Written and contributed by Curtis Morris, CEO @ Qualaroo
Few things are worse than pouring your first cup of coffee on Monday morning, grabbing the half and half out of the fridge and adding it to your coffee only to realize that it has gone bad.
The coffee is ruined.
You are going to be late to work if you make another pot.
Now you have to make a trip to the store for a new half and half.
One famous example of feedback with a shelf life can be found at Blackberry. When Apple and Google entered the smartphone market, Blackberry (armed with feedback!) took an “It’s OK—we’ll be fine” approach to competition. This confidence was fueled by the executive team at Blackberry believing that their users would not abandon the physical keyboard for a digital alternative. After all, users loved the tactile feedback and ease of use that a physical QWERTY keyboard offered. What the Blackberry team failed to realize was the feedback they gathered about their keyboard had a shelf life.
In early 2010 (3 years after the first iPhone launched), Blackberry realized that consumers valued other features over their keyboard but the damage had already been done. In 2012 the share price for Blackberry (BB) was down 95% from it’s all time high of $148.13. It only took Blackberry 4 years to go from a business that controlled nearly 50% of the world’s smartphone market to a company that had negligible market share and was struggling to keep itself afloat.
It’s impossible to say if a world class feedback cycle alone could have saved Blackberry, but one thing is certain:
The good news is that keeping your user feedback fresh is pretty straight forward. All you need to do is ask the right person the right question at exactly the right time, and most importantly, act on what you learn. If the Blackberry executive team had not taken an “It’s OK—we’ll be fine” approach to competition and instead had put a feedback strategy in place that targeted both existing and potential customers, then the outcome of their company could have been very different.
In Blackberry’s case, there are at least 3 profiles for who the right person is, to survey:
Customers who are canceling
Customizing this feedback strategy to fit to your customer/prospect’s individual needs will result in a constant stream of relevant feedback for your product, sales, marketing and support teams. Once a feedback stream is established, you must use the feedback before the end of its shelf life.
The shelf life of your user feedback will vary based on several factors that exist both inside and outside of your business.
Building and maintaining a feedback loop based on these (and other) actions is a great way to ensure that your team is always armed with fresh & relevant feedback to improve your product, brand and service.
If you need help building your feedback loop or just want to chat about feedback in general we would love to hear from you.
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At Qualaroo, we believe that user feedback is at the heart of the success of all businesses. Our mission is to make user research faster, easier, and more accessible for companies of all shapes and sizes.
When it comes to methods of gathering feedback, the gold standard for marketers is the in-person focus group. This format offers an opportunity to gather opinions, verbal feedback, and observation of attitudes about your product. However, focus groups can also be costly and time-consuming, which can be prohibitive for small teams or small budgets. But this shouldn’t hold you back from gathering high-quality feedback.
At Qualaroo, we know that user feedback should be integral to your UX and digital product strategy. After all, your product, sales, and marketing teams are not mind readers. User feedback contextualizes what your users want and eliminates the guesswork of product development.
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