Using Customer Feedback to Inform Product Development

Guiding Product Development Through Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is a top priority for product developers. In a report conducted by Walker, it was estimated that by next year, the customer experience will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator.

During the initial product design stages and beyond, customers should be at the forefront. Prominent companies like Microsoft, for example, have been developing systems that allow developers to work alongside customers to help improve their technology and product offerings, which have resulted in profound outcomes. This is something that can easily be implemented in smaller product development companies and, gradually, in larger corporations and initiatives as well.

Dan Behrendt, Technical Communications Director at Microsoft, published an article on to share some of the lessons Microsoft has learned in working alongside their customers to garner feedback that improves their products. Here are a few key points:

Direct Evangelism

Businesses today are often out of touch with their customers and their needs. This, in turn, means that they are slow to innovate and deliver products that solve the pressing issues that customers frequently face.

With Microsoft’s approach, which they refer to as “open hacks,” they involve consumers in the development process to gain a deep understanding of what they need. This can help companies pinpoint not only which features to prioritize when creating their product but also the hidden problems that typically arise when an end customer is using the product, which necessitates micro-product changes.

Gather Feedback by Inviting Customers to Company Events

Many companies would never dream about hosting their hackfests externally, however, this can allow you to collect a ton of valuable information that will help improve product development processes. It provides a unique opportunity for internal staff and potential clients to learn together, as well as from one another. It’ll also help customers feel more like a partner versus seeing you as an entity bent on selling you something.

Ultimately, involving clients and potential customers in your product development will enable you to collect valuable feedback on what your target demographic thinks of your product. As designers, we can often get so stuck in our own heads or personal opinions that we lose sight of what a consumer or external party sees and notices about a product.

By nurturing these relationships with your customers, you’ll not only show them that you care about their experience, but you’ll also develop a loyal and appreciative client base. Listening to what customers have to say goes a long way. Making improvements based on their direct feedback goes even further.

Methods for Collecting Customer Feedback

A few ways to gather customer feedback are: 

  • Send out customer feedback surveys or add them to your website.
  • Email questions to customers who leave reviews or who are on your email list.
  • Host a focus group.
  • Ask questions and evaluate feedback on social media.
  • Enable comment boxes so consumers can easily tell you how they feel.
  • Read online forums and threads.

In what ways do you gather feedback to help improve your product development? Let us know in the comments below.

If you have a great new invention and you’d like to learn more about this process, get in touch with MAKO here to find out more. Feel free to give us a call at 1-888-MAKO, and we can set you up on a call with our product analyst!

About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *