When it comes to making decisions about your product, data is your best ammunition. Between analytics, surveys, support tickets, and customer testing, there are plenty of opportunities for your product management team to collect information about your customers’ experiences.
While data is both accessible and abundant, knowing how to use it to drive continuous product recommendations isn’t necessarily intuitive. Customer Validation (CV) is one of the main ways product managers are generating insights about their target market. But without a process for collecting and organizing customer data, it’s difficult to guarantee your insights will fuel your product management goals.
In a recent webinar, Centercode Product Manager Chris Rader shared 3 essential tactics for boosting the impact of pre-release customer tests. Here’s his advice to product management experts like you who want to align their feedback collection processes with their end goals.
1) Collect profile data
Knowing who your customers are, where they live, and the products in their immediate environment helps you understand their needs. That’s why profiling your testers is so important. Collecting profile data is the first step in guaranteeing that you’re recruiting the right people and that your CV data will support your product management goals.
Start By: Using a screener or qualification survey
Collecting profile data through a qualification survey ensures that testers in your target market aren’t getting mixed up with unqualified candidates. If you’re using your customer relationship management (CRM) tool or a tool with recruitment capabilities like the Centercode Platform, you’ll have some of this information already. If not, Google Forms or surveys are both great tools to get you started.
How Profile Data Helps Your Product Management Goals
- Ensures product feedback is relevant to your specific target market
- Enables you to segment your tester pool for specific tasks
- Allows more detail and nuance when you slice your data
- Makes it possible to pinpoint priority issues affecting specific groups of testers
Check out the Qualification Survey section of our free Beta Tester Recruitment Kit.
2) Organize Your Feedback into Types
Within CV testing, you’ll typically see three types of feedback: issues (problems or defects), ideas (feature requests), and praise (delightful product experiences). These feedback types are inherent to every project — meaning they’ll pop up whether you ask testers for them or not. Organizing your feedback into issues, ideas, and praise makes it easier to prioritize fixes, guide your roadmap, and identify what your customers love about your product.
Out of clutter, find simplicity.
Start By: Creating a channel for each feedback type
By creating distinct channels where your testers can share their issues, ideas, and praise about your product, you’re making it easier to surface what matters to them. Using forms or surveys instead of email also cuts down the time it takes to triage this data.
How Organizing Feedback Helps Your Product Management Goals
- Creates a clear path for prioritizing key issues and ideas
- Makes it easier to triage and report on your data
- Enables faster follow-up with testers when you need more information
You can learn all about handling issues, ideas, and praise in the Feedback Playbook.
3) Map Your Product
During your CV project, it’s important to collect feedback on the product areas that matter most to your team and stakeholders. The most straightforward way to do this is by making an outline of your product’s experiences or features and creating activities for testing each one. Dividing features and experiences into topics (or scenarios) and spreading the testing activities out over the course of your project directs tester feedback to the topics that need it without overwhelming them.
Start By: Aligning tester feedback with relevant product areas
When creating forms to collect tester feedback, include a dropdown list of product areas and ask testers to select the one their issue, idea, or praise is for. By narrowing feedback to a specific experience, you’ll save time when it comes to sorting through your data. It also enables you to identify areas that need attention (or don’t) more quickly.
How Mapping Helps Your Product Management Goals
- Makes it easier to report to stakeholders on specific product areas
- Aids in identifying the features or experiences that should have roadmap priority
- Makes it easier to clean and organize your product backlog
The free Beta Test Planning Kit contains strategies and worksheets for mapping your product into key features and experiences.
Ready to Dive In?
Dig into real-world tactics for supporting your product management goals through effective Customer Validation. Watch the on-demand webinar, Taming Product Management Priorities with Customer Feedback to get started.