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41. Product Development Process Part 5: Feedback in Learning

3 April, 2019
The Bean Ninjas Podcast
The Bean Ninjas Podcast
41. Product Development Process Part 5: Feedback in Learning

How important is feedback in learning? 

In Episode 41 of the Bean Ninjas Podcast, Bean Ninjas CEO Meryl Johnston and Partner Wayne Richard continue to go behind the scenes of 2 Bean Ninjas product launches.

Wayne and Meryl discuss lessons and challenges related to collecting feedback, and how that can impact product launch and product development.

This is the final episode of our 5-part Product Development Process series.

In case you missed them, you can tune in to past episodes here: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4

Bean Ninjas founders

What is (good) feedback? defines “feedback” as “information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.”

Therein lies the key…

Good feedback is useful feedback. If you can't do anything with it, then you're not asking the right questions. Share on X

If you don’t get feedback that you can utilize to improve your service or product, then what’s the point of collecting it?

There’s actually art and science in asking for and giving feedback.

Sheila Heen, Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and co-author of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, shares some insight into why we might not like to give or receive feedback in this short video:

Importance of feedback in learning

According to Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses“:

““We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.”
― Eric Ries, 

So it’s critical during a product launch that you get feedback from your customers as soon as possible.

In this podcast episode, Wayne and Meryl discuss how they’re using the feedback that they’ve been collecting at each stage of launching and delivering their services to then improve the product. As well as the sales and marketing of the product.

How to use feedback to grow your business

There are multiple ways that Bean Ninjas are using feedback to grow and improve our business.

7 ways you can use feedback for your business

  1. Pre-launch – gathering insight into what potential customers might want from a new product you’re developing
  2. Tweaking sales and landing pages to sell products and services (see an example of this here)
  3. Product development
  4. Collecting awesome testimonials and case studies from clients
  5. Improving customer onboarding process
  6. Improving internal team processes and systems
  7. Ensuring your content strategy includes useful content that helps clients solve problems or questions they might have (eg. Bean Ninjas communuty members wanted to know what to ask before you hire a bookkeeper!)

Using feedback for a product launch (two launches in fact)

Here’s the feedback we got from our survey respondents for one of the questions we asked in our small business cashflow survey:


This information helped us understand what specific challenges were more pressing for our community, and that helped us create our Xero Foundations (cashflow) online course.

Here’s some feedback we got from respondents to our Small Business Financial Management & Reporting Survey:


These responses helped us design our Virtual CFO offering – a cashflow forecasting and advisory service to help business owners of more established companies to gain clarity and make informed business decisions.

3 Tips for getting useful and immediate feedback

1. Make it timely – getting feedback on the launch 3 months after the launch period is about as useful as getting feedback on your product or service 6 or 12 months after it’s been delivered. So gather the feedback immediately after the event has occurred.

2. Make it easy – People are often happy to receive specific and detailed instructions as it helps them provide specific feedback. Vague questions produce vague answers.

3. Make it relevant – The value of feedback comes when it’s specific and actionable. By asking better questions, we get better answers.

Feedback survey example

To give you an example of how we’re putting these ideas into practice, here’s a sample churn survey that we’re developing at Bean Ninjas for our Xero bookkeeping service. Our goal is to better understand why some clients choose to stop working with us.

It’s part of our service delivery improvement project – something that we’re very passionate about.

Here’s what we started off with:


Not a bad start, right?

Right. At the same time, we still felt that the above questions leave too much space for ambiguity. We want to get more specific and useful feedback.

So some better questions might be:

  1. What did (or didn’t) you like about our services/products?
  2. What was the main reason you decided to discontinue your collaboration with Bean Ninjas? [choose from a list of options]
  3. What could we have done differently?
  4. Did we communicate well?
  5. Any other feedback, comments, or concerns that you want to convey to us?

Let’s give credit where credit’s due. The above questions came from here and here.

So what questions are you currently asking, and is there a way that you can tweak them to get more specific answers from your feedback?

Related: Why Case Studies Are Better Than Testimonials (Plus Free Case Study Template)

Listen in to know more about feedback in learning:

Wayne and Meryl discuss:

  • The power of feedback
  • Using immediate feedback to guide product launch, sales, and marketing efforts
  • How to go from individual customer wants to a standard offering
  • Building productized services, and when it makes sense to do it
  • Updates and challenges of launching our Xero cashflow training course and virtual CFO service
  • The steps we took since our week 4 update, and how we’re tracking with both launches
Want to know 7 ways you can use feedback to grow your business? Read this Share on X

Subscribe & review in itunes

If you liked this episode, remember to listen weekly to learn more of Meryl’s great tips for growing your business fast. Click here if you would like to subscribe to the Bean Ninjas podcast on itunes.  We would also love to hear what you thought of today’s episode, so feel free to leave a review here.

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