Understanding Users: Customer Insights in Focus
- Customer insights matter. Understanding your audience’s needs is vital for creating resonant software products.
- Balance data types. Mixing quantitative and qualitative data is key to developing effective product strategies.
- Continuous improvement. Ongoing customer feedback is essential for refining and enhancing software products.
In today’s competitive software landscape, it’s crucial to create products that fully resonate with your target audience. Every product you create should be built with your customer top of mind. After all, customer insights are human insights.
We live in an era where it’s difficult to go a single day without hearing about automation and AI. But ultimately, human beings are the ones using your products — they are your customers. That’s why listening to your customer’s feedback and using their insights to inform your products is so important.
Without your customers, your products wouldn’t have a purpose. When you pay attention to the features your customers want and need, you can improve the UX of your products, build customer loyalty and create products your customers will recommend to others.
It’s important to gather customer insights and feedback and use them to shape each step of your product strategy. Let’s dive into why incorporating customer insights is important and how you can apply them to building products people genuinely love to use.
Balance Qualitative and Quantitative Data
Quantitative data tells you what and qualitative data tells you why. It’s important to collect and analyze both kinds of data when developing your product strategy.
Quantitative data can include the number of support tickets, site drop-offs, and web analytics, while qualitative data includes things like customer interviews, focus groups, support ticket content and social media comments. People like numbers because they feel logical, and quantitative data is a familiar tool for growth and sales. When considering product changes, though, it’s important not to rely too heavily on the numbers.
Teams evaluating product strategy can balance the numerical data by including qualitative data in their analysis. Qualitative data is the human voice of your customer, and it’s your opportunity to understand what they do and don’t like about your product in their own words. Most importantly, those words can help you understand why they feel the way they do. This knowledge not only informs the most effective possible strategy, it also unlocks upstream solutions that the numbers alone may miss.
Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all set of metrics to look out for. Every company’s goals are different. Choose to monitor the insights and metrics that align best with the goals of your product and company as a whole. Be sure to keep an open feedback loop and continuously collect both qualitative and quantitative data during your product development stage and throughout the product’s lifetime.
Related Article: Customer Insights Can Seriously Elevate Your B2B Game
Start With What You Already Have
If you’re not sure where to begin with collecting and analyzing customer insights, start by looking at the systems you already have set up.
Support tickets are a great example of this. What issues are your customers repeatedly running into when they submit a support ticket? Looking more deeply at your support tickets can reveal a lot about what is and isn’t working with your product and how that impacts your customers. Usage metrics are another example. If your metrics tell you there’s low usage or a drop-off in usage at a certain point, can your support tickets help you understand why?
Apply customer insights everywhere within your product. They can tell you that something is super healthy and you don’t need to make any changes, or they can uncover problems that need to be solved.
For example, at Slack, we were getting a lot of support tickets from users about mobile notifications. This was a problem for our customer experience team because they were getting overwhelmed by these tickets and debugging the mobile notifications was quite complicated.
Meanwhile, it was a problem for our product team because the signal from our customers was clouded with noise that made it difficult to decide what to work on next. We altered the mobile notifications diagnostics tool and added instructions on actions users could take on their own to adjust their mobile notifications. By doing this, we reduced the number of support tickets by 79% and cleared the way for a strong signal on what we needed to work on next.
When in doubt about how to start incorporating customer insights, remember that oftentimes, answers lie in the metrics you already have.
Related Article: What Is Customer Analytics? And Why It Matters
Show Customers Their Feedback Matters
If you’re going to pilot or beta test a product, you need to be committed to actively listening to what users say. Customers are taking time out of their busy days to engage with your product and provide feedback, so be sure their work is honored and their voices are heard.
In order to encourage customers to share their feedback, it’s important to show them that their opinions matter and that they can make a direct impact on products in a positive way.
An educated and engaged support team can really make customers feel valued in this way. When a customer reaches out to request a change or offer feedback, support team staff can reply with follow-up questions to get to the root of why the user wants to see this change.
At Slack, we have a process that whenever a user reports a bug, they automatically get a notification when that bug is resolved. We also incorporate the feedback we heard into our product release note by highlighting the changes and enhancements that we made to our products that were based on customer feedback.
Continue Listening to Build Better Products
Incorporating customer insights and feedback into your product strategy is an ongoing process. It’s important to keep the lines of feedback open so you can actively listen to your users and make adjustments before, during and after your product launches.
When you prioritize listening to your customers, you can create a successful product strategy and build memorable, user-friendly products that your customers love.
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