Want better customer feedback? Forget about the product


Most of us bias our customer feedback-gathering by making it too much about what we already do.  Our customers answer and provide that feedback based on what they see and use, not based on what’s already important to them in their daily work and/or personal lives.

Take a step back, and forget there’s a product for a minute.  In gathering customer intelligence, you don’t want feedback on your solution.  You want feedback on the problem.   You want feedback and prioritization of what problems need solving.  That has nothing to do with what you’re actually selling.

You want to know what has enough value that they’re willing to pay for.  What problem or pain is acute enough that they’ll spend time and money solving it. 

Different features you have currently could address different pains & needs.  How would you customers stack-rank them?  How would different customer segments stack-rank them?

You’re not going to add another tool to their workday if it doesn’t align with a train in their station, a problem they already have, an outcome they’re already seeking & prioritizing.

I think there are a number of tactical ways to get at this information, but knowing the perspective you want up front will help ensure the data you get at the back-end is useful and actionable.