According to the PwC’s Innovation Benchmark 2017, 54% of companies say customer engagement strategy helps define innovation from early ideation and 35% of companies say customers are their most important innovation partners. Today, smart companies such as Lego, DHL, Amazon and others have a long practice of joining forces together with their customers for the purpose of creating better products.
As the organizations are constantly challenged to stay ahead of their competition by creating, designing and developing innovative products, customer feedback can definitely assist companies in the successful launch of the desired and required products and services to the market. Customer feedback is a valuable and immense resource of ideas that can ensure your product innovation alignment with their current and future needs.
Customers can offer you a complete analysis of your products and services and help you learn about their strengths and weaknesses. When you start listening to your customers, you will also hear their expectations and thus advance the future improvements. By listening to your customers, you will save time and resources that would otherwise be spent on useless development of unsatisfactory products.
Whether the organization has 10 customers or 10,000 clients, customer feedback will help you to:
- identify the features and functionalities of the greatest customers’ concern
- uncover customers’ pain points,
- provide useful ideas for product improvements,
- highlight unpromising product innovation investments.
A great example of innovation made by customers’ ideas is the world’s largest mail and logistics service provider DHL. To improve its supply chain, they engaged with its customers to co-create solutions that improved the delivery experience. That is how the Parcelcopter was born, a test drone delivery service that could change DHL’s service forever. After this solution has been integrated into the delivery chain, customer satisfaction exceeded 80%, while the on-time delivery performance reached 97% across the globe.
No matter how long your product has been on the market, customer feedback has a great influence on the product development lifecycle. Therefore, two highly important actions are explained in more detail below.
1. Include customers early in product innovation
The main question is when is the best time to include customers in the product development lifecycle. If you wait until the product is developed and nearly launched, it is hard and expensive to stop with the production and make some changes. The best solution to overcome this challenge is to engage your customers early in the process. Crowdsourcing is a functional and easy way to include your online customers in your ideation sessions. They can express their ideas for the products and services in a simple and customizable web form that is generalized inside your innovation management software and connected with your website. In a playful and interesting manner, you will be able to start an on-going conversation with your customers on the burning product questions. Thus, the direct integration of customers’ ideas and feedback into the product development process will be accomplished.
2. Let the customers feedback lead your product development efforts
Collecting customer feedback without actually putting it into action will not entirely enhance your innovation process. Collected customer feedback needs to be analyzed to identify the usual pain points and opportunities for improvement. After the thorough analysis, your product manager will be able to acknowledge and develop the improvements of new and existing products to meet customers’ needs. The connected application workflow of collecting customer feedback and product development will assist you in analyzing and selecting the customers’ ideas of the greatest potential, and incorporate them into your products/services.
Customer as a source of innovative ideas is not a new topic. Back in the 18th century, Adam Smith provided empirical evidence on how users of a product or service can function as innovators. His observation was based on the fact that much of the machinery improvements in early manufacturing was performed directly by those who used to manage these machines every day. Those people naturally found a way of improving machinery functions. Today, as most products and services are highly customizable and the market often demands changes, an organization has to listen and adapt its products based on customers’ requirements and feedback. If you are looking for the right solution that will connect your customer feedback and your product development process, Innovation Cloud is the perfect key. Contact us today, and hear how we can level up your innovation process.