This is part 7 of a 10 part series. We’re looking at how startups and consumer apps can study their customers under a microscope in order to create an app that works exactly how they need it to.
7) Solicit Feedback from Real Users
You probably have some awesome ideas about how to Sell Everything Everywhere, but I’d bet the people selling on the ground floor everyday have even better ideas. Consumer apps often take advantage of built-in tools to gather feedback and ideas to support their next iteration. When they don’t, they make sure to try out ideas on their users well before they start building anything. You can (and should) start doing this too. Don’t assume the managers and IT developers are your best resource for figuring out what features will help your end user do their job.
What Not To Do
Don’t design your next feature-set in a corporate office without getting that crucial feedback from your real users. You may know how to build things better than them, but you don’t necessarily know what to build better than them!
What To Do Instead
Understand your users. Interview them, watch them, ask for ideas. You won’t do everything they suggest, but it will help you understand where they’re coming from, and what external forces are working on them when they’re trying to use your app.
Have your product manager and UX designers talk directly to end users. Don’t get someone’s interpreted or filtered version of the feedback in there, because it will always have some bias or preconceived ideas.
Build features into your app to collect ideas. Sometimes you just can’t get out to talk to enough users. There are a number of development tools like TestFlight, Crashlytics, etc that have built-in surveys, chat forums and idea submission features that can be used to collect user ideas.
We installed surveys into the Sell Everything Everywhere app and got some great feedback from users. We then watched them selling in the store and using the app. Our product roadmap had all kinds of ideas to get better product reviews in the (retail clothing) store when our users looked up a product, but watching them use the app, we realized that most customers were simply discarding products that didn’t fit them without trying on a new one. We got the idea that it would be pretty interesting to try to automatically scan the products that were being tried on and preemptively lookup where other sizes were available and which products had a similar fit. This allowed our associates to stand outside the door already armed with info on shipping different sizes to them, and a different looking (but similar!) product in case something didn’t fit.
Other topics covered in this series include:
- Part 1: Have A Clear Bold Goal
- Part 2: Guide Users Toward Goals
- Part 3: Measure User Activities and Funnels
- Part 4: Onboarding, Not Training
- Part 5: Nudge Users Through Funnels
- Part 6: Thrill Users With Customer Service
- Part 7: Solicit Feedback from Real Users
- Part 8: Build Evangelists
- Part 9: Stay Slim
- Part 10: Iterate or Die