Customers are stakeholders who trade their cash for a solution in the hopes that it will assist them in solving their problems (accomplish specific goals).
Product managers are the ones who define and work with their teams to build and sustain the solutions that help customers accomplish their goals.
The easiest way for a product manager to know if a product is accomplishing the goal for their customers and users is by obtaining their feedback.
Here are the reasons why customer feedback is vital to product success and business growth.
Customer sentiment is the view or attitude that your customers have about your product and/or company.
You do not have to wait until you have a high churn rate because there are many customers that are displeased with your product (low customer satisfaction). You can receive advance notice of their thoughts and emotions and take quick action by simply asking your customers for feedback in advance.
Seeking customer feedback will help you uncover those who are pleased with your product and those who are not. And what should follow up next is discovery regarding why.
Your team may have spent many months working on a brand new feature. Post-launch of this feature you may have plans in your product roadmap to get started on the next feature.
How do you know that this is the best course of action to take? Is the initial feature that you launched reaching its goals? Are your customers even using this feature, and if they are, how do they feel about it?
You won’t know this valuable information unless you seek customer feedback.
Maybe after speaking to your customers you will learn that there are those who see value in the feature however many of them are not using it because the workflow is too difficult. Or some are not even aware that it exists.
Thereafter you will have to decide if you should continue executing on your product roadmap as planned or make some changes based on your customer feedback. While customer feedback is not the only factor that determines how you craft your product roadmap, it does play a role.
Product managers are problem finders.
When they receive feedback from customers they focus on deeply understanding the underlying problem that their customers are facing.
While customers may at times simply reach out with feature ideas, it’s imperative to understand the underlying reasons why they are requesting such features.
This is why product managers perform discovery and ask the right questions, to truly understand why their customers may need a requested solution.
Feedback leads to uncovering new problems which leads to new opportunities. Product managers are the ones who connect customer feedback to their product backlog to uncover potential new problems to solve.
The problem solving never stops.
After gathering a list of problems faced both by their company and their customers, product managers then work to prioritize this list of problems and generate ideas to solve them.
Ideas can be generated from using the product (dogfooding), analyzing the market, keeping an eye on competitors and more. Though not exclusively, product ideas can come directly from customers.
If you have established a good relationship with your customers (and even if you haven’t in some cases) some customers may be more than forthcoming with product ideas to improve your product.
Some customers may even reach out and share what they have seen implemented in competitor products and give you a sneak peak if they have access to it (a demo they recorded from a salesperson for example).
Rejoice if you have customers that share ideas with you, even if they are displeased with your product and have many ideas on how you can improve it.
This is additional beneficial information that you can utilize to understand how your customers feel about your product and help you determine what the next set of problems to solve are.