Customer-Centric Product Development: Build Products With Customers In Mind

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A product team can develop or upgrade a product in two ways. The first is what we call product-centric, i.e., not caring about customer experience and simply focusing on the product. The second way is customer-centric, i.e., taking customers’ feedback into consideration when developing a product. 

Often companies become obsessed with their product. In their belief that their product is unique and has features that no other competitor has, they forget the deciding factor of market success: the customers or consumers. 

If a customer has a poor experience with your product, they won’t hesitate to change the company. That’s why many companies are starting to shift towards a customer-centric product development approach. 

 A customer-centric product development ensures that you have a solid foundation and are not too caught up in your priorities. In this blog, we will learn how you can lead your product team with a customer-centric approach. 

What is customer-centric product development?

Customer centricity revolves around customers and focuses on providing a positive customer experience. Customer-centric product development is the process of understanding customers’ wants, needs, pain points, and desires to build products and services that add value. 

The customer-centric product design requires actively listening to customers’ feedback. Gather customers’ voices using surveys and feedback forms to build solutions that resolve their pain points or deliver benefits. It focuses heavily on providing the best CX that helps nurture customer loyalty and boost repeat business. 

How is customer centric different from product-centric?

A product-centric company focuses on innovating products. The priority is the output that is developing features rather than the outcome, which is the value it offers to the customers. 

However, the customer-centric organization focuses on creating the best experience for its customers. The aim is to develop products that add value to the customers’ life and resolve their concerns. 

To better understand why customer-centric product development is a better approach, let’s look at its impact. 

Related read: How to become a customer-centric organization?

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What is the impact of customer-centricity on product development?

Customer-centric product development means every product or service you develop traces back to the target customers’ pain points or needs. This approach puts customer feedback at the core of the product development process, which aligns with the end goal of delivering products that customers love. 

Let’s look the how gathering customer feedback impacts product development.

1. It helps the product team innovate products customers love: 

Gathering customer feedback helps the product team understand what’s working well about the products/services and what can be improved. The customer-centric approach enables you to put customers’ problems and needs at the heart of product development. This helps minimize the risk of developing the wrong product/service. 

2. It helps dictate a product roadmap:

You don’t want to build a complex product that your company is excited about but doesn’t offer any benefit to the users. The customer-centric product development approach helps you gain insights into your customers’ thoughts about the product concept and identify the new features/products they need. 

3. It makes you aware of the product adoption:

Will the new product be received well by the target audience? 

Gathering customer feedback helps you understand the market risk if you decide to launch a product. It gives you insight into the demand and the need for an update or new product. It also helps you learn about customer experience and their willingness to recommend. 

4. It improves customer experience:

The best way to deliver a positive experience is to ask customers what they want from your company or what you need to improve. Every interaction customer has with your company indicates the driver for loyalty. 

Using their feedback, you can estimate their satisfaction with your products and what they expect you to improve. This helps you ensure they are satisfied with your product and services and improve experiences whenever you can. 

Additional read: Customer-first approach and why you need it.

Read how Voxco helped Stratégir evolve product testing with Voxco multi-mode.

Best practices of customer-centric product development

Customer-centric product development can convert a passive customer into a loyal customer or a product ambassador. Keeping customers present and having a transparent product development process influence a long-term relationship. 

1. Bring customer feedback to the center:

What are the customers dissatisfied with? What will bring more value to them? What would they be able to do with the products?

As a customer-centric product team, you should be aware of the customer’s voice at every stage of development. This will help you to identify the customers’ concerns and find an effective way to resolve them. Leverage a product experience platform to gather customer feedback at each stage. 

While you can’t listen to all the demands or requests, you can identify the ones based on priority. Maybe there are requests for 20 different features that resolve the same problem. You can prioritize the common problem and funnel the rest. 

2. Involve customers while you build:

This brings us to the customer-centric design approach, where you focus on designing an intuitive user experience. Gather customer data at the beginning of the product design to focus on every detail of the user journey and prioritize problem-solving. 

Survey users on how you can create a problem that addresses their problem. Involve users in the ideation stage. Gather customer feedback using product concept surveys and combine their suggestions with your ideas. 

Feedback can help you brainstorm ideas all the way until the launch and even after. Utilize online survey tools to gather responses to inform your product/service development. 

3. Communicate with your customers:

Keep customers informed and show them you are listening to their requests. Communication can implement trust and transparency in the otherwise transactional customer-company relationship. 

Close the customer feedback loop by informing them about how you plan to resolve their concerns. Let them know whether you will use their suggestion. And if not, inform them about the feature or product that will resolve their concerns and meet their needs. 

Communicating with customers and sharing with them your product roadmap can help you earn empathy and nurture loyalty. 

4. Keep everyone within the company aligned:

From sales to the product team, every department should centralize customer knowledge to ensure that the product team listens to the customers. 

The sales team is aware of the customer’s demands and queries. While the customer service team has the knowledge of pain points and gaps. This means every team is accountable for passing down the feedback to the product team. The product manager and decision-makers can use the integrated insights to prioritize feedback. 

Additional read:  Walmart expands its Online Grocery PickUp Service & increases product variety to 7000 on customer need with Voxco.

Voxco is trusted by 500+ global brands & the top 50 MR firms to gather data, measure sentiment, uncover insights, and act on them.

See how Voxco can enhance your research efficiencies. 

Conclusion

Becoming a customer-centric product development company takes time and effort. It involves a tedious path of aligning everyone with the shared goal of putting customers at the heart of the business and building products that customers love. 

However, customer-centricity is a competitive advantage. You create a company that not only focuses on the current customers but also anticipates the needs of the prospect.

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