You’re not the best unless your customers say so
I meet a lot of people who think they have an amazing product that’s going to change the world, but unfortunately, a lot of them are wrong.
Because they become so obsessed with their product that they don’t take the time to acknowledge how people are using and reacting to it. The key to a successful business is an outstanding customer experience and it’s more important than ever.
You don’t provide this experience by putting words such as “leader”, “the best” and “world-class” on your website or in your marketing copy. You do it by truly having a customer experience that people want to shout from the roof tops about. You do it by actually delighting your customers, one at a time, every single day. In today’s world of social media, you’ll even know it when they are delighted and when they are disappointed with you.
Ultimately, this kind of word of mouth is more persuasive than any form of advertising or marketing. So, how do you do it?
It’s about engaging with customers: You need to continually engage customers and make improvements based on their feedback. Not just what they say to do but building things that they actually need that align with your vision. This kind of conscious and interactive approach means you’re building a product–and a brand–that people feel engaged with on a much deeper level.
It doesn’t matter what stage you are at with your business or what type of product or service you are providing. You won’t delight customers without getting the critical feedback you need to make your customer experience better.
Below are some common scenarios and tactics that you can use to get the feedback you need and make improvements.
Just starting out with your idea?
Do customer development before writing any code. Find out what problems people have before you try to build anything. It’s likely that you’ll be surprised at how wrong you are about what people actually need. My ex-colleague from KISSmetrics, Cindy Alvarez recently published a book on customer development which I consider a must read.
Got an existing product and want to make what you have better?
Do usabiltiy testing to figure out what frustrates people about your current product experience. The folks at UserTesting.com built a free usability testing tool called Peek you can start using right now. Also, your customer support requests are a gold mine. Figure out what the most common support requests are that you can prevent by making improvements to your product.
Trying to add a feature to an existing product?
We’ve all seen them, from the feature matrix, ice boxes to stack ranked feature lists. Instead of wasting time building more things pick one of those features then add a button, link or even tab within your existing product that goes to an open-ended survey that just asks “What would you like to see here?” when someone clicks on it. Use this method to learn what people need before you build anything. You might even learn that nobody cares about that feature your team is so excited about. You’ll have saved yourself the time and cost of building a feature nobody wants.
Companies fail because they waste time building things people don’t want and never find a way to create things that actually delight people. Customer feedback is what’ll help you figure out what to do next no matter what scenario you are currently in. It’s what you do with the feedback and how well you execute on making improvements for customers that’ll determine how they feel about your business.