In today’s world of small business, your should definitely listen to what your customers want. You can grow your business by quickly implementing customer feedback or suggestions to improve your services and increase customer satisfaction. However, gaining customer feedback to begin with can be expensive and time-consuming for small businesses. It’s important to get it right because poor customer research can result in your company making inaccurate assumptions about what your market wants, or listening to a base of customers who don’t represent your top clients. You need to do more than ask the occasional customer their opinion- small businesses need to get organized!
One company who has done a stand up job addressing this problem is Loomio. Let’s look at how they were able to experience dramatic growth by utilizing their customers, and effectively implementing changes based on customer feedback. They achieved sky-high levels of customer satisfaction because they created the product of their users’ dreams!
Case Study: Loomio
Loomio’s app is designed to enhance group decision making. Especially key for remote teams, Loomio allows everyone that has a stake in a decision to voice their opinion and have an impact, by avoiding the need to travel to a meeting or navigate a long email chain to determine a consensus. To rise above the competition, they needed to build a unique product that would quickly win over new customers.
Create A Community Space
From their early user-base, Loomio cultivated a loyal group of users who were dedicated to using their product, and wanted to help make improvements to the service. Loomio directed their active users to post their requests or issues on a well run, active community section on its website. Similar to a discussion board, this approach fostered instant feedback and involvement from the earliest adopters.
Explain Your Roadmap
Loomio then created a publicly viewable, and interactive Features Roadmap, where they detailed all the planned upcoming features and changes to the product (What is “a Roadmap”? A listing of which features and changes are coming, and when they might come). Loomio did this using a favorite organizational app here at Funding Gates, Trello.
Loomio named the board Roadmap, and each list was dedicated to different stages of developing (Working On, Next, Soon, Later, Ideas Backlog). In each column they dropped ideas that had been suggested within the community section, and invited their uses to vote on various ideas to help them prioritize its development. Loomio users can see their idea progress through the development stages, every step of the way.
Most importantly, the users of Loomio can vote on an idea so it will be developed faster. For example. if most users agree that the search bar is more important than other features, they can tell the Loomio developers by voting for that feature, and it will be available sooner.
Of course, the most exciting aspect of this development board is when an idea gets moved to “Live”! By displaying feature accomplishments in this way, the development team signals to their Loomio users that they are working hard to deploy new features, and the users feel a sense of accomplishment themselves! When your customers see positive changes being made to the product, they feel overall higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Loomio has used this model to develop the vast majority of it’s core features in areas such as user interface design, privacy settings, email notifications and concepts integral to the way Loomio helps users perform its key function– making decisions. They have created a better product, but most importantly it is the product of their users dreams! Customer satisfaction amongst Loomio users is off the charts!
The discussions amongst Loomio’s community of contributors have gone far beyond just helping Loomio add new features to its app. The community has also established several best practice guides for using the software, and expanded efforts to globalize the application– Loomio has now spread to over 70 countries worldwide and has been translated into 22 different languages.
How can you implement this for your developing company?
Here is a breakdown of Loomio’s community-driven development process:
• Identify key users (high level users, the ideal types of users you hope to attract, loyal customers)
• Open a dialog with them. Ask their opinions, and listen to what they have to say.
• Encourage your users to be a permanent part of improving the product.
• Give them a forum to discuss problem areas, and suggest new features that they’d like to see. You can do this via a community forum on your webpage, periodic survey, or a form that can be submitted.
• Create a roadmap for your users to observe the development process. If possible, allow them to remain involved with comments, or voting. Take your users’ preferences into consideration when prioritizing new features.
• Display accomplished features to demonstrate your dedication to frequently making product improvements, based on customer feedback (you wanted a search bar, and you got a search bar!).
• Keep asking and polling your users!