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It is all too common for dev teams to focus only on tech, without paying enough attention to user feedback. This approach often results in a product that is technologically sound but just does not resonate with the target audience. Customer experience can make or break a product, so integrating user feedback into every step of the software delivery pipeline is extremely important. In today’s over-saturated tech market, the customers, for better or worse, are always right., Here are a couple of ways you can leverage customer feedback and boost sales.

Be Transparent From Day One

It is easy to overlook transparency, especially early on when a lot of focus is placed on efficiency and ensuring a quick time to market. This can make clients and customers not trust the product and feel alienated. To avoid such a scenario, software development teams need to have open and transparent communication with customers and clients alike.

Having at least one business analyst on your team ensures there is a committed point of contact for end users as well as product stakeholders. The analyst is there to bridge the gap between end users and developers by relating requirements and keeping an eye on feedback and any issues that impede progress. A common mistake IT companies make is to scramble to find a business analyst only after development is well under way.

The analyst should take an active roll at the very start of the project in order to set goals and establish clear two way communication between developers and clients early on. By assessing capacity and defining achievable milestones in advance, the business analyst helps set realistic client expectations and makes them feel more involved in the entire process. In addition, having a single point of contact for client feedback frees up developers to focus on coding without having to constantly shift to different tasks in response to client and user requests.

Continuous Testing

In the past, user testing consisted mostly of interviewing clients to gather information about which features they liked or disliked and why. This approach, however, is rather slow and does not scale up well. Such traditional UX/UI data gathering practices are becoming obsolete with the advancement of online analytics tools that track user’s online behavior in real time.

Heat maps show exactly what users are focusing on and for how long, and this information can provide valuable insight on how to improve the user experience. If you have a lot of text blocks on your website, for example, you can quickly see which ones are being read and which ones are not receiving attention.

Analytic tools allow businesses to see how their audience behaves and interacts with websites and apps. More advanced features can let you analyze your audience in depth; for example male and female users often use online products differently, as do different age groups. This information can be used to fine tune your product and ultimately get more conversions.

If you notice that a lot of users routinely hover in an empty area of a page, this might be an indication that you should make a feature or CTA available in that spot. If there is a lot of activity in the top corners of a page it indicates that users are looking for a way to either close a window or navigate to another page. Testing often and proactively adapting software to improve user experience gives users what they need, before they even now they need it.

Instead of passively waiting for feedback, a great strategy is to provide your users with a platform they can use to voice their opinions and interact with peers. Enterprise social networks such as Yammer and Chatter can be used to build a community. Not only will you always know what users think of your product, but they can also help one another with knowledge sharing and troubleshooting.

Taking an active role in your online community builds trust and strengthens your brand. User confidence grows if they can see for themselves that your development process is transparent and honest.Reports from analysing community feedback can provide dev teams with an overview of the most common issues and bugs. If users are frequently coming up against a bug or blocker, it is a sign that fixing it should be high on the list of task priorities. A thriving online community also provides a valuable platform for announcing upcoming features and updates.

Keep in touch

Transactional emails have become commonplace in the IT industry, and are often regarded as a necessary notice to customers. These emails are sent after a user takes an action such as creating an account, upgrading to a new plan or signing up to a service. Unfortunately, these transactional emails are all to often developed as an afterthought and not much effort is put into their content and design.

Investing the appropriate time and resources in creating engaging and effective transactional emails allows companies to establish a mutually beneficial dialogue with customers. These emails have a far greater open rate than other promotional emails and newsletters, making them an extremely valuable marketing tool. The reason for this is simple: users expect and actually want to receive them, as it confirms that they have successfully interacted with your app or website.

What’s more, transactional emails provide the perfect platform for collecting customer feedback in the form of a short survey. Upgrading their membership or signing up to a new service is a positive experience for users, so asking for feedback at this juncture is likely to provide valuable data and increase customer loyalty. That being said, it is never a good idea to burden customers with too many questions. Ask the right question at the right time and you will be well on your way to a successful customer-driven development strategy.