Companies across several industries have been increasingly teaming up with their customers to accelerate their research and development (R&D) process. Integrating customer knowledge and input is an efficient way of refining products and services both before and after the launch. A noteworthy benefit of this process is that enterprises are able to meet customers’ expectations by consulting them during the product development phase. By doing this, business organizations are saving extra time and resources that would have otherwise been spent on rarely used features.
Mutually benefiting partnerships like this help companies stay relevant and competitive in a global market that’s constantly evolving.
Advantages of Using Customer Input in Product Development
Paying attention to the collective mindset of customers, focusing on what motivates them to buy your products and services, what they are expecting from the buying experience is very critical aspect for all businesses. These have proven to be very helpful in refining the products offered. Additionally, it helps in reducing cost and manage risks along the production and marketing line.
Here are some of the most important advantages of using customer input in the product development process:
- Increased ability to manage short term and long term risks
- Enterprises can manage costs better by allocating budget to the customer-centric, important aspects of manufacturing, development or even marketing processes
- Your company can effectively make changes to services and products earlier in the process when making improvements are comparatively less expensive to implement
- You will be able to build a brand reputation through an ongoing customer engagement process
- Get increased, comprehensive feedback by collecting feedback from multiple channels
- Increased customer loyalty and trust by ensuring your customers that their insights and input is valuable. You can also reward these customers with coupons or early access programs
- Your enterprise will be able to capture emerging trends early on when compared to competitors. This can further used in newer product development
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of the process, let’s find out the effective means through which you can collect useful input.
Given the current digital platforms available, companies can collect valuable customer insights through an endless array of technologies. In addition to the old school face-to-face approaches, it can be very helpful to add online efforts.
Here is a list of some of the leading options for customer engagement platforms to help in collecting insightful data:
- Online surveys (offered by Nextiva, KeySurvey, Survey Monkey and several others)
- Community insight platforms (offered by CMNTY, Bloomfire, Remesh and others)
- A CRM solution
- Innovation trackers (offered by Imaginatik, Qualtrics and others)
Apart from these, you can conduct online polls, interact with customers on social media like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. to collect instant, useful customer input. Testing early prototypes with a sample group of customers can also prove to be cost-effective in the long run.
Some of the most popular and effective means to measure overall customer satisfaction include:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) – NPS is used by enterprises globally to measure the likelihood of a customer recommending your product or service. It’s a question that has a scale from one to ten. NPS is easily understood by most survey respondents and by most in an organization. It has proven to be very helpful because of its quantitative nature.
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) – CSAT refers to the measurement of how satisfied a customer is with a specific interaction with your firm. CSAT questions are generally asked at the end of live chats, support calls or knowledge base articles. CSAT often gets high response rates as it’s just one question.