4 ways to use customer feedback to improve your business

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The opinions expressed by enterprising contributors are their own.

A common word of advice for entrepreneurs is to build what they personally want, but this can prove to be a road to failure. After all, it is said that 90% of startups fail, and the number one reason for those failures is that there is no market need.

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From the reverse folly of Facebook to the collapse of Juicero, the story of failed projects is littered with stories of companies that didn’t understand their markets well enough. When it comes to the long journey of entrepreneurship, passion is, in the words of Steve Jobs, “the only thing that keeps you going”, it’s not enough. Equally important is understanding the wants and needs of your customer base.

This means that customer feedback is essential for entrepreneurs. With in-depth customer feedback, entrepreneurs can better understand their markets and innovate better. This can help them develop products that customers really want and need, rather than products that the founders think they need.

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Here are four ways entrepreneurs can use customer feedback to improve their businesses:

RELATED: This Is Why You Should Never Ignore Customer Feedback

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1. Use customer feedback to inform product development

It’s also important to use customer feedback to inform product development. This means that entrepreneurs need to take the time to read customer feedback and implement changes where necessary.

For example, Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev said that many of the company’s product priorities are based on customer feedback. This means the team is actively listening to customers and making changes based on their feedback.

An early feature that helped Robinhood differentiate itself was a “fractional share” option, which allows customers to buy fractional shares of stock. A more recent example is Robinhood’s decision to offer an interest rate of up to 4% on uninvested cash deposited into customer accounts. This was based on customers’ concerns about the effect of inflation on their investments.

By actively listening to customer feedback and incorporating it into product development, entrepreneurs can ensure that their products remain competitive and meet customer needs.

2. Take advantage of communities for direct communication

An obvious question for entrepreneurs is how to collect customer feedback and focus on what is important. Social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be great places to start. For example, Twitter Spaces is a feature that allows users to create a chat room-like environment with a group of people.

This is a great way to get feedback from users. Entrepreneurs from Elon Musk to Neil Patel have taken advantage of such communities to garner feedback from their customers. However, entrepreneurs can go further by establishing dedicated communities of their own.

One strategy is to create a Discord server, the perfect chat application for connecting with customers and building a community. This works especially well for games and software products, as the format makes it easy for customers to provide feedback. That was the approach taken by Utkarsh Sinha and Siddharth Jain, co-founders of Martian, a Web3 firm that recently raised $3 million. Sinha noted that their Discord server has over 150,000 members who are providing valuable feedback.

Another strategy is to host online events such as webinars. This allows entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services as well as receive feedback from customers in real time. One challenge with this approach is the relatively small size of the potential audience, but it can be a great way to build a loyal customer base. Even if the percentage of voting isn’t huge, the feedback received can be invaluable.

3. Ship products quickly based on feedback

Another important way to use customer feedback is to ship products quickly. By moving quickly, entrepreneurs can get feedback from customers about their products and make necessary changes or improvements.

If your business is taking that valuable customer feedback but failing to act on it immediately, you might be missing out on a huge opportunity. This was something that was highlighted by Siddharth Jain. Jain said working closely with an engineering team was a huge advantage for the firm, as it allowed them to ship products and features quickly once they received customer feedback.

In other words, while your sales and marketing or customer support teams may be more closely in touch with customers and their feedback, the engineering team needs to be able to act on that feedback in order to make real changes.

RELATED: How to Really Listen to and Use Customer Feedback

4. Use Customer Feedback to Pivot

Customer feedback can also be used to pivot. Pivoting is a term used to describe the process of changing the direction of a business. This is a strategy that some entrepreneurs use when their original product or service is not doing as well as expected.

For example, when the team behind the video game Fortnite found they weren’t getting the traction they wanted, they used customer feedback to pivot. They created a version of the game that was free to play, and the rest is history. Today, Fortnite is one of the most popular video games of all time.

The lesson here is that customer feedback can be used to drive a business forward, and it’s important for entrepreneurs to be open to using it. This doesn’t mean blindly following customer feedback though; It is still important to use your own judgment and expertise to make the best decision for your business.

Customer feedback should be an essential part of any business’ innovation process. By understanding customer feedback and using it to inform product development, leveraging communities for direct communication, shipping products quickly, and pivoting when needed, entrepreneurs can create products that customers really want. They are and they are needed. This can lead to greater success for the business in the long run.

RELATED: Growth Hacking With Customer Feedback

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