Growth Hacks: The Complete Guide to Building a Framework for Customer Empathy [Part 3]

Growth Hacks: The Complete Guide to Building a Framework for Customer Empathy [Part 3]

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The Complete Guide to Building a Framework for Customer Empathy [Part 3]

This is Part 3 of a 3 part series. Check Part 1, and Part 2.

Last week, we covered 4 additional steps of the Customer Empathy Framework. For this last part, we are going to close the loop and cover the last 3 steps. Are you ready?

Step 6: Collect feature requests

As the sixth step, you want to allow your users to participate in the product roadmap. If something is missing in the product, you can have the users vote for what they would like to see coming next. You could do that publicly, and here is why.

Let your users voice be heard.

There isn’t anything new about asking users for improvements and features, but what’s different here is that we’re doing it in the open and letting the community vote for the features they would like to see. This can help drive loyalty by showing your users that you are listening publicly. Once again, it’s an easy way to surface the most requested features to the entire organization.

At Adobe, we have been using Get Satisfaction and we are now adopting for all of our products. For instance, you can see our users voting for the features they want for XD at

The Uservoice forum for Adobe XD.

Or Spark at

The Uservoice forum for Adobe Spark.

For each request a user logs, you can respond and an email will be sent to all the users who voted for it or added comments. This is a great way to keep your users informed about the implementation of a feature or ask for more details, so this is a valuable tool for re-engagement too:

You can add comments to requests and notify users by email with your update.

Uservoice provides a great mobile SDK too, enabling users to vote and request features on their device seamlessly and without being redirected to a website:

Uservoice mobile native integration.

Now, you might ask “what’s the difference between this and a public backlog?” This gets really powerful when you start segmenting the requests posted on Uservoice by user engagement and NPS scores. You can rank the feature request by example user types: Very engaged, Casual User, or Churning. You can also rank them based on NPS scores and prioritize requests based on specific attributes. Uservoice calls this Custom Traits.

If a lot of churned users are asking for a feature, there might be an opportunity to add this feature to win these users back if you believe the users are in your target audience. Similarly, if a feature is being requested by your top paid users, with a decreasing NPS score, this might be something worth looking into before it becomes a reason for them to stop paying for your product. Finally, if a user is requesting a feature through an NPS comment, redirect that user to vote for it on Uservoice.

Step 7: FaceTime with your users

Spend live time with your users, ideally in their local environment.

When was the last time you watched your users use your product? All the things we have covered so far are mostly digital interactions, but you also need face time with your users in order to observe them and talk to them.

With all the great tools accessible today, this might not sound so important, but it is essential. You can start with a monthly cadence of interviews. When you spend time with your users, you want to break it into three groups:

Each segment of users will provide key insights.

There are various services for running recorded user tests. is one we have been using successfully, but it is missing live feedback. Getting a video recording is great for scaling, but you also need that live conversation to really ask the why and bounce off moments of pause, hesitations and even detect potential issues from the body language when people experience your product.

Usertesting recently introduced Live Conversation to enable such a research and that’s great news, but you also want to get out of the office and visit your customers in their local environment. Why?

You will spot things you would never have seen if they came to your office. Terrible internet speed that causes your product to be slow, people working outside with environmental noise that are preventing the user from hearing some instructions, etc. These are variables your users might forget to mention or have even developed workarounds and now take for the norm. You should be there with them to spot these things share your learnings/observations with your entire organization.

Finally, you want to reverse things and have your team present to your users what they are working on and what’s coming to the product in the future, let’s see how this works.

Step 8: Community summit

Have your users present to your team and your team present to them.

The last step is a 1-day outline or in-person conference where, in the morning, users can present how they use your product to the entire organization, and, in the afternoon, the team can present the product roadmap. It is critical to have as many people from the organization attend this event including senior leadership. Once again, having designers, engineers, and QEs hear live feedback from real users will have a huge impact on the team morale and ultimately make the product better.

For this, you might want to have different types of users there from very active to less active to churning. Historically, we have not done that, but have instead focused on our most active users to make this event more of a Community Summit. There is no silver bullet here. Experiment with various configurations. The key is to spend time as a team together with your users talking to you and your team sharing the vision for the product with them.

If you have made it to this point, you are definitely passionate about your product, your team and your customers, so kudos to you! Let’s summarize what we have covered.

Putting users at the center of your organization

We made it!

You should now have the framework you need to put your users at the center of your organization. The question you might ask yourself now is: Great, but where do I start? How do I achieve all of that with the limited amount of people I have in my team? The thing is, you don’t have to implement all of the framework at once. Try implementing it incrementally, step by step, and you will figure it out.

Scaling the Customer Empathy Framework

A great way to help you scale is to automate as much as possible so that the feedback you are getting is visible to everyone with very little work. Nowadays, Slack is a great solution for this, as most services also sync with Slack out of the box:

Send your various feedback to dedicated Slack channels.

The downside of that is that this feedback can be overwhelming for product teams. It is a lot of feedback coming in to parse, from your Facebook Group to NPS to the Lapsed users campaign, and so on. So you need to think about how to make that data as actionable as possible.

At Adobe, when the team is lucky to have a community manager embedded in the product team, that person can be a great leader for this, but we have also been looking into services like and ClaraBridge to digest all that data and draw insights from it.

You can go manual or automated to compile all that feedback into actionable insights.


Ok, time for takeaways, so grab your pen, notebook, Evernote, or whatever works best for you. To summarize, here is what we covered:

  1. Hire the right people that are passionate about your product
  2. Talk to early adopters and non adopters
  3. Don’t build your product just for power users
  4. Seed a community
  5. Understand what’s making engaged users stick
  6. Use these insights to optimize activation for first users
  7. Understand what’s causing churn
  8. Sit down with your users and observe, asklisten
  9. Collect NPS as a pulse check on how people feel about your product
  10. Involve your community in your roadmap
  11. Visit your customers in their local environment and meet with them
  12. Invite them to present to the team and have your team present to them

That’s it! And remember, this is not a framework to follow by the letter. There is no silver bullet, but, like a food recipe, may this inspire you to customize it, experiment, and make it your own. Hopefully, this will help you learn faster by failing faster.

If you enjoyed the three series [1][2][3] of the Customer Empathy Framework. A few claps below would mean the world to me! Please share the framework with whoever you think it would be helpful too. Feel free to reach out if you have questions, thoughts, feedback!

Thank you! ?

The Complete Guide to Building a Framework for Customer Empathy [Part 3] was originally published in Growth Hackers on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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