Do you try to understand what Customers do not like in your product?

I have come across numerous product developers and managers who think Customer will always complain and have negative feedback on the product irrespective of whatever great things you do in your product. I don’t think their assessment is entirely wrong but such interpretation may make them miss on opportunities which could earn them quick brownie points from Customers. What is more perplexing is that such product folks use filter strategy (‘buraa mat suno’ i.e. ‘do not hear bad things’ in Gandhiji’s words) as soon as they hear anything negative about the product from the Customer. These product folks either start defending their product or divert the conversation to more positive things about the product.

Invariably what happens is that even though the Customer may be neutral/positive about the product because of unwillingness of the product owners to listen to their feedback they start feeling indifferent or sometimes even hostile about using that product. Over the period such Customers either stop providing constructive feedback or just switch to a different product (unless there is heavy switching cost built into the product).

In reality the customer feedback either in early stages of product development or after product can provide us with many opportunities. For example, the feedback could actually help us make product work better or address customer needs better. In some cases I have seen that the customer just wants somebody to listen to how they are unable to address their needs with the current product and it is because customer really doesn’t know how to use the product or is unaware of the feature which already addresses that need. But the issue is that most product owners are not open to listen about the complaints.

While we always want to know why customers love our products I encourage product developers or owners to ask questions like following to elicit qualitative constructive feedback from the customer without directly getting into critical conversation

  1. If you could change one thing about our Product what would that be? Why?
  2. What is that one thing that you would like to see improved in our product? Why?
  3. Which particular feature in our product is has chance of creating confusion? Why?

Answers to above questions will provide great insights on product weaknesses, which will not only allow you to take your product to the next level but also improve the customer satisfaction. Such delighted customers will then act as product evangelist, which in turn will get you new customers.

If we don’t pay heed to customer feedback then it won’t be very long before we see following cartoon becoming reality.


Customer Feedback Cartoon