Question: What's the best way to collect customer feedback on new products or services?
Question by: Ashley
Be the Customer
"The best way to get first-hand customer feedback is to step into the shoes of the customer. Even if you're selling a product of which you're not typically a user (e.g., a man selling women's handbags), you'll learn a ton from mimicking the steps that a typical customer would take in learning about and buying your product. Sometimes, the most important insights are the most subtle ones."
There's a Widget for That
"Having a simple way for people to contact you and give their feedback about your product or service is key. I recommend KissInsights and/or Get Satisfaction to accomplish this task. KissInsights gives you real-time feedback on what customers are thinking when they view your product offering, and Get Satisfaction makes it easy for people to vote on which ideas that they like from your community."
Leave the Office for Once!
"You can learn a hundred times more from a handful of potential customers you meet in person to talk about your product as you can from hundreds of them taking a survey. The crux of the lean startup movement is the concept of "getting outside the building" and that's because that's where the harsh realities of making your startup a success lay. It's scary, but you won't be disappointed. Get out there!"
Penny for Your Thoughts?
"People are busy and, let's be honest, every business wants more feedback from customers. This combination creates a challenge. But instead of offering a one-sided, expensive but attractive reward, try offering a win-win such as a generous coupon for a future purchase with you. This way you increase the rate of feedback and encourage more sales in the future."
Each Customer Is Unique
"All customers don't use your product in the same way. We send custom messages to customers based on actions they've taken within our product. For instance, if a user signs into the product using our Android app, we ask them for feedback on the specifically on the app. Tools like Intercom make this process easy."
Integrate Into Your Customer Service Model
"A simple and economically feasible option is to bargain with users that email your business. For instance, if somebody emails with questions and concerns, attend to their needs ASAP, effectively answering their questions and fulfilling their desires. In return for your great and speedy response, take advantage of the situation and request back to the user if they could share their opinion."
Pick Up the Phone
"Directly speaking to the early adopters of new products and services is, hands down. the best way to get feedback and improve the offer. If an in-person conversation is not feasible, then a Skype chat or simple phone call will relay much richer information than survey form or an email alone."
Send an Old-Fashioned Survey
"Any time I have a new product or idea for a product I send a survey out to my email list. The responses I get are always surprisingly insightful, and incredibly useful for tweaking my offering. You can use a service like SurveyMonkey, or I've also had a lot of success with a basic Google Docs form as well."
Any Guinea Pigs Available?
"Before I offer a new service or product to customers, I look for a few guinea pigs to test them out on. Right now, I'm testing a new service on five people I consider to be the ideal customer. They get free help and I don't just get feedback -- I also get testimonials for my marketing materials."
Utilize Your Facebook Fans
"We like to ask our Facebook Fans for feedback, as they have a vested interest in our brand. Being social in nature, they aren’t shy about expressing their opinions. It's good to get the perspectives of the people who know your services most closely."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.