Now that you have a product in market (and it is in use) you may find yourself at a critical juncture—continued evolution of your product based on proof of product-market fit.
If you’ve followed the guidance we’ve laid out over the course of our roadmap approach, you’ll have created a grounded Product Roadmap and built a Customer Success team. Through these functions, you should have a good handle on what needs work, what customers might struggle with and additional functionality they might desire as you continue to evolve the product or adjacent offerings.
If not, don’t worry. We’ll break it down in a handful of easy steps.
First off, one quick caveat. There are a number of different variations on the saying that it’s easier to react than build. Steve Jobs is credited with a version of this, loosely interpreted as “customers don’t know what they want until they have something to react to.” Your challenge is to interpret asks and desires strategically, understanding the need to haves, the nice to haves and everything else. By looking at it through a critical lens, you’ll be sure to align the asks to the reality of your product roadmap and themes in a way that can be clearly defined and acted on. You are the strategist and you build the vision. The customer provides feedback to make it better.
So with that aside, a few callouts on how to incorporate feedback:
Leverage your Net Promoter Scores by category
All too often, we see people look only at the Promoter NPS scores, sacrificing the Neutrals and Detractors and any quantitative input they might have. While your Promoters can give you great insight into a product-market fit (an amazing article on that can be found here), it’s important to also understand what you might be missing or can do better as a way of rounding out the product offering. This works best when you review and prioritize their feedback by the three different NPS groupings to truly understand what does and doesn’t work.
Interpret Your NPS and Product FEEDBACK
Remember, NPS is not static. Nor is product feedback. One way to manage this is to think about feedback by cohort. Your first customers are going to have longer tenure with your product and be able to provide feedback on features and functionality in different ways than a customer that signed up two months ago. By understanding where the customer is along their journey, you’ll be able to isolate their needs and incorporate additional needs or functionality reflective of those stages.
Understand Functional or Technical Demands
Look to your support team’s trouble ticket queue to understand functional or technical demands that might be creating constraints. For example, you may have an enterprise SaaS offering that is being used extensively in the field on mobile devices. What types of trouble tickets are you capturing, and what does that mean for further development? While not as active as an NPS scoring system, this constant feedback will reveal trends and additional functionality requests that not only allow for optimization of an existing platform but could very well identify new market entry opportunities with slight technical tweaks.
Be the Air Traffic Controller
It can be daunting taking in feedback, especially on something you are so close to. If a customer reacts negatively to the product, make sure you receive the feedback in a neutral space so that you can react and respond appropriately. Sometimes this can mean total overhauls to major portions of the product. Other times, it may simply be that you have the wrong customer and they are not going to understand or provide valuable feedback on the product. The challenge you face is the ability to view feedback through that neutral lens so that you can understand how it fits into the overall landscape of what you are building, and how you prioritize that feedback. Don’t take on everything, but don’t outright reject everything either. Identify, prioritize, sequence… just like a good air traffic controller. That keeps everything moving and ensures that the proper functionality is incorporated to accomplish what you need.
Keep in mind that while the feedback is most relevant to your product, any changes you make to the roadmap will have ripple effects on other areas of your business. Staying tightly in sync with marketing, sales and finance will ensure that any functional or technical changes can be scoped, priced and articulated in a way that moves the business forward in a proper, structured fashion. If you are unsure of the key steps in doing that, please reach out or revisit the development stage of the roadmap for more insight.