How to use customer data to improve your product

Learn how to use customer data to influence your product road map, and build something people actually want to use.

Do you know what improvements you need to make to your product? Some businesses will make edits to a product based on what needs ‘fixing’ or what the team believes to be the priority. But what is this based on? Assumption or data or both? 

Product development and the prioritization of improvements to a product are made clear in the customer data. Let’s explore this further. 

The use of customer data to improve a product 

Your customer will tell you what improvements are the most important for the product, but not always directly. 

As Magda Griffiths, the Senior Product Manager at Gumtree, told Upflowy on the Net Positive Podcast, how people use the product will allow you to work out what you need to do to build a good experience and a better product. 

Data storage and analytics from your product or various platforms within your business will help understand what is best for the user. Still, the data needs to be centralized to get the complete picture. 

Getting these foundations right is the key to the next steps in what product improvements are the biggest priority. 

These insights can also be used to retarget users to continue to come back and use the product. 

For example, emails and push notifications from an app. This doesn’t mean spam, but by working with the marketing department, a product team can work on an ideal amount of retargeting to help bring people back to the product.

The more users in your product, the more data and insights you will get! 

Obtaining insights from customers 

The first thing you need to remember is you don’t always have to ask users for what they want, you can see that from the usage of the product. As mentioned above, this is where the data can be very insightful. 

However, as Magda Griffiths explained about her time at Gumtree, they look to do customer research every 3-4 weeks to get a finger on what they should be doing to improve the product.

For Product Managers, this helps to build the roadmap and work on prioritizing the backlog while marrying it with A/B testing and experiments. 

This type of customer research can be done through focus groups with open-ended questions. These focus group questions should create no bias and leave out any mention or lean towards features the product team wants to integrate. 

The goal of these groups is to have customers talk about their experience, their frustrations and concerns. It is about getting a complete picture of their own experience. 

Within these focus groups, be mindful of the tone and body language used by the interviewer, and aim to keep it as neutral as possible. This is to get better insights into what you should build and why you should build it. When positive or negative tones and certain body language are used, it can unintentionally influence the interviewee. 

The future of customer data and ethics

Web3 is changing how businesses collect data from potential, new and existing customers. We will see the user having more power over their data and what information they give to a business. 

This makes the protection of the data you have very important. Users need to trust that the data you have is being used ethically and with good intentions, which will help improve their experience.

While each business is here to make money, it is important to remember that a product is also created to make the lives of the user easier. To create an impact for them.

Focus on the “why” of the product and use this “why” to create improvements that will not just make more money but will make the user’s life better (your transformation). 

Final thoughts 

Building a product always comes with iteration even after launching a new feature or update, nothing is ever "done" or finished. Continue to learn more about your customer and how they use your product through the patterns of use and the data you collect. 

Get rich data to help improve your product with Upflowy. From a flow, you can learn more about your audience than any third-party cookies. We offer analytics and insights to help gain insights into how users interact with your product. 

Want more? check out the podcast with Magda Griffiths, the Senior Product Manager at Gumtree, part of eBay. We discuss how data is used at Gumtree, what ethical dilemmas are involved with using customer data and how to apply the whole team in building new features.

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