At Bloomfire, listening to customers is an important part of my everyday routine. Hopefully, it’s an important part of any Client Success Manager’s role. Listening to customer’s needs and expectations is a great way to show that you value the partnership you have with your customers. Customers are the most valuable resource to any company, not only in revenue but also from the feedback which they can provide.
Each company I have worked with uses customer feedback in a variety of ways. I have found the most effective way to incorporate feedback is being able to measure how many clients are asking for the same thing. In this way, we can justify a product feature or improvement that is driven directly by client requests. This may sound simple, but any product team or client success team knows that this is easier said than done. It takes a lot of negotiation and tracking to justify your customer’s needs. It also brings into play that while each request may use different terminology, a lot of the requests are the same. Being able to identify and group those together is vital.
My favorite method of discovering what customer’s needs are is with a regular phone call. Clients that are always the first to use new features, can provide valuable insight for their use cases, or those with a large user base are the most valuable in terms of providing feedback. Depending on how heavy their use case is, regular calls can be weekly, semi-weekly or monthly. I like to share a rolling agenda that allows them to add items they would like to discuss. I usually go over any product announcements, plans or bug fixes that could directly impact their use case. Once I demo a planned feature or bug fix, I usually will ask a direct question such as “Will this work for you?” or “Do you have any concerns?” and then just let the client speak. Typically they will elaborate with some great feedback!
Our product roadmap calls are a great way for our customers to hear about what changes we have made as well as what features are coming up. Clients love to hear about what changes are coming. Oftentimes, they can provide planned examples of use cases on features that haven’t even been announced yet. Our product team can utilize this valuable feedback to hone the details of the features or even strategize on how it could improve their workflow.
Setting aside time to proactively connect with our customers over the phone is a great way to ensure that our product is meeting their needs today, and into the future. The key to successful customer calls is to actively listen to what they are saying, and ask probing questions to tease out their needs if they don’t share them explicitly. We use the data we gather from customer calls to prioritize which features to add to Bloomfire and when. Since we focus so much on our client needs, our roadmap includes features that will benefit the greatest number of Bloomfire customers.