When you work within a company that has a few customers then hopping on phone calls with them to ask for their feedback is doable.
However, what happens when your company has hundreds of customers? Which ones should you solicit feedback from?
Make it a point to get feedback from as many of your customers as possible, even if you need to get assistance from other members of your team to accomplish this. This does not mean that you have to hop on a call with each and every single customer however.
Different feedback methods can and should be used at various times with various customers. However you should make it a point to regularly keep a pulse on customer sentiments about your product to avoid any surprises (a customer unexpectedly churning).
Collect feedback from two types of customers:
Your most engaged customers
Your least engaged customers
Your most engaged customers are the most invested in your product. They have used your product for a long time and probably know your product in and out.
Since these are your most engaged customers you want to exert as much effort as possible in keeping them engaged. Not just by continuing to offer value to them with your product(s), but also including them as part of your product development process when working on new items, and even post-launch.
Since they are the most engaged they are also beneficial for helping you understand what you may have missed as you are working on new solutions.
Collecting feedback from these customers can also give you insights as to what made them engaged, and look at strategies for converting more people. This is crucial.
It is beneficial to collect feedback from your least engaged customers to understand why they are not using your product as frequently.
These customers may not be engaged for many reasons. Maybe they no longer find value in your product, perhaps a recent price hike is leading them to consider other options, maybe some recent bugs were the last straw. There are many possible reasons, seek their feedback to understand why.
Low engagement can lead to customer churn. And all businesses want a high retention rate. It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than sell to an existing one.
Speaking with these customers will help you understand the changes that you can consider for your product to improve their experience.
While gathering feedback from customers is vital, it’s extremely important to also gather feedback from your internal team as well. Not simply because they interact with the product and you want them to be engaged, but to be frank, they may also have great ideas on how to better serve your customers.
Also, because they're in touch with your customers, they can act as a conduit for those conversations that you as a product manager aren't able to have.
These stakeholders also need to be considered in your feedback loop.
It’s beneficial for product managers to identify any changes in trends from product usage and work with their teams to understand why.
If you notice for example that user activity within a particular part of your product has dropped this month compared to a consistent amount in prior months, then perform some customer research to understand why.
In 2005 when Gibson Biddle, former VP of Product at Netflix, noticed an unexpected increase in their cancel rate, their team quickly took action to understand the underlying reason.
After formulating some hypotheses and further digging they realized that the reason was due to the fact that they did not lower their prices that spring as they had done the past four years. They were able to uncover this by keeping a pulse on their metrics and analyzing the change in their trends related to product activity.
To summarize this entire section here are the 4 key groups to obtain customer feedback from:
Your most engaged users
Your least engaged users
Your internal stakeholders
Your entire customer base (by recognizing changes in customer trends and digging further to understand why)