For Tracking Customer Feedback, Product Roadmaps are Key

Actually recording and consolidating customer feedback can be tricky, but thankfully, there are some technological solutions that can help you.

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Inspiration comes in many forms. You may be walking the dog one morning and be thunderstruck with a great idea for a new product or an improvement to an existing one. It may come out of the blue, sending you scurrying to your Notes app to record the idea before it evaporates.

More often, though, product inspiration comes from customer feedback. As real consumers use your product (whether a prototype, beta, or final version), they will undoubtedly develop ways to enhance or improve it. Listening to this feedback is utterly imperative. Not only will it help you refine your product offerings, but it also helps you foster customer loyalty.

Actually recording and consolidating customer feedback can be tricky, but thankfully, there are some technological solutions that can help you. Enter the world of product roadmap software.

How Does a Product Roadmap Offer Customer Insight?

Product roadmap tools can help you assess the customer experience in several different ways, gleaning actionable insights that can play a pivotal role in ongoing product development. Specifically, product roadmap technology can provide quantitative and qualitative data points, all based on the action and feedback from your customers.

Quantitative Data

First, consider the quantitative data that product roadmap software can generate.

Virtually every customer will care deeply about your product's price point and operating cost. If the product is too expensive, people won't buy it. And when that happens, you'll have little recourse but to lower your price point considerably.

Product roadmap software allows you to keep tabs on production and material costs, even while your product is in the development phase. This provides you with meaningful data you can use to set an initial price point and consider whether you need to make significant changes to your production methods in order to keep consumer costs competitive. (Or, to add some new features that will help justify a heftier price tag.)

Qualitative Data

A product roadmap can also be useful for conducting qualitative research.

In fact, a good product roadmap will provide you with insights into how to enhance your product and improve your customer experience, before your customer even knows what to ask for. Most customers will have an innate sense of what they like about a product, as well as what frustrates them. However, they don't always know how to put that feedback into words.

When you ask customers some open-ended questions about their experience with a product, though, it often prompts them to provide detailed feedback. And that feedback can be invaluable to your understanding of how to make your product better.

Here's an example. Say you work for a company that manufactures computer printers. You send out a survey or host a focus group wherein customers say that they are frustrated by how much it costs to replace the ink. They ask for your company to lower the cost of replacement ink cartridges.

Maybe this is feasible and maybe it isn't. It's possible that you're already offering ink at a pretty thin margin, making a price drop difficult. However, you may also assess the customer feedback and realize that there is a deeper issue at the root of their ink cost complaint. For instance, you may realize that the real issue is how often customers have to replace the ink, which makes the cost seem more burdensome.

By engineering a printer that uses ink a little more efficiently, you can address the core problem, enhance the customer experience, and establish a competitive edge. More than that, by demonstrating an aptitude for meaningfully resolving customer complaints, you can also build goodwill and brand loyalty.

Product Roadmap Software Fosters Creative Thinking

This computer printer example is fairly simplistic, but it underscores a more important point: Product roadmap software provides you with a wealth of quantitative and qualitative data that you can use as a springboard for creative thinking, devising out-of-the-box solutions to refine your product lineup.

During the product development process, creativity needs to be focused in the right direction, harnessed for addressing real consumer needs and pain points. As such, it's important to have a catalog of what the most prominent issues actually are. Product roadmap software provides you with exactly that, allowing you to ensure that your team's creative thinking remains customer-centered and solutions-oriented.

Simply put, a product roadmap allows you to document the consumer experience and share what you learn with all team members. As such, customer feedback can be integrated into UX, packaging, marketing, pricing, and beyond. If your team is rigorous in using that feedback well, it can result in a fine-tuned product that earns rave reviews immediately upon launch.

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