identifies emerging trends, and user testing evaluates usability.

Or simply use a customer feedback tool like SurveySensum that comes along with a CX consultant who can help you identify the right feedback collection method for your business.
Get Started with SurveySensum

2. Provide Convenient Channels to Share Feedback

Offering accessible channels for feedback encourages more involvement from customers. For instance, consider integrating automated customer support tools like chatbots

Leveraging customer conversations from chatbots enables benefits like:

  • 24/7 engagement, facilitating spontaneous and genuine feedback from customers.
  • Management of higher feedback volumes compared to relying solely on human staff.
  • Meeting customers on platforms they use daily (e.g., website chat, social platforms), reducing barriers that hinder response rates.
  • Automated routing of feedback inputs to analysis tools, streamlining the process without manual compilation of survey responses or scattered messages.

Moreover, the 2023 State of Digital Customer Experience Report highlights the need for businesses to focus on an integrated omnichannel approach, as 46% of customers prefer digital channels for contacting companies. Creating a multi-channel feedback system promotes wider customer engagement and richer insights.

For instance,

  • Website feedback buttons offer immediate, contextual feedback opportunities.
  • Social media engagement tracks sentiment and identifies trends through brand mentions and direct messages.
  • Post-purchase surveys capture fresh reactions and pinpoint specific issues.
  • Email feedback forms reach a wider audience conveniently.
  • Mobile app feedback loops gather real-time insights into user experience.
  • In-product feedback widgets provide seamless feedback channels within the product itself.

Providing easy access to share feedback across multiple channels allows businesses to collect actionable insights from customers.

3. Ask the Right Questions

Asking the right questions in a feedback survey — and posing them at the optimal times — is key to getting impactful insights. 

Consider these tips:

  • Opt for specific and direct questions. For instance, replace “How was your experience?” with “How satisfied are you with the overall checkout process?”

This image shows a survey question designed for a Checkout Experience Survey on the SurveySensum platform

  • Use ratings/scores alongside open-ended questions. Ratings provide hard performance data to detect areas working well or needing improvement, while open-ended questions encourage detailed responses and provide deeper insights. 
  • Gather feedback immediately after key interactions when the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind, such as after a purchase, customer service interaction, or using a particular feature.

This will help you get the type of relevant feedback that you want!

→ Learn more about the Best Time to Send a Survey

Gather Customer Feedback with Surveys

4. Foster Collaboration Between Customer-Facing Teams

Encourage collaborative brainstorming sessions using project management tools involving customer service, 3d product configuration product development, and marketing teams to generate ideas rooted in customer feedback.

For instance, at the software company Asana, customer-facing teams gather insights from diverse sources like social media, calls, support tickets, and surveys across user touchpoints. Each team compiles a top 10 list of priorities based on the feedback collected from customer interactions. Asana then condenses this list into updates and fixes based on suggestions from end users.

By consolidating these insights across teams, Asana was able to implement highly requested features, helping increase customer satisfaction. 

As such, fostering collaboration across teams ensures a unified understanding of customer needs for more aligned product development.

5. Implement a Customer Feedback Loop

Everything to Know About the Closed-Loop Feedback

To champion your customers through every step of the customer journey, create a process to gather, share, and act on feedback. In this case, using the A.C.A.F. (ask, categorize, act, follow up) loop helps. This cycle collects opinions, closes feedback loops, and uses insights to shape the overall strategy. 

Now that you understand how to collect feedback, let’s explore how this information can drive meaningful changes and innovation in your product.

5 Ways to Drive Product Innovation with Customer Feedback

As mentioned earlier, gathering customer feedback aims to uncover the gaps between the desired customer experience and what the product currently delivers. 

These gaps reveal new feature ideas or subtle friction points

1. Leverage Surveys, Reviews, and Focus Groups to Get Direct Feature Suggestions

Use diverse feedback channels like surveys (e.g., in-app micro surveys), reviews, or insights from the customer community into product development operations to gather direct feature suggestions. 

For example, Lego provides a platform for customers to submit ideas and crowdsource the best ones.

Screenshot of Lego website’s homepage

If Lego’s approach sounds like a big challenge to tackle, you can begin by directly asking loyal customers through a targeted survey or a responsive email template about new capabilities or improvements.

Besides, product teams can analyze feedback data by monitoring clicks and engagement metrics. It’s easy to achieve thanks to advanced link tracking tools, such as those designed for affiliate link tracking.

Gather real-time feedback with SurveySensum

2. Mine Customer Complaints and Questions to Uncover Problems

Negative feedback, although not always welcomed, holds valuable insights for product innovation and feature requests. And common issues often highlight opportunities for problem-solving innovations, whether they involve minor fixes or major redesigns. So,

  • Look beyond complaint volume and focus on specific categories. For instance, if users frequently report long load times and lag in a video editing app, it indicates a significant area for improvement.
  • Analyze customers’ exact words to spot complaint trends. SurveySensum’s AI text analysis tool does this automatically by examining thousands of comments. It turns unprocessed feedback into clear trends and sentiments in real-time.

Gif of Text and sentiment analysis

Eliminate manual efforts and coding with Text Analytics

  • Use support tickets and bug reports to inform feature requests.These provide context for developers and product managers to identify issues, understand user needs, and create targeted solutions.

3. Go for User Experience Tests and Analytics for Performance Improvement

Engaging in user experience tests and leveraging analytics is a crucial approach for enhancing the performance of a product. By conducting user experience tests, businesses can gain valuable insights into how users interact with their products, identifying areas for improvement and refining the overall user journey.

This image shows ux process diagram of user experience

Use methods like prototype development, A/B testing, and usability testing to detect poorly performing components. 

For instance, Hussle, a gym membership provider, analyzed customer recordings after introducing the “Personalized Pass Builder” feature. This analysis helped them identify issues, form hypotheses, and highlight iterative improvements.

4. Use In-App Product Feedback to Test New Features

Implementing in-app product feedback is a valuable strategy for businesses to test and refine new features. By integrating user-friendly feedback mechanisms within the app, companies can prompt users to share their opinions and experiences with recently released features. This direct line of communication provides insights into user preferences, allowing businesses to identify what works well and what may need improvement.

For instance, Figma, a UI design tool, tests new features in open, limited, and closed betas. They invite specific users through in-app messages to test and provide feedback. Moreover, you can easily create a Figma prototype and send it to stakeholders for quick reviews and comments. This approach not only gathers development insights but also encourages user engagement and involvement in product evolution.

This image shows users participating in beta testing by allowing them to toggle beta features on or off.

Start gathering in-app feedback with SurveySensum.

5. Reach Out to Lost or Inactive Customers

To reconnect with lost or inactive customers, segment your customer base and send personalized messages acknowledging their history with your business. Offer exclusive incentives to entice them back and use various communication channels. By combining personalization and incentives, you increase the chances of re-engagement and renewed loyalty.

In more prosaic words, reach out to unhappy customers who canceled subscriptions or stopped using your product. Understanding why they left provides crucial, honest feedback on areas needing improvement.

You can also send personalized email surveys using email template creators, asking open-ended questions about their account cancellations:

→ Here’s a use of understanding Why Customer Leave with Drop-Off Surveys and how this NBFC increased its conversion by 5% in just 6 months!!

Some General Pointers to Keep in Mind

  • Prioritize actionable feedback.Focus on specific suggestions for improvement
  • Use an idea-scoring model.Tag each insight by potential innovation type, ranking them by feasibility and value.
  • Always acknowledge customer concerns.Build trust, foster customer loyalty, and demonstrate responsiveness.
  • Communicate improvements.Show how customer feedback contributes to product enhancements, highlighting the value of their insights.

Remember, understanding customer feedback involves more than just collecting opinions. It’s about identifying gaps between customer expectations and current product offerings. These gaps serve as crucial points for innovation, whether in direct feature suggestions or hidden within friction points.

Manisha Khandelwal

Senior Content Marketer at SurveySensum

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