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How to create a continuous feedback loop for better products (and happy customers)
Is it possible to capture continuous customer feedback remotely? We say yes. Learn how we use continuous feedback loops to build better products customers love.
Last updated24 Aug 2022
Product design. Feature upgrades. Roadmap planning. The tasks of a product manager are endless. But it's worth all the effort if it means making your customers happy.
How do you know if your customers are satisfied? Churn and low adoption rates can signal an issue with a product. However, these don't reveal the reason behind your customers’ departure or non-usage.
Understanding your customers' needs is critical to keeping your products attractive enough to buy and use for the long haul. This is why soliciting continuous customer feedback should be on every product team’s to-do list.
Let's review what continuous feedback is and what it should look like to be effective.
What is continuous feedback?
Continuous feedback is a process for capturing insights directly from your users. It's done using various methods, including one-on-one interviews, surveys, and feedback tools like heatmaps or session recordings.
The goal is to learn what customers think of your product, why they like or dislike it, and what you can do to make their experience better. Listening to continuous feedback means actually delivering something valuable for your customers, which translates into fewer customers leaving but also attracting more customers.
Why is ongoing feedback important?
Getting feedback from customers once or twice isn't enough to build a successful product. Times change, and so do the needs of your users. Knowing what features they need in order to overcome their new and emerging challenges is key to maintaining your competitive edge.
What better way is there to achieve this than with regular customer feedback?
The one thing I would recommend all companies do, no matter their industry, is to become obsessed with their customers. By fixating on the needs, pain points, and feedback from customers, a company can only improve. The easiest way to get to know (and obsess over) your customers is to talk to them regularly. Build in a dedicated amount of time each week to make calls, meet for coffee, or dive into the support inbox. Once you have a better understanding of your customers, you'll have the ability to think like them and improve your customer experiences across the board
By implementing a continuous feedback loop, you build transparency into your end users' minds, work, and lives. Here's a look at some of the things collecting ongoing feedback will help you achieve:
Finding shortcomings in your product, such as missing features that can enhance productivity
Knowing immediately whether a new feature is a hit or miss, and why
Enhancing the user experience by rolling out better features at users’ request
Understanding what makes your customers convert into buyers
Building customer trust and satisfaction that will lead to product loyalty and advocacy
Retaining more customers because they know you're continuously iterating your products for them
Customers desire great brand experiences—and nothing achieves this better than opening a line of communication to understand their needs.
Who benefits from continuous feedback loops?
The simple answer is: everyone. Customers rely on your products to serve a need. Being able to supply ongoing feedback and then seeing it put into action makes them feel heard and appreciated.
When customers are satisfied, it grows a happy customer base. Happy customers become brand advocates who vouch for and promote your brand.
The knowledge you gain also gives you a leg-up over competitors, further adding to your bottom line and long-term success.
But you need a strategy to make the most of your continuous feedback loop.
How do you implement continuous feedback?
A continuous feedback loop works best if there's a system in place. You need people to gather and analyze feedback and a process for prioritizing the needs of customers.
Here are some tips to get started:
Host round-robin interviews with your whole team
A customer success manager will always focus on the customer fulfilling their goals—and that's a good thing.
But when product managers are added to the interview mix, they try to uncover future needs to guide the product development.
And if a developer or designer joins those calls, too, they can see how issues can be solved on their side by understanding the customer’s journey and pain points.
This means that everyone involved brings their own perspective so that we can all focus on and discover different problems, even from the same interview.
Decide how and where you'll collect feedback
There are several ways to obtain continuous customer feedback. For example, you can use any combination of these:
On-page feedback widgets
You'll want tools for most of these to automate the process. For example, you can use a feedback widget on your website that users can click to use:
This widget invites website users to submit feedback as a satisfaction rating with optional text. They can also highlight a section of the website they're referencing.
Develop a feedback review process
Ongoing feedback never ends, so you'll need a process to review new feedback regularly. To make the process easier, create a rubric or criteria to separate out complaints, compliments, and feature requests. Categorize each one and prioritize them based on how many people say the same thing and how urgent it is.
For example, if even one person finds a major bug, it should be a top priority. And if enough people request a similar feature, it should be considered.
Once you have the feedback sorted and prioritized, it's time to discuss it with the product team.
Make customer feedback a regular part of team meetings
Include priority feedback in product team meetings to keep everyone in the loop and to determine what to add to the product roadmap.
Use this time to discuss doubts, answer questions, uncover concerns, and create a plan of action.
Continuous feedback in a remote setup
There’s no need to gather customer feedback in person, which means companies that operate remotely can implement feedback loops just as easily as businesses that have centralized locations. Most feedback can be collected digitally using various tools like heatmaps, screen recordings, feedback widgets, website or dashboard surveys, and Zoom calls.
At Hotjar, we collect feedback directly from users. We use our 'ask' feature to embed surveys on specific pages so we can learn what users think about each section. For example, we can ask questions about elements that are unique to a page.
We also have a marketing team that hosts regular customer interviews using a programmatic email campaign that invites users to schedule a 30-minute research call.
This goes out to users who meet certain criteria:
They’ve been a Hotjar user for 30–37 days
They installed the tracking code
They’ve logged in at least three times
When a customer schedules a call, Calendly notifies someone on our marketing team. This process is working around the clock behind the scenes so we can maintain a consistent flow of feedback.
We also have a product feedback survey that you can use to gather feedback via multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. You can see it in action here.
Questions to ask for continuous feedback
Customer surveys and interviews are great for capturing the thoughts of users. But what should you ask to get the best feedback to improve your product?
Here are a few ideas for feedback questions:
If our product disappeared tomorrow, would you try to find a competitor or could you live without it?
How often do you use our product?
What is your main goal for using our product?
What's preventing you from achieving this goal?
What's your greatest concern about our product?
What changed after you began using our product?
Why did you choose to use our product over others?
How do you use our product?
Have you used a similar product before?
How can we make our product better?
What do you like most about our product?
What do you like least about our product?
A continuous feedback loop is an excellent way to keep your product team on the front lines. Use it as an opportunity to improve your product and enhance the customer experience.
In addition, do some dogfooding—use your own product to see how it functions from a consumer standpoint.
With all these insights, your product team can be confident they're building a valuable product that customers will love.
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