Why give the Customer a Voice in your Product Requirements?


1. Listening to your customers is a key element of any customer satisfaction strategy. Most of the time that involves doing surveys or analyzing the  topics customers call into the service or support organization.

2. Often customers would like to have some input to your product development, some features they would like to have or expect would be part of your offering or offerings.

3. Customers are often happy to provide their ideas about what they would like improved and would like to hear back whether or not their idea was accepted or if it will be part of an upcoming product or service.

4. Customer focused product development  helps enhance customer loyalty and retention (How can you defect from a product that is responding to your specifications and input?)

I recently came across a piece of software called FeatureSet which allows customers to have a voice in  an organization’s product development cycle.

What is FeatureSet?

1. FeatureSet is business community software made to facilitate product development collaboration. It is the first social business application that connects the customer to the product management process.

2. FeatureSet offers built-in social collaboration tools which facilitate customer engagement, such as discussion forums, blogs, chat, idea voting, and more. With these, businesses can efficiently communicate with their customers, and get their products to market quickly.

3. According to the FeatureSet website , most companies use web analytic software that collects and analyzes data about online customer behavior—statistics related to the ‘who, what, and where’ of the customer, but don’t provide data related to why. FeatureSet provides the reasoning behind the customer’s actions. There is a feedback surveys allows an organization to gather customer suggestions.

4. With FeatureSet,  a business can have a venue to ask for feedback and customers have a venue to discuss ideas. If a customer suggestion is unclear, organizations can interact with them and find out exactly what they want.

5. Customers also have the option of voting on feedback, holding public discussions, which allow companies to gain further insight into their customer’s needs.

6. FeatureSet also allows organizations to show customers that they care by keeping their customers updated on their feedback’s status.

7. There are tools within FeatureSet to facilitate communication within an organization to ensure customer requirements are understood uniformly within an organization.

8. FeatureSet is available as ‘software as a service’, that is, the software is accessed over the Internet and organizations charge on a usage basis.

How to Get Started:

Check out the videos on their support page that describe a use of their software for products and another video for services.

Summary:

Providing products and services that are responsive to customer needs a key to any organization’s customer satisfaction plan. Organizations need a product development plan in in line with customer feedback.

Feedback:

What does your organization use to gather and manage its customer requirements?

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

3 Responses to “Customer Satisfaction Tip: Solicit Product Requirements Input”

  1. Jeff Bennett Says:

    Interesting approach by FeatureSet – I wonder how they manage client expectations and the likely situation of sifting through “Productizable” features and one-off features in a way that doesn’t discourage people from continuing to engage in the process.

    Overall, like their approach.

    Jeff

  2. Adele Says:

    Jeff, you bring up a good point. If customers can input their requirements, there might be an expectation that all will be included in the next release of the product. But that may not be practical or feasible. So asking customers to enter product specifications and getting feedback from other customers will help with the prioritization process. But the customer’s who provided input on a desired feature may still be disappointed.

    In cases like that, it is often advisable to offer professional services that might be able to provide the functionality at a fee.

  3. Kimberley Chan Says:

    Hi Jeff, this is Kim from OneDesk (formerly FeatureSet). I’m glad to hear you like our approach. Evaluating client feedback and expectations can be time-consuming. OneDesk makes the sifting process as easy as possible. Our new customer service and help desk applications such as the automation tool and filtering capabilities facilitate sorting and reduce manual work. Check out our website, and feel free to email us with any questions or comments.

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