The process of acquiring and evaluating feedback is a lot like dating. Once we decide who we’d like to get to know we transcend into the awkward limbo of when, how, and why to reach out to them.
While I can’t take the awkwardness out of your next first date, I can simplify the process of asking for feedback with advice from Des Traynor, the co-founder and Vice President of Customer Success at Intercom.
These are the tips he shared on how to target, evaluate, and execute on customer feedback.
- Customer experience begins the second your user opens your product. Start by asking users what their objectives are and tailor your processes specifically to their needs. This is how Des defines it: “When the first user experience of the product is directly in line with the goals of the customer themselves.”
- Customers will tell you exactly what you need to improve your service. All you have to do is listen. From customer 50 to customer 2000, cultivate a hyper focus on what they’re doing and how you can help them achieve that.
- The simplest way to acquire feedback is to work with customers while they’re using your product. In context feedback not only reveals holes in your service but affords you a natural environment to inquire about user experience.
- Not all feedback is equal. If you’re seeking feedback for a specific feature, ask the customers who use it and be cognizant of how long and how often they use it when you evaluate their responses.
- Lean companies start evaluating feedback before they receive it. Being aware of the reason behind your request allows you take actionable steps to improve your product. Des shares the key questions you should ask before reaching out to your customers below.
- Invite a trusted group of users to a beta only program to test new features. When reaching out, describe the intent of the feature you’re releasing, the state it’s in, and the type of feedback you’re looking for.
- Lean entrepreneurs improve their products based on actual customer usage. Avoid being jaded by how ‘you think’ users are navigating your product.
- Not all of your products will have a business value in terms of profitability. The key to customer retention is prioritizing a clear understanding of how users engage with your product to deliver and improve the services they are most excited about.
- When building new products aspire to create a scalpel, not a Swiss Army Knife. Scalpels have a single function that can be proved by a simple yes or no answer. If you can’t accomplish the first part of your goal, the other parts are irrelevant.
- Try Intercom’s product release framework the next time you update your service. Here’s a video of Des explaining it.
- “Design conversations, not transactions.” Run your customer service culture like a coffee shop, not a tech team. Trusted brands don’t have start and end points for customer relationships. When you make your highest priority knowing your users you’ll eliminate automated interactions where they’re treated as a number or a request.
- Leading customer service teams don’t ask customers questions they know the answers too. Take the necessary steps, like looking up past interactions, to treat your customers like your friends.