Each review your business receives—no matter if it’s your 10th or your millionth—is your customer calling you to action.
How will you respond to those calls?
You can, of course, ignore the reviews. Or, you can use them to build better buyer personas, create more targeted marketing campaigns, improve customer retention, or make meaningful changes to your product.
I’ve met with and advised hundreds of software vendors, and I’ve come away from every encounter with this conclusion: Customer reviews are absolutely critical to your software product’s success.
There are so many things to think about when it comes to understanding the true power of your customers’ feedback, and applying it to your business decisions and strategies. Here are my top four tips for leveraging customer reviews to transform your product and—ultimately—your business.
4 Ways to Turn Customer Feedback Into Better Products
1. Look closely at who is providing feedback
You’ve received two reviews. One praised your product’s usability, while another disparaged it. If you pay attention to who’s doing the talking, you might notice that the first review came from an enterprise-sized client, while the latter came from a small business owner.
But how can you make sure this vital contextual data is available to you? By asking for specific customer information when collecting reviews
By asking for and collecting specifics such as company size, you can figure out whether the problem lies in your onboarding process for smaller accounts or the inherent usability for your base-level product. That information can also help you refine buyer personas.
2. Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing plan
After you’ve collected at least 10 customer reviews (but ideally closer to 50), you’ll have a large enough sample size to identify some meaningful trends that can inform your marketing efforts.
Use these review trends to better target your marketing campaigns. Are your ideal buyer personas reflected in the feedback you’re receiving? Is one particular market segment offering negative feedback?
Adjust your messaging accordingly, or determine how to improve your product.
3. Focus on how your clients use your product
Chances are, your product can be used for more than one thing. It’s also likely that your clients aren’t using each product function equally. Some may use your chatbot facet, but not the file-sharing component.
That’s why it’s important to ask questions targeting functionality and use when collecting reviews.
This feedback will help you uncover which product features your clients find most valuable, what features are missing, or even the feature users find most frustrating. Those insights can help you readily improve your product by understanding exactly where to focus your time and energy, and how to prioritize requests to your product development team.
4. Don’t be shy about promoting product changes
It’s a big deal to make changes. No matter whether it’s re-skinning your website to adding entirely new features, a lot of resources are involved.
You need to let your customers and reviewers know that you’re listening. Bring your efforts to collect, analyze, and respond to reviews (and implement customer-fueled changes) full circle by promoting all of the improvements you make.
That could mean everything from creating a targeted campaign to reviewers or an industry segment that overwhelmingly requested a feature you recently added, to a shift in your sales messaging to better highlight specific concerns related to onboarding.
It’s also beneficial to record response to product announcements and changes. You’ll discover customers who never mentioned a need for that change in their reviews but still find it valuable, which can help you better predict the types of future changes that will have a greater impact on your bottom line.
Still don’t know what to do with your customer insights? Ask for help.
What do you do when you have a wealth of data at your fingertips but no clear-cut way to break it down and understand the trends it may reveal? Consider using a tool that provides insights into your reviews.
Gartner Digital Markets offers its own Reviews Insights program, which allows you to benchmark ratings-based strengths and understand the customer sentiment behind your reviews.
By investing in this type of tool, you’ll be able to sift through the data and find those crucial kernels of guidance that can help you build your product into something even more valuable to you, your business, and your clients.
Looking for Customer Experience software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Experience software solutions.