In today’s fast-paced business environment, companies need to think fast and act faster. To achieve this, organizations are using insights from customer feedback to drive sustained innovations in their businesses. Innovation thrives when we ask new questions, find new answers, and iterate on solutions that are proven effective. Customer feedback also provides us with the insights required to create effective solutions for existing problems. Let’s discuss why, as an innovation manager, you should leverage customer feedback to support your corporate innovation strategy.
How Does Customer Feedback Fuel Innovation?
Insights from Customer Interviews
Understanding why customers buy or do not buy your product or service is one of the best ways to support corporate innovation. Even if your company does not sell anything directly to consumers, understanding why people do not purchase particular products improves the overall customer experience. You can run one-on-one interviews with current customers or hire a consulting firm to conduct in-depth interviews with specific target audiences. If you sell directly to consumers, you can also use mystery shopping to gather this information.
Product Usability Testing
Usability tests are very useful to identify difficulties that users are facing while using the product before it enters the market. These tests involve observing customers as they interact with a product or service in a realistic situation. This reveals the shortcomings of the product so that you can fix them before making it “live”.
Google has leveraged this concept with Google Glass. The product was not officially available to the general public until 2014. However, in February 2013, the tech giant launched the Glass Explorer program to make Google Glass available for beta testing. As Google added new features, it expanded the program to receive feedback from additional users.
Net Promoter Scores (NPS)
The net promoter score is a market research metric that helps companies collect customer feedback. It is useful for understanding customer satisfaction for your product or service, pain points, and their top demands for improvement. Companies like Microsoft, Dell, and Expedia use NPS surveys. NPS drives corporate innovation by streamlining product development. You can use it to understand how your customers feel about your current product lineup and decide where to focus new development efforts.
Innovation through Customer Complaints
Every business receives complaints from customers. Rather than ignoring these complaints or dismissing them as unimportant, leverage them to support corporate innovation. Complaints offer insights into customer preferences and allow businesses to gather suggestions for improvements. You can also use complaints to identify which department or person should receive the complaint so they can take action as quickly as possible. Moreover, you get to know which products are causing the most complaints and decide how to improve them. If a product has a lot of complaints, it might be a good target for development even if it is not one of your highest-priority items.
For example, in 1996, a farmer wrote to the Chinese electronics company Haier, complaining about the clogging issue of the water hose in the company’s washing machine. While servicing the machine, the technician discovered that the farmer had been using the machine to wash sweet potatoes as no alternative machines were available for this purpose. On learning about the incident, the headquarter dug deeper and found out that it was not a one-off. So, Haier adjusted the washing machine to serve both the requirements — the first 10 000 of these modified washing machines sold out immediately.
Implementing the Best Marketing Strategy
Marketing data enables you to track which marketing tactics are most effective at driving desired customer behavior, such as which social media posts or emails generate the most conversions. You can also use marketing surveys to ask customers why they did or did not take a specific action. Measuring marketing effectiveness is also helpful for supporting product development. You can use this information to identify which new features are most desired by your customers.
Customer Feedback streamlines Decision-Making
Customer feedback significantly informs corporate innovation as it gives you a window into your customers’ preferences. Running customer interviews and surveys helps you understand your target audience better. Observing customer behavior, measuring marketing effectiveness, and gathering complaints also allow you to gain insights into customer behavior. Consequently, these methods enable businesses to make better decisions about where to invest resources and how to support future growth.
How do you leverage customer feedback in your organization? Has it helped in boosting your innovation process? Get in touch & let us know how you streamline your decision-making process.