Gathering Product Development Feedback

Post Written by
Ivan Dabić
Last modified on June 25th, 2020 at 3:43 pm

In one of my previous posts, I'm describing a personal take on the product management process. Based on hands-on experience, it outlines how to guide the product management process. Of course, it is only one of the ways to follow product management, but I've tried to generalize it in a way that would fit most use-cases. I'm mentioning this article now, for the connection between product management and customer feedback. It is vital to collect as much feedback as possible in the early stages of a product's development. Even more so, as in the early stages, a mandatory pivot on the product take happens.

In the early stages of developing a product, the product and development team are working together to deliver planned feature(s). And while doing so, same teams will be implementing a means to survey end-users. Going back to the Customer Happiness and Product Success Metrics post, there are three different survey types to gauge customer feedback:

  • NPS
  • CSA
  • CSAT

And from those three, the CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) metric would be the best one to use here.

Product Alpha phase

The alpha phase is great for gathering feedback from people that are not involved in the product's development. Usually, people receive an invitation with appropriate access to evaluate the product. It's important to note that, during this phase, there is NO documentation explaining the product or UI. We want to have genuine user feedback, including the UX (user experience). A good way for gathering the feedback would be through an email-injected HTML form. We do not want the development team to add a survey feature to the product at this stage. How to time the survey:

Bundling the HTML email survey and invitation through email.
Delivering the survey after the alpha tester had a chance to go through the product.

While both are valid, I'd go for #2.

Product Beta phase

In the next stage of product development - the beta - you can combine both CES and CSAT. In beta, the product gets more attention so it is difficult to get in touch with each tester and review their use-case. The beta is a good time to add the survey to pages/sections where you feel that feedback is crucial.

To Beta and beyond

Be creative when gathering feedback, as there's much you can do outside the textbook guidelines. For product development using CES and CSAT is always a good choice, while NPS is best saved for last. The product development cycle is ongoing, so it makes sense to sync with marketing to gather surveys. It's important to understand how your users actually use the product and where they place you against the competition. Once in this stage, the NPS method is your friend. Make sure that:

  • the UI pops-up surveys in meaningful places
  • that your surveys target the core of what you do

as you shouldn't be making guesses and decisions, unless they are educated ones. While a simple principle, get feedback while developing your product, there is much to consider:

  • choose the right set of questions
  • benchmark answers
  • decide how, when and if to pivot
  • iterate the next product stage to your users
  • repeat

and all this needs to be scalable. If you have questions, drop me an email and we can work together on building the right set of tools for your development project.

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