- What is an Agile Customer Feedback Loop?
- Examples of Feedback Loops
- 5 Ways Customer Feedback Can Improve Your B2B SaaS Product
- Best Practices for Implementing an Agile Customer Feedback Loop
- 5 Habits of a Team That Takes Feedback & Turns It Into Action
- Metrics to Measure Success
- Integrating Feedback Into Product Development
- Balancing Customer Feedback with Stakeholder Priorities
- Tips for Communicating Feedback to Users
- The Future of Customer Feedback & Ongoing Iteration
As product strategy consultants and senior UX/UI designers at Scenic West, we understand the importance of regularly collecting and analyzing user feedback to stay on top of trends, uncover pain points, iterate quickly, and create user-centered designs that scale. We work with teams to adopt and implement an Agile customer feedback loop into their product development process. In this blog, we will guide you through the key concepts and strategies involved in implementing an Agile customer feedback loop, empowering you to harness the power of customer insights for continuous improvement and innovation. We've written down some examples of feedback loops and discuss how customer feedback can enhance B2B SaaS products, including best practices, metrics to measure success, and more.
What is an Agile Customer Feedback Loop?
An Agile customer feedback loop is the continuous process of collecting and analyzing user feedback. In the traditional waterfall method of product development, gathering feedback has been done at fixed intervals, whereas an Agile feedback loop emphasizes the importance of ongoing communication between customers throughout the product life cycle.
For B2B SaaS products, this continuous feedback and communication with customers is essential, but open feedback like this hasn’t always been available. Remember when buying a software product was at a one-time cost for whatever version was available to you? Web application and native app subscriptions have enabled SaaS teams to keep an open line of communication with users, allowing them to identify high return-on-investment feature opportunities and improvements. This positions SaaS teams to both stay competitive in the market and scale their product.
Agile customer feedback loops should have multiple inputs including analytics tools, user tests, customer interviews, and conversations with your sales and customer support teams. Ultimately your exact approach to an Agile customer feedback loop depends on your product, customers, and where you’re at in the product life cycle. The best fit for your team may also depend on the time and resources available to spend collecting and analyzing feedback. It’s okay to start small, but you’ll see the most value out of consistent, ongoing feedback collection and analysis. You’ll also need to have a process for regularly prioritizing the opportunities you identify and iterating on your product for continuous improvement.
Examples of Feedback Loops
Feedback loops are essential to ongoing product success and team efficiency. Not only do they enable Product Managers to gather valuable insights, but they enable them to prioritize product updates, and new feature opportunities, and strengthen their ability to make decisions backed by data.
Here’s an example of what a feedback loop looks like for a Product Manager that’s part of a B2B SaaS product team and follows a two-week sprint cycle using Scrum.
Sprint Feedback Loop
- Review customer feedback coming in through customer support in a systematic way to tag and prioritize opportunities.
- Review analytics dashboard or high-level key metrics for 5-10 minutes a day to keep a pulse on trends.
- Measure and monitor recent product improvements that were prioritized based on customer feedback to validate they made a positive impact on key metrics.
- Use the product on a regular basis as a real user would
- Review a sample of user session recordings
- Talk to a few customers via email or chat to ask questions relevant to upcoming product priorities
- If any bugs or issues requiring a fast fix are identified, prioritize those for the development team for the next sprint or, when necessary, have a process for escalating something for a mid-sprint hotfix.
On a monthly basis, a Product Manager may follow a routine similar to this.
Monthly Feedback Loop
- Talk to the sales team and review notes from recent calls and share information about recent product updates
- Conduct or review user research related to current and upcoming product priorities. The user research can vary depending on current areas of focus and related open questions, so this might be a few moderated user interviews one month and unmoderated prototype user tests another.
- Use competitor products and review new features or other product changes. Ask existing and prospective customers their opinions of these products.
- Review analytics reports, heatmaps, and user funnel trends in more detail.
- Review the existing product backlog and roadmap to assess if changes may be needed.
- Review and brainstorm new product opportunities with your team and stakeholders based on highlights from customer feedback analysis. Consider conducting prioritization exercises as needed to ensure the team is focusing on the highest-value opportunities.
- Communicate recently deployed product improvements and related impacts to key metrics to the team.
A Product Manager doesn’t have to follow this exact same routine, but it may be helpful to implement a systematic approach to capturing feedback, reviewing it, and collaborating with cross-functional teams to implement the changes.
5 Ways Customer Feedback Can Improve Your B2B SaaS Product
Implementing an Agile customer feedback system in your B2B SaaS product can open up a path of communication between you and your customers. This enables your Scrum team to identify top priorities that align with your stakeholders' needs to increase user engagement, reduce churn, and position your product to scale.
Here are 5 ways customer feedback can help improve your B2B SaaS product:
- Usability: Collecting feedback from users can help you identify usability issues and actionable ways to improve the user experience of your B2B SaaS app.
- Add new features or functionality: Customer feedback can provide valuable insights into what aspects of your product users care about and what they might be missing. Understanding this feedback can help you prioritize quick wins during your product development to create a product that meets its users' wants and needs.
- Improve onboarding and training: If users are dropping off before completing a form or having trouble utilizing your product to its full potential, collecting user feedback can help you streamline your user onboarding process and increase user engagement.
- Increase customer satisfaction and retention: By maintaining constant communication with customers and fixing bugs or updating features, you can increase customer satisfaction and reduce the risk of churn.
- Stay ahead of your competitors: User feedback can help you stay ahead of the competition and react to emerging trends and market opportunities. By listening to your customers and understanding their needs, you can provide a solution that addresses pain points unique to your industry
Best Practices for Implementing an Agile Customer Feedback Loop
Optimizing your B2B SaaS user experience is crucial to succeed in today’s tech landscape, collecting and analyzing user feedback should be a top priority. One of the best ways to collect and respond to user feedback quickly is through an Agile customer feedback loop.
Our team of UX/UI designers and product strategists specialize in Agile product design where we collaborate and iterate on projects to meet client’s goals and their user’s needs. After goal setting, conducting user research, and exploring potential solutions, we refine it with agile customer feedback loops.
Here are some best practices we recommend for collecting and analyzing user feedback:
- Design clickable prototypes to test with groups of users or other individuals who share similar demographics as your key user persona. You can use unmoderated user testing tools like UserBrain or UserZoom to efficiently conduct prototype user testing, without guidance from an instructor to explore initial behavior.
- Keep a pulse on user analytics by regularly looking at dashboards and keeping an eye on high-level KPIs. This can help you keep tabs on interesting trends and lead to further investigation as you conduct analytics reporting biweekly or monthly.
- Use user session recording and heatmap tools like HotJar or SmartLook to complement your analytics tools and user research. User session recordings can also be useful to the product team for identifying or troubleshooting bugs.
- Don’t forget to take a look and regularly use your product, and competitor’s products, to gain insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
- Periodically conduct user interviews, surveys, and user testing with existing customers to see how they are interacting with your product. This type of user research can inform your product roadmap and ensure that recent changes are valuable and easy to use for your customers.
- Keep a regular cadence of reviewing your competitor’s products either monthly or quarterly. This way, you can identify market trends and stay ahead of the curve with your own product.
- Work with your sales and customer service teams to establish customer feedback processes that allow the product team to easily review and prioritize product opportunities. As the feedback comes in try to review it in a systematic way, either weekly or biweekly.
It’s important to regularly check in with your team to monitor if the feedback you’re collecting is actually being transformed into actionable product improvements, here’s a short list of 5 rituals and habits we keep in mind as we are collecting feedback.
5 Habits of a Team That Takes Feedback & Turns It Into Action
- Product teams are regularly reviewing insights and product opportunities from the collected feedback with stakeholders.
- Cross-functional team members are involved in the feedback collection and review process to encourage a feedback-centric culture and build buy-in for product recommendations
- Prioritization exercises are regularly conducted whether it’s the MoSCoW method or a value vs. effort matrix to filter product opportunities based on high-value enhancements and facilitate alignment on where to invest time and resources.
- Product teams consistently measure and monitor product improvements to understand impacts made to key metrics like customer satisfaction, user engagement, and retention.
- Continue to collect feedback and iterate based on learnings.
Implementing an Agile customer feedback loop can help you create products and services that align with your user’s needs and allow you to continuously exceed their expectations. Following these best practices can help your SaaS stay competitive and relevant in the market.
Metrics to Measure Success
When your product team is keeping tabs on SaaS performance, generally, these are areas you’ll want to focus on:
- User engagement: Measuring this can give you insight into whether or not your product is providing your user value. Metrics to measure performance over time include the number of daily and weekly users, user sessions, and time spent on the product.
- Customer satisfaction: Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys provide insight into whether or not your product is meeting your user’s needs, the likelihood of retaining existing customers, and whether users will recommend your product to others.
- Sales: For SaaS products, tracking monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and customer retention are critical. Additionally, you should track trial conversion rates and/or lead velocity rates plus lead-to-close rate (LCR). You have to make sure you’re keying existing customers and consistently adding new customers to show overall growth.
After reviewing these metrics, pinpoint areas that require improvement and actively seek customer feedback and insights. By focusing your efforts on customer feedback, user research, and data analysis, you can prioritize the areas that provide the highest value to your product's growth and success.
Integrating Feedback Into Product Development
Integrating customer feedback into the product development process is not only important for B2B SaaS companies, but it's also a fundamental part of Agile methodologies like Scrum. In Scrum, the product owner is responsible for gathering customer feedback and incorporating it into the product backlog. The Scrum team then uses this feedback to prioritize features and functionality that will have the greatest impact on the user experience.
In addition to Scrum, other Agile methodologies like Kanban and Lean Development also emphasize the importance of customer feedback. Kanban focuses on continuously delivering value to the customer, while Lean Startup advocates for using customer feedback to validate assumptions and test hypotheses. Both methodologies require SaaS teams to collect and integrate customer feedback into their product development process.
Regardless of the Agile methodology used, SaaS teams can benefit greatly from integrating customer feedback into their product development process. It helps teams prioritize features and functionality that will have the greatest impact on the user experience and ensures that the product is meeting the needs of its users. By prioritizing customer feedback, SaaS teams can build a product that is truly valuable to their customers and helps them stay ahead of the competition.
Overall, integrating customer feedback into the product development process is essential for B2B SaaS companies that want to build a successful product. It helps teams make informed decisions about the features and functionality that will have the greatest impact on the user experience and ensures that the product is meeting the needs of its users. By incorporating customer feedback into their Agile methodologies, SaaS teams can build a product that truly solves problems for their users and meets their needs.
Balancing Customer Feedback with Stakeholder Priorities
Balancing customer feedback with stakeholder priorities is a crucial part of implementing an Agile customer feedback loop into your B2B SaaS product. While you can gain a ton of information from your customers, it’s also essential to consider your company’s business goals, strategic positioning in the market, and other factors to make holistic decisions when prioritizing your product backlog.
It’s important for product stakeholders to have visibility into the customer feedback insights you’ve gained so they can weigh that in their point of view when providing input to the product roadmap as well. Maintain a consistent line of communication with stakeholders to provide feedback summaries, insights, and recommendations. This will help create alignment within the team on product design and development priorities, as well as gain additional buy-in for investing time and resources into your Agile customer feedback loop.
One way to balance customer feedback with stakeholder priorities is using the MoSCoW method. This method helps teams group product features and prioritize them in the order:
- Must have: These features are essential to meet bottom-line stakeholder needs and user expectations, such as a minimum viable product (MVP) that is necessary to enter the marketplace.
- Should have: These are features and specs that are important, but not imperative to users having a working product.
- Could have: These are "nice to have" features that should be included if they positively affect the product, but not if they negatively affect the timeline or cost.
- Won’t have: These specs are non-essential and don’t affect the product poorly if they’re not included.
One way to conduct these prioritization exercises with remote or dispersed teams is by using tools such as Miro or FigJam. These tools are an excellent way for Product Owners, Developers, and Stakeholders to come together and make informed decisions on feature prioritization, feasibility, and importance. By utilizing these tools, SaaS teams can effectively balance customer feedback with stakeholder priorities and ensure that their product development aligns with both user needs and bottom-line business objectives. With the ability to visualize and organize product features, teams can work together to make informed decisions and prioritize tasks in short increments, ultimately building a product that is positioned for long-term success.
Another popular method for systematically prioritizing product opportunities that materialize through user feedback and stakeholder input is to use a Value vs Effort 2x2 prioritization matrix. This prioritization exercise centers around the team ranking the business value and level of effort of each product opportunity and then plotting them on a 2x2 matrix with business value on the Y axis and level of effort on the X axis.
Tips for Communicating Feedback to Users
After all of the hard work understanding customer feedback, identifying and prioritizing opportunities, and then designing and developing those features or improvements - it’s time to launch! Whether you’re continuously deploying changes to your product or doing periodic releases, it’s important to have a communication plan for sharing product updates with your users. Emails, blog posts, social media posts, and in-app notifications are great ways to do this. Keep in mind that customers may not see every update, so having more than one channel to communicate and reinforce important updates is ideal. When drafting these updates, be sure to build excitement, highlight the intent, and also educate your users on how to use the new feature or navigate changes to the product. Good user experience design will help ensure changes are intuitive, but it’s still important to manage customer relationships and expectations through transparent communication, as well as self-service help and training resources.
The Future of Customer Feedback & Ongoing Iteration
Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a major role in the future of collecting and analyzing customer feedback. While customer support chatbots and user surveys are not new, AI brings the ability to use sentiment analysis and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze open-ended responses at scale efficiently. Previously collected feedback from a large number of customers likely meant leaning on quantitative methods and survey questions. Now, with AI, you can process a large amount of feedback input and tag positive, neutral, and negative customer sentiments. Further, you can look for common feedback categories and identify trends in product requests or what is leading to customer dissatisfaction that needs to be addressed.
AI will also bring advancements in how product teams use analytics to drive product decisions. Predictive analytics capabilities will offer the ability to review historical customer feedback data to predict future behaviors and potential issues. Automated reporting and dashboards will also help teams digest customer feedback and product data faster so they can react in real-time to trends they are seeing in user engagement and customer satisfaction.
In order to deliver business value from your Agile customer feedback loop and stay on top of emerging trends like AI, your product team needs to be continuously deploying product improvements that will improve customer satisfaction and user engagement. This requires a well-defined, clear process for distilling customer feedback into product opportunities and prioritizing those against others with prioritization methods like MoSCoW or Value vs. Effort matrices. These methods provide structured frameworks for prioritizing your product backlog on an ongoing basis.
However, it's not enough to simply prioritize and implement feedback-inspired product improvements. Validation of design concepts through prototype testing or customer feedback is critical to ensure that the proposed changes effectively address customer pain points. Once a product improvement is launched, ongoing monitoring and measurement of key metrics are essential to assess its impact on the overall customer experience.
By leveraging AI-driven analytics, product teams can gain valuable insights from customer feedback, drive continuous improvement, and make data-informed decisions. This integrated approach ensures that the feedback loop remains a vital tool for enhancing customer satisfaction and delivering exceptional user experiences.