How to get customer feedback to improve your product

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Believe it or not, you are sitting on a gold mine of information that can be used to get your business more money. I’m going to show you what that goldmine is, why its a goldmine and then I’m going to show you exactly how to mine it!

Why are Google, Facebook and Twitter so successful?

The products are great. Google can help you find anything. Facebook can help you keep your friends close and Twitter can help you connect instantly with anyone on the planet, even celebrities.

Believe it or not, as great as those products are, their core purpose is not what is making them money. They wouldn’t be in business if it weren’t for the RICH DATA they are sitting on.

Think about it.

Google knows everything about your search & browsing behaviour. They even have your personal information thanks to Gmail and Google+. They’ve collected quadrillions of data points with their web analytics software that is residing on 80%+ websites on the internet – aka Google Analytics. They’ve taken this data, meshed it up and created an epic opportunity for advertisers to tap into. Advertisers love using Google’s advertising products because they can TARGET their ideal audience in mere minutes.

Facebook has all your personal information. They know where you went to school, your birthday, your brand associations, relationship status, your pregnancy stage, your likes, preferences – you name it. Again Facebook cannot live without money. They’ve had to create an advertising system on top of that data. Brands spend millions per day advertising on Facebook. Trust me I know. I work with those brands.

Same thing with Twitter. As a business their survival depends on their ability to monetize their platform. Stockholders won’t have it any other way!

Here’s why the above is relevant to your business:

The key takeout from that is customer data is VALUABLE no matter how you use it.

Right, so you’re not a Google, Facebook or Twitter. You’re a small to medium sized business that have been going at it for a short while. Guess what – your customer data is more valuable now than it will ever be.

If you have a database of people that have invested in your brand and/or product, you OWE it to your business’ success to mine your customers for more information. The information you gather from tapping into your customers will give you tons of ideas to repackage products, improve products, improve or completely change service levels or heck…even cut away some of that stuff completely. If you use it right, the information can help you make your business a lot more money. Period.

6 steps to get customer feedback and improve your product:

Step 1: Set an objective

First ask yourself what would you like to discover about your business. What do you want out of this mining exercise? This needs to be a single focused business objective. Something very clear and concise.

Example objective: “I want the information to help me identify why my sales are stagnating every second quarter”. OR “I want my data to reveal to me where I need to improve Product/Service X”.

Hopefully you get the idea. It needs to be specific. The more specific, the easier it will be to create a data mining process to collect that information.

Step 2: Choose your customer mining technology

A survey allows you to quickly collect specific information from a database you already have access to. It is the quickest easiest way to mine for information.

There are tons of tools out there. The following tools are reliable and get good response rates (which is critical).

  • SurveyMonkey
  • SurveyGizmo
  • Getresponse
    (Email marketing system with a survey addon). That is my affiliate link. If you become a GetResponse customer through my link, I earn a commission. Just being honest about it.

SurveyGizmo and SurveyMonkey are dedicated survey tools. They’ll be perfect solutions for most businesses. I currently use GetResponse.  GR is my email marketing solution, but it comes with a built in survey tool. It doesn’t have as nice features as the others, but it’s very simple to setup and use which most people appreciate.

Step 3: Survey your customers

First let me say this – the shorter a survey the better! You’ll experience higher completion rates. The questions you ask in your survey depend on the objective you have set for yourself.

I’ll use the previous example. 

Objective: “I want my data to reveal to me where I need to improve Product/Service X”

Some questions or options for the respondents could include:

  1. Please rate product X from 1 – 5 (1 being low and 5 being high).
  2. Which of the following features did you dislike the most?
  3. Which of the following features did you like the most?
  4. From a scale of 1 – 5 how would you rate the price of this product? (1 being totally disagree and 5 being totally agree)
  5. Please tell us in a sentence or two what would make this product better?

There’s a nice short sample survey on SurveyGizmo of the types of questions you get in a customer satisfaction survey.

The aim of your questions should be to ‘reveal’ what you want to know!

Pro Tip: Use your first few opening questions to collect demographic data about your customers! 

  • Are they male or female?
  • Age?
  • Where do they live?
  • Married, Single?

That level of data will provide deep insights into who your audience is. Maybe you already have this data in your system. That’s great. If not, make sure you ask!

Step 4: Review the data

Don’t sit on the data.

Each of the survey tools above will turn the customer feedback into a visual representation of some sorts. This information is a collective view of the opinions of your customers towards your business, products, operations, service etc. WHATEVER.

Review this data closely. Soak it in. Put yourself into your customers shoes. Their opinions count!

Step 5: Make changes

If the sample size of the feedback is big enough and there is a very low or high score among some of the questions, it’s perhaps time to consider change. For a small business this is easy. You have the ability pivot is not as costly as a bigger business. But still, if the data is revealing weakness or strengths its important to spend quality time assessing how the changes can affect your business.

Step 6: Repeat

Your survey data was based on a big sample size. The information gave you new direction. It’s not always feasible to keep on surveying your database. They’ll burn out.

Still, small changes should be tested and reviewed. My suggestion to you is to pull together a small group of people to get ‘qualitative’ feedback. 8 – 20 people selected from your database should be perfect. Do one-on-one objective interviews with them to see if the changes had positive impact on them. Can’t meet them in person? Do Skype calls or Google hangouts.


What is your experience in trying to learn more about your customers and their needs?

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ReinhardtHow to get customer feedback to improve your product

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