Why constant customer feedback is crucial for a successful product
Updated: Mar 28
Customer feedback has long been recognized as crucial for helping companies to improve their products and services, and brush up their customer satisfaction ratings. Every successful business tries to design a value product or a service that meets customer needs, but that’s very difficult if you’re not sure exactly what they are.
Time and again, brands have gone very wrong when they tried to shortcut examining constant customer feedback. For example, Atari released the E.T. computer game that tried to spin off from the movie. They rushed it out within 5 weeks without any customer consultation, and the result was a game that sold only 1.5 million copies, leaving 3.5 million to be buried in a landfill. The infamous New Coke failure also occurred because of product development processes that didn’t pay enough attention to consumer feedback and customer experience.
Traditionally, companies gathered opinions about their products and services’ value through customer surveys, feedback forums, and focus group meetings, but those methods are slow, cumbersome, and can incorporate bias. Today's customers respond to new releases, versions, products, and services or even marketing campaigns at the speed of light, so a new product can flop on social platforms before the first customer feedback survey even hits an inbox. Consumers also have a lot less patience in our instant-reply culture. They expect that if they raise an issue about a company or a product, it will be acknowledged, addressed, and resolved immediately. They don’t expect to have to wait six months for the focus group findings to appear.
As a result, collecting customer feedback in 2021 needs to be swift, constant, and integrated, to ensure your product or service is successful. In order to improve customer satisfaction, the benefits of customer feedback must be evaluated and considered.
Here are the benefits of gathering constant customer feedback for successful products:
Support CI/CD product design
It’s typical for game companies to release a new update every week, and the pressure to get it right every time is high. Gamers have strong opinions about characters, levels, and strategy, and they won’t hesitate to express them. Based on their general experience, they’ll be quick to share their thoughts on social media posts or through customer service messages. They may discuss how a new character is too powerful, or that it is too easy to complete a level, or complain about a token that is too hard to find or that a certain level is too tough to win.
When product development teams get feedback about the previous week’s level release, it helps improve their decisions for the next one. Gathering real-time constant customer feedback through posts means that developers hear it while they’re still working on the next release, enabling them to incorporate consumer comments immediately and make sure they’re keeping players happy.
Troubleshoot small issues before they torpedo the entire product
The best way to deal with a crisis is to stop one from developing. It’s not like you can prevent things from ever going wrong, but stepping in quickly to deal with small issues stops them from snowballing into a disaster.
For instance, imagine a bank releasing a new personal app feature. The UI turns out to be confusing so that customers can’t work out how to use it, so they open tickets with the customer support agents. The bank’s customer service is outsourced to agents scattered around the world who can’t see that other agents also have tickets open on the same topic, so it takes a while before anyone realizes that there’s a flood of complaints about the new UI.
By the time someone notices and response, the problem has already been going on for days. Engineers work quickly to fix the issue within 24 hours, but it’s too late; the bank has lots of negative customer satisfaction reviews, and now has a reputation for offering poor value for digital banking.
Ensuring that all customer service tickets are coordinated and interpreted in a central system enables a company to send a unified message even if your agents are widely dispersed.
Similar issues could take place with any product or service. Without constant customer feedback, you might see people avoiding your feature or simply leaving your website, but you won’t know why. It could take days to discover there’s anything wrong, and weeks to send out feedback forms to find out why, while you lose existing customers to your competitors.
Instead, track real-time responses to changes, features, and tweaks based on your customers’ actual experience, opinion and feedback. You can find out that there’s a problem and discover what’s causing it within a few hours; send out messaging about it to reassure customers immediately; and enable your product managers and teams to find solutions and resolve the entire thing within a few days, with no long-term harm to your reputation, brand’s value or your customer base.
Hear the problems they aren’t telling you
Both digitally native vertical brands (DNVB) and legacy retailers that add an online presence to their offline stores need to track audience reaction to changes they make to their digital products, such as collections and payment methods and including cart and checkout processes.
These aren’t always easy to spot. Bear in mind that a person commenting won’t always tag you on social media posts, and complaints and conversations don’t always take place on your community internet forum. Additionally, it’s not always easy to quantify what’s motivating a customer’s change in attitude towards your brand, even when you have the customer feedback data. Brick and mortar retailers may be used to gathering customer satisfaction ratings in-store, but now that they need to tap into the huge volume of online conversation, they need different tools.
For example, what if an online retail outlet changes the payment methods it offers, and a bug doesn’t allow payment to go through? Consumers tend to complain on social media first, to see if it’s just their credit card or account that’s causing hassle before they open a customer support ticket.
Posts like “I couldn’t pay at X store today, anyone else has the same problem?” might not tag you, which means a standard social platforms monitoring solution won’t pick up on it. But when you see customer reactions immediately on the open web, and you learn that those clients are not satisfied, your product manager can fix the issues faster. For the best customer experience, the process of tracking clients’ complaints is the first step for recovery.
Get it right the first time
The best way for a business to keep customer satisfaction high is to launch features, products, versions, updates, etc. that are exactly what your customers are looking for before they tell you so. That’s far from easy; your product development team needs a deep understanding of customer features’ expectations in order to find answers, process, and produce the right item at the right time.
The hardest part for many businesses to accept is that customer wants don't stand still and are always developing in new directions. To keep on top of them, you need to track not just brand, features, or product conversations, but those related to your niche, vertical, industry, and more. You need to understand customer expectations, preferences, and aversions in real-time, by gathering and deeply mining customer feedback on all review sites, communities, the company’s website, and online forums.
Real-time customer feedback is the gift that keeps on giving
There’s almost no end to the benefits of gathering customer feedback in real-time from all your channels. It feeds into your product's future development process, helps improve your customer support, avoids PR disasters, and arms you with insights into customer requirements so you can keep customer satisfaction and loyalty levels high. As a result, your company will earn more money once all of those benefits are realized.
How Affogata can help
Affogata’s AI-powered engine gathers millions of data points from across the open web, including app stores, community forums, review sites, social outlets, and more. It picks up on every conversation and opinion by customers and clients that relate to your brand, product, or niche, even when you’re not tagged and even when they take place on non-owned channels (Imagine online surveys of customers taking place all the time and how the AI collects and analyzes them constantly).
Affogata offers a fully objective analysis and helpful information that draws on millions of data points, making the conclusions less biased and more trustworthy than a small, selected focus group that might not be truly representative of your customer base. With this wealth of data and Affogata’s expertise, you can understand the customers’ voices, opinions, and experiences through each step of the customer’s journey. Their feedback is your roadmap for improving the customer experience.
Once you gather the customers' conversations, you can use filters to search the platform for sub-topics, such as “everyone talking about my company + our new version,” to see specific sentiment about new releases and track how product changes affect your audience’s experience. Setting keywords like “payment failed” provides you with alerts as soon as this issue pops up in brand mentions, helping you discover problems or bugs immediately. Such data turns to immediate action items for your product managers to process.
You can also use Affogata to search your competitors’ public information and find out what is working - or lacking - in your competitor’s offering. That will add to your understanding of customer needs, help you see the full picture, and communicate action items for your teams. Eventually, it will lead you to make better business decisions.
Additionally, Affogata contains business intelligence tools that convert the mass of big customer feedback into actionable insights, so you can identify customer wants, track changes in the customer experience, and uncover the why behind changes in customer sentiment.