You won’t get your product right first time

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In any retail environment, whether physical or e-commerce it is incredibly hard to get your product right first time.

The only way to do this is possible copy someone else, but that too has it’s flaws. Retailers constantly research or “benchmark” other products in the market to allow them to see what works and what doesn’t, but for startup businesses they are usually innovating in someway, so how do you measure this.

The massive advantage that the internet gives you is the ability to get the customer at the heart of the new product development process. But there is no point in believing you are customer centred unless you actually listen!

Lots of entrepreneurs I meet tell me they don’t have a product problem, they have a marketing one – and I have been there too. What I have learned though, is marketing alone will not get you out of a product problem, so focus on that first before you scale up marketing.

So how can you do this online easily, it depends how public you want to be, but I believe in the more public the better. Usually you are working in an extended team of designers, programmers, manufacturers – the advantage of putting customer feedback into the public domain is that you can let everyone share it and it is also iterative.

So here are my top 5 tips for getting customer feedback:

Net Promoter score

This one took me 5 minutes to create in Survey Monkey.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Using this you can quickly find out how much your customers like your product – in this instance my blog.

Trustpilot

I reviewed the product problems on Fine Coffee Club’s Trustpilot site

Not only great from a trust and marketing perspective but a fantastic place to get feedback from customers on problems with any aspect of your offering, read through the issues that Fine Coffee Club faced initially, it certainly wasn’t a marketing one! (also buy some coffee when you are there!)

The Phone/email

Make sure in the early stage you capture customers email and phone, set an automated email up to ask for some feedback, make this email simple and in text – don’t design it. Show the customer you really care about their feedback.

Hi,

My name is Kevin Dorren, I am the founder of dorren.com blog.

I really wanted to reach out to you to ask for some feedback to help us improve our blog.

As you know we haven’t been around for long, but your feedback is really important to us
to help improve our product and service to you.

Please take a few minutes to reply to this email and tell me what you would like us to improve

Thanks

Kevin Dorren

Checkout abandonments

Capture customers who have signed up to your website and not bought are an excellent source of product feedback, there was something they didn’t quite like to stop the purchase process, find this out and you are on your way.

Family and friends – DON’T ASK THEM!

NEVER ask anyone you know for product feedback, they won’t want to hurt your feelings (unless you are a member of my family – you know who you are!) – So will sugar coat the feedback. Investors, work mates, friends, family and board members are all contaminated from my perspective – and they might be useful for anecdotal feedback but please don’t add it to your to do list.

At this point I will also repeat my favourite quote

If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.”

Jim Barksdale

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