In the information age, businesses know that investing in data analysis is an increasingly potent method of gaining a competitive edge. By harvesting a wide swath of data from across various sources, any organization can derive useful interpretations of consumer wants and needs which in turn inform their next strategic decisions. After all, if you were to invest considerable time and money in delivering a product or service to the market, wouldn’t you want to take steps to ensure that the consumer response will be positive?
The quality and variety of information sources thus becomes essential to taking effective actions, improving services, and driving product innovation. Rather than listening only to the feedback of a very vocal minority, here are some additional sources of product information that any company could use.
In-depth consumer reviews
The best place to look for useful feedback is directly from the consumers themselves, but there are many channels from which such information can be obtained; it becomes necessary to filter the data, as quality may vary. Knee-jerk responses are common, yet while a consumer may have every right to be disappointed when receiving a shoe in the wrong size, reviews of this sort aren’t very useful. Dedicated sites and blogs often go in-depth when reviewing products within their niche, and are a great source of feedback; specialized forums can also provide a lot of insight into how users are experiencing the product.
Sales and support interactions
Customer support personnel often receive an earful of feedback from every consumer who’s encountered an issue with a product. These interactions can reveal exactly how consumers are using the product and where they may be encountering difficulties. Sales personnel also interact with a lot of people who haven’t yet experienced the product but may be seeking new features. Ensuring that the sales and support team has access to proper documentation features within the CRM platform helps capture this sort of information for review.
Businesses don’t often relish the prospect of dealing with product returns, but while they represent a reduction in profit margins, returns can be mined for insight into the nature of defects and product usage to make the returns process less painful. A good warranty management system facilitates the validation of repairs and aggregation of data with capabilities of analyzing the root causes of product failure.
Suppliers and development
While the development team and various partners along the supply chain may not have many opportunities to experience or use a product which they helped manufacture, their involvement gives them a unique perspective in providing valuable information on process innovation and improvement. Such internal sources of knowledge can be an integral link with external data sources, helping businesses to implement new features with ease while also navigating supply chain restrictions.
Any organization seeking to improve its products and services will also have to take direction from its leaders. Executes and other key decision-makers may take time to gather and review available data, but it’s this same access to a top-down perspective that makes information from leadership necessary in making strategic decisions to improve products and services.
As we move further into the age of big data, it becomes even more crucial to find quality information. Making use of the right sources will help businesses to better understand and serve the needs of their consumers.