Customer feedback is essential for product development and future improvement
Businesses that do not utilise customer testing risk wasting money on launching products that are not fit for purpose. Post-launch, customer feedback is essential to see where you can improve in the future.
Test products in the real world
Trunki puts customers at the heart of its product design process. The business, which has created dozens of travel products for children since its flagship ride-on suitcase, invites parents to test products ahead of any launch.
Founder and CEO Rob Law said it is crucial to test your product in real-life situations during the development phase. Without this, you risk spending money on marketing and manufacturing a product that has obvious flaws to the customer.
“The most important part of the design process is that you understand your target consumer and are addressing their needs. To do that, you need to find out how a product is going to be used in reality and make any adjustments,” Rob said.
Fortunately, the team is largely composed of its target audience – parents. But to avoid creating an echo chamber, the business has created a Trunki lab where parents can sign up to become volunteer testers. This additional feedback has proved invaluable on occasion.
“When we developed our toddler reins, we commissioned ten pre-production samples to send out to users to test. A lot of people picked them up and were flying them horizontally using the strap – we hadn’t realised it could be misused,” Rob explained.
Trunki ended up re-engineering the product and changing the handle, delaying the product launch by a year.
Rob is wary of using focus groups as it is easy to fall into the trap of using them to make every decision, which can slow down your processes. Use them to sense-check products and ideas, but try to factor in a host of different research and data.
“The most important part of the design process is that you understand your target consumer and are addressing their needs."
Rob Law, CEO, Trunki
Keep listening to customers after the launch
Customer feedback is not only an important component of product development for Trunki, it is key to finding elements that can be improved in the future.
When reviewing customer feedback about products, a good option is to divide it into three sections: major issues, minor bugs and feature requests.
Major issues prevent customers from getting the core value out of your product and need to be addressed urgently. Minor bugs do not detract from core value and are less urgent. Feature requests can afford a valuable insight into the needs of your customers. Mapping out requests and acting when many people are asking for the same thing is usually a good idea.
Sometimes feedback can directly contradict your research. For example, Trunki did not initially have carry handles as research highlighted the extra weight could be problematic for children. However, parents overwhelmingly responded to say that handles were essential and they were added to subsequent products.
Trunki keeps a close eye on the customer feedback given to competitors, too. This way, the team will see where the gaps are and if there is anything innovative they could bring to the space.
“We do quite a lot of research on Amazon and see how competitive certain categories are. It is useful to read reviews to find out if and how products are failing consumer expectations,” Rob added.
location: South West (England)
business size: 50-99 People
business type: Manufacturing
Top three takeaways
Make sure products are robustly tested in real-world environments by target consumers with no connection to the business during the development phase.
Once your product has gone to market, keep track of customer feedback as it provides valuable insight into how you can improve in the future.
Customer feedback is not only vital to improving your own products. Keeping track of what consumers say about your competitors might enable you to spot gaps in the market.