How You Should Enable Customers to Participate in your Product Roadmap
One of the primary attributes to the success of any business is customer satisfaction in your product. It is essential to track this factor and work upon improving how customers perceive your product. It is the best way to make your customers more loyal and also convert them to your brand ambassadors.
Every entrepreneur wishes to introduce a product that will bring success and not a failure. Nevertheless, customers can significantly influence the performance of your product. Their decision to buy or not to buy can affect how much you can sell. Today, a marketer will not easily convince the modern customer to make a purchase decision. The modern customer is well-informed, and it would take extra effort for a salesperson to convince a customer to buy.
With the availability of the internet, the customers know how to make a comparison and make the best buy decision. Thus, you may find that your initial product roadmap makes a complete turn. At some point, you may feel that customers are controlling your product roadmap. They should inform your roadmap rather than controlling it.
Through customer feedback, you can learn how well they embrace your product features. Some customers will directly request for a change in some features for them to continue with your product. How do you get around this challenge? Here are the ways to enable customers to be in your product roadmap.
Engage Users in Product Development Process
Have a group of users engaged with your product. They should be willing to suggest additions, fixes, and changes that make them love the product more. Rather than getting confused by the whims of various customers, you can harness their voice in product development. You can implement any of the following actions.
1. Include Strategic Clients in a Customer Advisory Board (CAB)
A CAB is essential for providing feedback and the desired direction on business offerings. Surveys show that a CAB is the best to deliver an ideal product direction. This is because the advisory council offers an insider view of the product performance. Clients being in the council will tell what they need in product or services. They will inform about their pain points that you should address.
They will be the best testers of your new offerings. They will also help you provide immediate validation before entering the market. Moreover, these clients will give insights into how they would want them delivered and the prices they can pay for them.
2. Request for Clients Opinion About Your Roadmap
Ask for a time-schedule on 1:1 and run your roadmap. Engaging clients in a chat about your product direction will help you get their input. Involving them on 1:1 basis will help you gather common ideas on the product features they desire. Mostly when you engage clients, they bring in comparison with competitors products. You will also get valuable insights on how to adjust to prevailing market trends.
These clients stand as the best informers about your competitors having engaged with them some time. They will provide information that will help to exploit competitor’s weakest points. Thus you will be able to fine-tune your product roadmap to position yourself for optimal advantage.
3. Publish a Draft Roadmap for the Next Two Quarters and Solicit Feedback From Users
You will usually draft a roadmap with its users in mind. But this is not enough, after developing it is fundamentally essential to request feedback from these users. Their feedback will enable you to determine if the structure and information used are relevant. You will learn how useful each roadmap component is and how well they interrelate.
Over the entire period, you will be adjusting the roadmap for the best results. The final copy will also be useful to provide future direction. It is worth noting that product roadmap is a continuous process, therefore always keep open the opportunity to connect with others.
Consider Clients Requests with Caution
Earlier I had said that some clients would request for change of products features if they were to continue with you. Yes, it sounds controlling, but don’t push it aside as fast. Ask yourself some questions. Is there significant revenue on the line? Will it take long to accommodate what the client is requesting? Is it an acceptable trade-off for our business?
Compare the cost and the revenue to garner and determine if the investment is worth the plunge. If it is worthwhile, get the deal done. Nevertheless, don’t undermine exploring other technical and non-technical solutions that can solve this client’s problem. Pursuing those other solutions may be the best option if carrying out the client desire will upset your direction.
You may also find it unacceptable to execute a request that doesn’t work for other clients. Therefore, carry on with the deal if it is worthy but limit the investment.
Watch-out Not to Sacrifice the Satisfaction of Other Clients
Consider how the requested change can impact other users. Ask yourself if it is a one-off feature specific to one client or it would be useful to others too. If you have the leeway to customize one client’s recommendation without affecting other customers experience, go ahead. But if the requested functionality poses a negative impact on others, consider an alternative.
You can avoid it in totality if it’s not fruitful, your business is not a one-client show. Whereas it can deliver positive results to the company, you can isolate the case. Include the feature in this specific client’s deliveries and maintain your primary product features for other clients. It will be a suitable alternative than sacrificing other users satisfaction.
Develop a Solution Useful to All Clients
Seek a solution that would benefit all clients at large. You can work with other clients to get their opinion about that particular feature. You will find out if they like the feature or would want it tweaked to satisfy them. Then, you can market the altered product as a new innovation. This goes along motivating the client who requested for the feature. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t’ it?
Your advertising strategy will matter most here. You may wonder how to differentiate from the initial advertising of this same product. You can adjust the first advert to include an emotional connection that brings out the added feature. You have to craft it perfectly considering it’s a competitive world.
Clients voices are the best gifts you can use to deliver the business success you so desire. Your product roadmap will only get better if you incorporate those voices in your plan. Therefore devise feedback channels through which to leverage clients opinions. Your customers are the ultimate solution to a fulfilling product roadmap.
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