Engaging customers from the beginning to the end of the product development cycle is critical for the acceptance of products, both with current and future clients. Not engaging customers results in a “failure-to-launch” scenario, which benefits nobody.
It’s September, 2015 however and customer-focused companies are fortunate because many feedback tools exist that can be leveraged to relay product design, functionality, and other ideas to clients and to provide a method for feedback. In fact, more communication channels are available now than ever before! Modern tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Forums, Facebook, YouTube, eCommerce and others can be used to promote lots of feedback at very reasonable costs. Think back only a few years ago when none of these methods existed and how much effort, cost, and time was required to understand your customer’s needs via the limited person-to-person, phone, or postal system options available.
As an example of how to increase feedback, one tool mentioned above, “Forums,” can be setup in an afternoon. When completed, messages, images, even audio & video recordings can provide valuable product input. The ideas can typically be categorized & prioritized, and follow up questions or other information can be provided back to the customer. Used properly, a Feedback Forum can ensure a company’s products are on target, resulting in happier customers and higher sales.
In fact, consider that we are in a “Golden Age” of feedback, where customers can provide it, both positive and negative, instantly for any company or product. Companies should leverage and control this ability and use it as a “Best Practice” to drive their product development because when a client is heard, it results in better customer satisfaction and higher retention: Outcomes all companies hope to achieve.