Part 7: Keep listening, building and testing

Part 7of the series written in Partnership with Auxilia Global to explore the various steps entailed in product development in going from idea to product to launch. Last week, we explored how to prepare for and launch your product. This week we are going to explore how to keep iterating on your product, adding value and listening to your customers. This is the last part in the series.

You can find the previous articles below:

Evolving your feedback loop

During part 5, we explored how to build your feedback loop to get continuous feedback from your early adopters and translate their needs into features. That was mainly based on qualitative feedback. Now, it’s time to also start paying attention to data. The combination of qualitative and quantitative feedback will give you the insights you need to keep building successful features and products.

Always remember, the launch is just a stop in your wonderful journey of product and venture building. As Jeff Bezos says:

This connection with your customers and your continuous listening of their needs will help your product stay relevant and address real problems; evolve as your customers do and be successful.

You’ve built and tested your feedback loop and you shall keep doing so as long as your product exists. The biggest change that will come now that you’ve launched is more customers, more feedback and more data. It is important to keep track of the feedback you receive, categorise it, prioritise it and generate insights. First, think of all the feedback sources you may have for your product. These could be:

  • Product reviews (Trustpilot, Product Hunt, websites, blogs, etc.)
  • App store reviews
  • Feedback received through email
  • Video reviews
  • User interviews
  • In-product feedback

These and similar ones are your sources of qualitative feedback. These guided your early steps of product development and will keep on doing so. Build a way to keep track of the feedback in one place, so you can group similar feedback, recognise themes, and understand the biggest pain points of your customers.

Your quantitative data sources could be:

  • Feature and product usage
  • Retention
  • New customers / total number of customers
  • Week on week / month on month growth
  • Revenue growth
  • Surveys
  • Ratings

and any other metrics you may have set depending on your product. The important thing is to keep track of the changes and the trends that may be appearing. As Talia Wolf put it:

Qualitative data in the form of first-hand feedback is what will allow you to discover the ‘whys’ behind your users.

It may be that in the early days after launch the data still doesn’t make sense, and this is ok. Just keep an eye on it and you’ll know when it does. For example, imagine you’ve just launched a new feature, the data sources will help you understand whether this had the impact you expected. Have your customers started using this feature? Do they come back more often because of it? Or did the new feature cause frustration and drop in usage? This continuous receival of both qualitative and quantitative feedback, solution generation, testing, learning and measure of impact is what’s going to help you build an amazing product.

Product testing

Before I let you go back on your extraordinary journey of product building, I’d like to highlight the importance of testing. We’ve mentioned it as part of the feedback loop, but I’d like to share a couple of examples of what this could look like in more practical terms.

As data starts making sense, you have an incredible opportunity to also perform quick experimentation. Is your sign-up rate less than ideal? Why not try a different onboarding experience? Build and test it. Did it increase your sign-up rate? If yes, great! If not, try a different way. Keep trying new solutions until you are able to see a positive change. Use the qualitative feedback to understand why the sign-up rate is low.

Is your retention low? Think of the main pain points your customers have mentioned. Have you been able to address them? If you feel this is the case, maybe the solution is too complicated or requires too much effort. Reduce the steps and measure the impact. If you feel the solution doesn’t address the problem, think of a different solution, build and test. Keep testing until you get it right.

Closing remarks

Building a product is an amazing journey full of ups and downs, critical feedback, creative thinking, testing, team building, human connection. It is a journey of empathy, listening and building. One that will be exceptionally rewarding, but also daunting and uncomfortable. Together with your amazing team you’ll be able to hold each other through the tough times supporting one another, learning from each other, growing and celebrating your successes.

I would like to thank you for taking this journey with me, I have greatly enjoyed it and I hope you have to. I will leave you with my favourite poem from Cavafy, Ithaca. I believe it is a wonderful representation of how a start-up building journey can be and feel like!

Ithaca, by C. P. Cavafy

Best of luck on your product journey!

Feel free to reach out at any time, I’d love to hear your product story!

Passionate venture builder | Driven to create impact — through strong teams, products that deliver value and investments

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