Any respectable business is driven to listen to its customers—all of its customers, if possible—because that’s how you know what you should change about your product or service and what the shortcomings are that you need to address.
The flipside of that coin is that it’s important to know which ones represent your customer base as a whole, and those who just have a unique need that doesn’t apply to everyone else. Therefore, not all of your customers’ feedback is relevant, generally speaking.
The Silent Majority
The people whom you really want to listen to are the ones who aren’t talking. Unless your product is really bad, in which case you’ll hear from everybody pretty quickly, it will be radio silence from the vast majority of your customers most of the time.
The first reason is that if what you’re producing is successful and worth buying, then there is no need for your customers to contact you because the product is doing or being what it’s supposed to.
The second reason is that most people simply don’t take the time to give you feedback, even if something is wrong. They will be more likely to just switch to a different company than to tell you what’s wrong with the product. These are the people whose feedback is valuable, and you will need to actively solicit the information because they usually won’t offer it on their own.
The Screaming Minority
The people who you do actually hear from do not necessarily represent the opinion of the majority of your customers.
The troublesome fallacy of receiving feedback is that, although you are hearing a genuine comment or request from a customer, this feedback is unreliable because it’s only the opinion of a few select people and not an accurate cross-section of your customer base. They may really need the feature that they are requesting, but they also might be the only one who does.
Pay Attention to Trending Requests
Of course, one of the surest ways to know what feedback and requests you should listen to is when you get a lot of people asking for the same thing or complaining about the same thing, which probably means that it should be addressed. Even then, it’s a good idea to carefully consider whether it’s worthwhile to devote time and resources to it.
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