How Businesses Can Use Customer Feedback To Build Better Products


How can businesses, especially early startups, use customer feedback to build better products? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Stephany Kirkpatrick, Founder and CEO of Orum, on Quora:

Your customers may not be marketing or finance pros, but they know exactly what your next product should be — and they are already telling you. But many businesses miss the mark by not connecting with customers through engaged listening, to deliver actionable insights that can improve products–and the bottom line. By building a framework for engaging customers, you will learn more about new innovations, new options, and new revenue streams for your company.

At Orum, recently experienced the value of engaged listening firsthand in the form of our latest product, Verify. Verify, first-of-its-kind technology that verifies bank accounts in 15 seconds or less, resulted from our commitment to engaged listening and our customers’ input.

How is engaged listening different?

Most successful companies today make a point of reaching out to customers with surveys and reviews to determine what is going well and what could go better. At Orum, we host quarterly business reviews, integration configurations, customer success support, and other check-ins to let our customers know that we are always listening.

Your customers need to know that you are interested in everything they have to say—the good, the bad, and the things you hadn’t even considered. This last category can be especially illuminating for finding the right product market fit.

Here is what we learned when we asked our customers about our latest product: They were very concerned about the lack of information regarding whether a payment was going to the correct account. Sometimes account information was erroneous and sometimes accounts were closed or frozen, which led to lost funds or time wasted by dealing with expensive returns.

With an ongoing goal of engaged listening, our team asked what products customers were using, where the process was frustrating, and what could be better at every point along the way.

Certainly, it would have been great if customers en masse were telling us “We need an account verification solution called Verify,” but that is rarely how it works. The process of going from pain points to new product is more involved and intuitive.

Here is what we did:

Gather data. The more data you have from the more departments, the better. Engineers, sales and marketing teams, and company leadership can all collaborate on gathering both quantitative and qualitative data. When teams work in silos, this information is often shared infrequently and typically fails to gather steam and make a discernible impact.

Confirm, confirm, confirm. If you hear a similar issue from a couple of clients in the same day, you might think “This is the thing we need to address right now!” It might be. However, you need to confirm hunches — return to the data to determine if this is a true issue.

Translate issues into action. Engaged listening ensures that your team can listen, absorb, study, and then translate a collection of issues or challenges into a new product or solution. In terms of Verify, we discovered the need for more certainty, confirming that an account was open and valid, at a bare minimum, before a debit or credit. It was a simple switch that made a big difference for our clients.

Evaluate the opportunity. With Verify, we learned that failed payments added up to a $100 billion impact each year across the globe, quickly making the case for change. Not every issue will present such a significant market opportunity, but it is critical to evaluate the need for each potential new product.

Connecting with and listening to customers is always the right thing to do. Engaged listening takes this a step further to listen deeply, ask questions, gather data, and determine logical next steps, creating the possibility of a great new product and an engaged and loyal customer base.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.


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