While not limited to this, It is very common that feedback that customers provide will come in the form of functionality improvements.
However, feedback can be given in many forms. It can be shared directly via email, can be channeled through customer success, via an in-app prompt, or can come directly from customers from 1:1 discussions.
Here are some important things to keep in mind when receiving feature requests from customers
Your target customers are those customers who you built your product for. They are the ones who feel the problem you are working on solving and actively looking for a solution.
Products should not be built to serve everyone.
It’s impossible to build a product that will keep every single customer happy. As a product manager segment your market to understand who your target customers are and from there ensure that you are building products that meet their specific needs.
For example, if you built a product to serve the needs of entrepreneurs who own small businesses and they make up the majority of your customer base, if you happen to have some enterprise customers their requests won’t always be prioritized. This is because your enterprise customers are not your target customers.
Your customers will ask you for many things, especially if they love your product and want to continue using it to assist them in reaching their goals.
When customers provide feedback, especially around feature ideas, make it a point to do some further analysis and understand why they are making their request.
Why is about understanding the reason that something will be useful to your stakeholders.
Why is about understanding whether there is value to the rest of your customer base and your business.
Rather than taking a customer’s feature request and acting upon it, understand the underlying reason why the request is being made by them in the first place. What problem will having said feature solve for their team?
Try the Five Whys technique to get to the underlying cause of their problem.
There’s a famous quote that’s attributed to Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, where he says “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Steve Jobs is also quoted as saying “it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
What does this mean?
Customers know the problems that they face, however, they generally do not know the right solution to solve the problem.
A customer may ask for a specific feature in hopes that it will solve their problem when in fact there may be a better way to do so. Likewise, a customer may ask for a feature that solves their specific problem, however, a product manager also needs to keep their other customers in mind as well.
Will you spend your company’s resources solving one specific problem for one specific customer, or solving a problem that the majority of your target customers face?
Obviously the latter generally makes more business sense.
Make it a point to deeply understand the problem your customers are facing, and from there you can work with your team to define the right solution that will not only solve the problem for your customers, but will delight them as well.
Make your life easier. Have a central repository where you document all of your customer feedback.
That is why a tool like airfocus insights comes in handy.
With airfocus Insights you can:
Keep all product feedback organized
Connect insights to product discovery and strategy
Keep your team and customers up to date and close the feedback loop
Check out this article to learn more about this modular tool.
When customers request new features or changes to your product do not forget to record them.
Do not simply record the name and request from your customer, there is additional important information that you should collect as well.
These include the following:
It is beneficial to have this in case you need to follow up in the future for additional discovery, usability tests, or to enlist beta testers.
Do not record the one customer that made the request, but record the others as well. Prior to adding a new piece of feedback in your repository make it a point to search the entire repository to see if the request was made prior and then add additional customer names to the piece of feedback.
Total ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue)
ARR is the amount of revenue that the customer contributes to your company on an annual basis.
Collecting this information will help you segment the feedback received from your customers. Segmentation can give you great insight as to how your company and product is growing in terms of target audience, as well insight into how to develop product-led growth strategies.
Check out the Introduction to Product-Led Growth and the Role Product Managers Play to learn more about this topic.
Is the customer that made the request a target customer or not?
Which module of your product are they making the request for?
Opportunity for additional revenue
Is there an opportunity to earn additional revenue for this request? Meaning, is the customer that made the request, and potentially other customers, willing to pay for it?
This is important to capture to determine further growth opportunities for the product.
It’s important to collect these additional pieces of information so that product managers can make more informed decisions.
If customer feedback for new requests is being channeled via your customer success team, sales, or marketing team (any internal stakeholder) then they should also obtain and document this information as they receive each request. This helps them understand the level of information needed by the product management team to make informed decisions.
Verify that the feedback meets the needs of your customers before acting on it
Strive to understand the reason behind the request
Do not simply provide your customers with what they ask for
Document your customer feedback in a central location