Competition is high. Technology is constantly changing. And customer expectations require innovation. Having a good product vision is critical to success, but building a product that stands out in the B2B marketplace has never been more difficult.
A product roadmap shows the evolutionary development of your product or service over a specified time period. Product roadmap planning identifies the critical milestones that your company wishes to hit and gives everyone on your team a better idea of where your product is today and what’s needed in order to achieve company goals.
Essentially, it’s a development roadmap that acts as a single-source guide to keep your product on the correct path toward increased customer value and company goals.
The product roadmap’s intent is to maintain cohesion around the company’s vision by explaining the purpose behind the chosen milestones. Product managers and owners dictate how product roadmaps will be implemented, but aligning your roadmap to customer priorities is a collaborative effort across Marketing, Sales, Success, and Product.
Keeping up with market demands means having a product team that is acutely attuned with how customers are using the product today, and how they will want to be using the product tomorrow. This level of synchronicity can’t happen without processes that keep customer feedback central to product development.
Oftentimes, however, customer feedback is only prioritized as products are being developed and then not again until after there’s a problem or a new feature is in production. Customer feedback is not included in the initial product strategy and internal stakeholders like a development team are not always aware of customer requests.
The problem with this model is that we’re setting ourselves up for failure—either we won’t be able to respond quickly enough or we’re developing our products without input early enough.
This nets out to wasted time and resources. Something nobody wants when they create a product.
Product teams need a better way to incorporate customer feedback when creating a product roadmap—from concept-to-recycle.
This is where Loop can help by surfacing the high-impact roadmap features most discussed by customers. We bring together customer feedback across channels and help teams understand the key risks and opportunities facing their customers throughout the customer journey. Your customer service experience is more than just how you support your customers and answer questions. It encompasses every touchpoint with your brand, from acquisition to retention. Keeping customers engaged requires teams to listen, understand, and react quickly. In this case, that means how you evolve your product roadmap to best meet your customers’ needs.
When making decisions about your product development roadmap, you’ll want to understand:
With these questions, you can narrow down the scope of what you’re building and why. You can then decide how to ensure competitive differentiation. Is this something that competitors are already offering. If so, how can you learn from their customers’ experience — what’s missing and how can you take advantage of this by expanding on the experience?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of building roadmap plans based on good ideas or assumptions, only to find out later that your customers or the market don’t need it.
Loop can help influence your product management roadmap by aligning your teams around the voices of your customers. When you uncover the pain points your customers actually have, you can identify the best ways to respond.
Not every great product idea is going to be wanted by your customers. Especially now, you need to focus specifically on delivering need-to-have vs. nice-to-have.
Throughout every phase of product roadmap planning, you should always ask yourself: how is this helping my customers? If the new feature doesn’t help drive customer retention, it’s likely that it’s not addressing a critical need for your customers.
This is why it is so important that teams work together to identify gaps and opportunities, and then have conversations with customers about what you’re planning to build. This is the difference in building for and building with customers. Use customer feedback and product usage data to identify the value-drivers and then determine how you can deliver impact quickly.
Align stakeholders around customer insights coming from places like:
Once you’ve identified key trends in customer feedback, teams have to align on the biggest risks and opportunities facing your product roadmap, and then prioritize based on what’s most valuable for your customers and your company.
Loop helps your team identify key topics coming up most frequently in customer feedback related to your product, such as:
Rather than immediately dismissing a problem as a non-issue or jumping into action, we advise customers to do a bit more research to gather context and perspective. We make it easy to compare your customer feedback with your competitors.
Understanding how this customer feedback compares to competitor feedback will help you understand both the risk and opportunities this feedback represents to your business.
Understanding the root cause of customers’ product concerns is critical to charting a path forward to address the issue. Conversely, perhaps the issue was known—sales, retention, or usage rates have been declining—but the reason for these dips was not. In this case, customer feedback trends are the proof points needed to align teams on why and how to address the problem.
In this example, we’ll assume that customer churn has become an issue. Your team has identified that customer feedback related to your product’s ease of use has been trending negatively over time. Digging deeper into usage data, you realize that there are two key issues: it’s taking your customer too long to get to the ‘aha’ moment in your product, and the product guided tour that you rolled out isn’t being used.
The next steps your teams will want to take are to have conversations with customers and also monitor customer behavior in-platform. What are customers hoping to achieve but unable to? What clicks can be reduced to get customers to value as quickly as possible?
Once there is clear direction on the features and UI needed, your team can use Loop to create actions. These actions will track customer feedback sentiment related to product topics so that you can understand how these product changes are truly impacting the experience.
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