service development

Why You Should Include Customers In Product and Service Development

It’s no secret that word of mouth remains incredibly powerful when it comes to the product and service development of brand loyalty. A customer recommending your business to a friend or family member goes a lot further than an ad on TV or social media ever could because we generally value their opinion more than advertising.

If you’ve never leveraged customer feedback when it comes to designing and implementing new products or a new service development, you could be hurting the growth of your business. There are ways to use what your customers think of your company to improve internally and improve your product and service offerings at the same time. By bringing your customers into the conversation about the design of your products and services, you create trust and loyalty. Implementing the suggestions they give creates strong customer loyalty that can offer huge advantages to your business.

Why Should I Involve My Customers in Product Development?

Today, social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and more, allow a word about your company to spread overnight. That can be both positive and negative. If a customer doesn’t like their experience, it can affect the sale of a certain product or service. On the other hand, if they enjoyed their experience, it can do wonders for your bottom line. 

Asking customers their opinion gives them ownership of those products and services. They are more likely to recommend the product or service to friends and family if they were involved in creating it or, at the minimum, feel heard by your company. Take your time, ask the right questions, build quality products, and it will lead to a powerful new way to use customer feedback to your advantage.

What Are Your Customers Saying?

Reviews on social media, Google, or Yelp aren’t always helpful when it comes to potential product innovation. However, if you’ve noticed a lot of customers saying the same thing about a product or service there might be some validity to their concerns. 

Paying attention to what your customers are saying about your business online is the first step to improving products and services. If you notice there’s something small that could be improved right away, don’t wait! Implement the change and let your customers know that you’re on it and that they can expect a resolution soon. If a solution might take time, you should still acknowledge that you’re looking into the issue but ask for patience in implementing the change. 

Ask Customers

Again, this is all about giving your customers a voice to be heard. This is especially powerful when it comes to long-standing customers who you know have been loyal to your business for a long time. There are several ways you can ask your customers for their opinion on a new service or product. 

Sending out a survey, taking a poll on social media, focus groups with current customers (or even customers who left), or picking up the phone and calling them (if possible) are great ways to get valuable feedback. If you show that you’re responsive to their feedback and grateful for their time, customers are willing to give you their opinion and be thoughtful with the option they are sharing. And if you implement one of their suggestions it can lead to free advertising as they share their experience with others.

Invite Customers to Evaluate New Products or Services 

Once you have a new idea ready to get out to customers, create a way for them to evaluate it. If possible, offer it to a select few customers to get feedback before opening it up for wide distribution. 

Even large companies like Apple provide beta versions of their iOS every year to any iPhone user. Customers are encouraged to send in any issue they might have with the new operating software before its full release. Not only does this help Apple work out most of the bugs before launch, but it also creates a better overall customer experience when the new iOS is pushed out. 

Businesses are always looking for new ways to innovate and bring in new customers. Many businesses are even bringing on a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) to help develop a robust strategy for evaluating and using customer feedback. By using existing customers to help with service development and the creation of products and services, businesses are creating stronger brand loyalty and increasing opportunities to showcase their business to others. 

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Customer Service Institute of America