<DevOps Process: Customer Feedback/>

Customer feedback is one of many capabilities that are responsible for improving organizational performance and software delivery. Learn more here.

Customer feedback is one of many capabilities that are responsible for improving organizational performance and software delivery. The DORA State of DevOps research program discovered these capabilities, and this article specifically focuses on this process. Far too often, developers of various software projects make the mistake of not effectively determining whether the features of their months-long or years-long projects achieve satisfactory results for their customers. Thus, feedback from your customers can change that, so read on to learn more.

Understanding Customer Feedback

The other capabilities that customer feedback is included in are:

  • Operating in small batches,
  • Work visibility in the value stream
  • Team experimentation

All of these capabilities combined provide a lean approach for project management. Simultaneously applying these capabilities can provide predictions for:

  • Organizational performance, measured through productivity, market share, and profitability
  • Software delivery performance, measured through stability, delivery speed, and availability

In addition to implementing these capabilities, organizations should also perform the following feedback related tasks to improve work performance.

  • Regularly collect metrics on customer satisfaction
  • Seek out feedback from customers on product quality and feature quality
  • Use feedback from customers to design features and products

Implementing Customer Feedback

It's vital to establish critical metrics to gauge a product's success when developing it. You can use these metrics to determine whether:

  • Your product solves a real problem experienced by your customers
  • Customers adopt your solution sufficiently and quickly
  • Your customers continue to use your product and recommend it to other users

You must derive these metrics from how your customers interact with enterprise application software or similar products. You can then effectively gather and analyze feedback from customers.

Use a Common Set of Metrics

There are five essential metrics, which are part of a set, that are common for consumer-facing SaaS products. This set is also known popularly known as pirate metrics because of the order of the different metrics. Thus, the order is typically fixed, and when using the first letters of each metric name, the set spells out AARRR. If pronounced as a word, it sounds like the common stereotypical pirate word argh.

With that said, the five metrics that can gather and analyze your customer experience are as follows.

  • Acquisition: The percentage of users who create an account on your website when they visit it.
  • Activation: The percentage of users who use the service after activating their accounts.
  • Retention: The percentage of users with activated accounts who return to the service.
  • Referral: The percentage of retained users who recommend the service to other users.
  • Revenue: The percentage of users who spend money on the service after recommending it.

Monitor all of these metrics carefully and regularly. Thus, use the data acquired from customer feedback to develop a strategy for your product. Moreover, in some cases, these metrics may not be suitable for your product or business. Thus, find and use other metrics because feedback is essential to ensuring that your product sells well.

Use the Customer Feedback Approach for External-Facing and Internal-Facing Products

You should also this consumer feedback approach for your products and services that are used by team members within your organization. Thus, for software development, you should get feedback from real users early and frequently. This way, the user engagement with real users will help you determine if your software solves their problem effectively and efficiently or not. You will also reduce the chances of developing tools that real users never end up using. In that case, you’ll lose time and money and end up ruining morale within your organization. This is because your developers will be disappointed in their creations, and your users will struggle to work optimally.

Use a Pattern to Gather and Tend to Feedback from Customers

Your team should use the pattern below when gathering and tending to feedback from customers to yield the best results.

  • Gather feedback from customers before defining features of your product
  • Validate that your product solves real problems.
  • Focus on solutions that solve specific problems and nothing more
  • Ensure the solution is profitable for your business in the short or long term
  • Use vital metrics for gauging the success of your product
  • Repeat the steps above to determine further improvements

Understanding Common Challenges of Customer Feedback While feedback from customers ensures success for your enterprise software solutions, it comes with some common challenges. Here’s what you must know.

Gathering Feedback Too Late or Not at All App development companies often gather feedback late in the software delivery lifecycle when you can’t act on new information. In some cases, they may not collect feedback at all.

Misinterpreting Feedback A misinterpretation of the feedback can occur when a company doesn’t evaluate or manage the risk of delivering an appropriate solution properly. Moreover, team members may also ignore some feedback because it’s inconvenient to rectify or requires too much work. However, the results will lead to a failed product.

Using Wrong Metrics to Measure Success In some cases, companies may measure a delivery team’s success based on whether the feature was delivered as specified, as opposed to whether the team’s solved customers’ specific problems.

Improving Customer Feedback

Here are some ways to improve customer feedback.

  • Build a great UX to understand how your customers interact with your products or business
  • Perform detailed user research and analyze the data before writing code
  • Validate your business model according to the lean startup movement before writing code for early-lifecycle products
  • Develop prototypes for further testing and research

The Bottom Line

Acquiring and using feedback from customers is a DevOps process, and it can significantly affect the success of your products or services. Therefore, make sure to measure customer feedback effectively by having proper metrics in place, validating every feature, and regularly gain feedback from your customers and team members.

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