What is the Role of Product Teams in Building a Product Feedback System? Collecting, Centralizing, Analyzing, Roadmapping, and Closing the Loop
Product managers coordinate the other frontline teams around a single product feedback system. Here’s how—and their other roles.
You know you need customer feedback to build a good product.
But to get and use feedback, a robust product feedback management system is key.
Who is responsible for setting that up?
In short: your product team. They will almost certainly lead the customer feedback effort.
Building a customer feedback system requires strong leadership from Product—the kind Dwight would respond to.
Below, I’ve outlined the role of your product team in creating and maintaining a leak-proof customer feedback system that generates the insights you need to build better products.
Customer feedback systems: The role of product management
Gathering, centralizing, and using customer feedback requires collaboration across many teams… but PMs are the team captain.
Because they’re the ones that will need it to develop a product vision and strategy. It’s the job of PMs to understand how their customers use a product and what they need to do.
Specifically, that means they have the following roles in a feedback management system:
Building the system and processes: Product has to design the feedback system, choose a tool, and ensure that all relevant teams are included.
Collecting and centralizing feedback: Product managers are responsible for collecting product feedback directly and centralizing it in a single place.
Analyzing and prioritizing feedback: PMs need to understand customer pain points and the functionality various stakeholders and customer segments want—and then put together a product roadmap.
Closing the feedback loop: PMs are responsible for ensuring teams close the feedback loop after you act on the feedback customers have given
Let’s dive into each of those in detail.
Role 1: Build a feedback management system
Feedback comes in from everywhere—email, Slack, your live chat tools, your feature voting board, Sales calls, and more.
There are two approaches you can take to collect it: you can collect it haphazardly, or you can design a system.
The problem with handling your feedback in a haphazard way is that it’s *leaky**.* You might miss some feedback. Then, when you try to glean customer insights from your feedback, your conclusions might be distorted because you’re missing key information.
When you are systematic about gathering feedback, nothing falls through the cracks. That means your feedback repository is more complete—and the insights you get are more accurate. You get better information and can make more informed product decisions.
A systematic approach takes work, though. Someone needs to set it up and coordinate the teams that need to use it. Setting up a feedback management system includes:
Identifying sources of customer feedback
Setting up a feedback repository and database
Defining a process to centralize feedback from the source to the repository
Choosing a feedback management tool, if necessary
Training all relevant stakeholders and frontline teams to use the system and any required tools
In my experience, that job is best done by Product teams. Product teams are the primary end-user of customer product feedback, so they’re in the best position to set up and coordinate a system to manage it.
Role 2: Track product feedback PMs receive
Customer calls and interviews
Read the guide: 12 Ways Product Managers Can Track Customer Product Feedback
Then, they need to centralize that feedback into the feedback database.
For example, PMs could use Savio to centralize feedback from all those locations into a single feedback vault by:
Emailing feedback directly into the repository
Send focus group notes to Savio using the Chrome extension
Upload product survey results using the Zapier integration
Use Savio’s voting board, which is connected to the feedback vault directly
Role 3: Prioritize feature requests and build product roadmaps
After you have your feedback, you need to analyze and prioritize it.
There are many different frameworks available for that—hundreds, even.
Here’s one prioritization method I don’t often recommend. Remember: customer feedback can help you justify product decisions to upper management.
Personally, I don’t use a prioritization framework that has a specific name you can Google. Instead, the Savio strategy for prioritizing features is to first hone in on a specific goal for the sprint. For example, a sprint goal might be:
Maximize retention revenue
Increase trial-to-paid conversions
Increase upsells to the enterprise plan
Then, we filter and sort potential new features based on the relevant customer segments. For example:
Find requests from churned customers
Find requests with the highest cumulative MRR
Find requests from trial prospects
Find requests from the scaling plan customers
Here, we’ve filtered and sorted our feature requests in Savio to see only features that have more than $750 in cumulative MRR.
Once you know which features will have the highest impact on your specific goals, prioritizing your product roadmap becomes much easier.
Read the Guide: How to Prioritize Feature Requests the Savio Way
Role 4: Close the loop from product management
The last part of your feedback system is closing the feedback loop with customers—reach out to them and follow up when you build a feature they asked for.
Closing the loop is a quick way to build customer loyalty and reduce churn. It also helps you solicit more feedback from customers in the future because they know that you’ll listen to it and take it seriously.
Send personalized close-the-loop messages telling people who asked for a feature that you built it for them.
Product’s role is to make sure that closing the loop happens. But sometimes it’s not the Product team that will close the loop.
Customer success (CS) might want to close the loop with current or churned customers.
Sales may close the loop with prospects or with lost deals.
Support might follow up with folks who submitted support tickets
Product teams should be accountable for making sure closing the feedback loop happens, but they may delegate it to others.
Read the guide: How to Close the Feedback Loop with Customers: A Guide
PM’s role in customer feedback FAQ
What is customer feedback?
Customer feedback is any input, insights, or information that your users and customers give you about your product and services. It can include input about your product (product feedback), pricing, customer service, marketing content, or any other aspect of a user’s experience with your brand.
Why collect customer feedback?
Feedback is useful because it helps you understand customer needs—and how to improve your product and service. It serves as a guide for delighting your customers. Here are the biggest reasons you should collect and use customer feedback:
Drive growth. Feedback helps you understand the jobs your customers need to do. Then you can ensure that new product features help customers do those jobs, which helps you expand your customer base.
Use your resources wisely. You have limited product development resources and time. Customer feedback helps you figure out what you should focus on first.
Build feature specs. You can use your customer feedback verbatims to help you design the right feature. Having this feedback ready to go also helps cut down research time and make sure you build the right thing.
Build customer loyalty. Your customers will be grateful that you listened to them. They’ll be even more grateful when you come and tell them that you made product decisions on what they said. Hello, customer satisfaction and retention!
Like boosting retention? We sure do.
What other teams are part of a feedback system, and what are their roles?
But other customer-facing teams have a role, too:
Customer success. Customer success teams are usually a primary source of customer feedback, so they need to keep track of it and share it with Product. They are also often responsible for closing the feedback loop with current customers.
Customer support. Support is often a primary source of customer experience feedback and bug reports. They need to be able to log that feedback and send it to Product.
Sales. Sales gets critical product feedback from leads and prospects, so they need to be able to easily track feedback. They can also use previous feedback to help inform their sales review calls. And, they can close the loop with lost deals to try to win them back. \
Marketing. Marketing teams may see feedback on social media or online reviews, so they should track it. They may also want to use customer feedback to tweak their product marketing choices, like their unique selling proposition messaging and positioning copy. Finally, they may collect content feedback or content requests to help fuel a user-guided content marketing strategy.
How should I ask for feedback?
Get creative, there are tons of ways you can ask for feedback.
For some inspo, check out these 55+ examples of how SaaS companies ask for customer feedback at every stage of the customer journey lifecycle.
What customer feedback management tools should I use?
There are several ways to organize user feedback. Some are better than others. Spreadsheets are super manual and difficult to use. Tracking feature requests in Jira is another option but has significant limitations.
Savio is one of the best feedback tools because it automates your feedback workflows and lets you quickly find your highest-impact features.
But if you want to look around, here are a bunch of other product feedback software tools.
PMs: Get started with your feedback system
Feedback is critical for businesses to achieve market fit and ensure that they remain relevant over the long term.
It’s an ongoing process—for customer feedback to work, you need to be consistently logging the feedback you get, centralizing it in a single place, reviewing it to distill insights, acting on it, and following up.
You can do that haphazardly in a spreadsheet if you like, but that ends up being more work for worse results.
Instead, try a purpose-built tool for customer feedback and feature requests.
Savio makes it simple to understand what your customers want and build evidence-based roadmaps.
Or, if you want a guided tour with yours truly, sign up for a demo and I’ll show you around.Last Updated: 2023-03-28
Kareem is a co-founder at Savio. He's been prioritizing customer feedback professionally since 2001. He likes tea and tea snacks, and dislikes refraining from eating lots of tea snacks.
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