5 Reasons You Should Check Your Product’s Health ASAP (and 5 Steps to Do It)

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Posted Oct 19, 2017
Susan Gunelius

When was the last time you checked your product’s health? Are you sure it’s performing as well as it could be? If you’re not doing a periodic product health check, then you won’t know if you’re missing out on revenue because your product is underperforming.

product health check

A product check-up includes a complete audit of the product’s revenue generation history, profitability, end user experiences, market fit, and competitive positioning. These are your product’s vital signs. If one isn’t performing well, the entire product won’t reach its potential or worse, it could fail.

Reasons to Conduct a Product Health Check

In simplest terms, a product health check is critical for the five reasons discussed below.

1. Identify and Fix Problems Early

Product health checks are one of the best ways to identify problems and fix them before they become disasters. They allow you to spot and monitor market and consumer buying trends so you can make adjustments as necessary and your product can continue to grow.

2. Identify Opportunities

Just as a product health check can help you spot problems, it also enables you to identify opportunities for growth and improvement. For example, your audit could help you discover opportunities for brand extensions or brand expansions. It might uncover new market segmentation opportunities. You might not see these opportunities if you’re not monitoring your product’s health on a periodic basis.

3. Connect with Consumers

Product health checks give you an excellent opportunity to gain insights from people who use your product. Using quantitative research, you can gain valuable feedback about what consumers like or don’t like about your product, how they perceive it in comparison to competitors’ products, and so much more.

Bottom-line, if you’re not regularly surveying your current and potential customers, you’re missing valuable information that should be a part of your product development and marketing strategy.

4. Engage Employees

Do your employees know how their efforts contribute to the success of your product? Do they know how their work affects the company?

By involving employees from various teams and departments in your product health checks, employees will feel a deeper connection between the work they do, the success of the company, and customer satisfaction. With that in mind, involve employees in your product health check process and be transparent with your findings.

5. Increase Agility

In today’s marketplace, there are few industries where businesses don’t have to be agile. If you’re not flexible, a competitor will pass you by. It’s that simple. When you conduct periodic product health checks, you mitigate the risk of allowing your employees to become complacent and your product to become stagnant.

Instead, everyone on your team becomes prepared to make changes. They’re more flexible, which means they’ll be ready to make adjustments to your product at any time to seize opportunities and thwart challenges.

How to Conduct a Product Health Check

The key to a successful product health check-up is data. To effectively plan for a product’s future, you can’t rely on intuition or assumptions to make decisions. You need metrics and feedback from real people. This data can come from both primary and secondary sources.

To help you develop your own product health check process, here are five steps you can take to start gathering the data you need:

1. Gather Customer Feedback

In order to identify consumer preferences and buying trends that could affect your product’s health, you need to collect data so you understand their preferences and buying habits. Without that data, you can’t make decisions effectively.

Therefore, market research is a critical first step of any product health check. Survey both your existing customer list and conduct a consumer panel survey to understand what your overall target audience thinks about your product.

2. Collect Team Feedback

A product health check should include an external and internal review, which means in addition to collecting customer feedback, you also need to gather feedback from your employees. Use an online survey tool to ask your employees questions that will help you improve your product. Their insights are valuable, so don’t leave them out of your health check-up process.

3. Conduct Quality Assurance Testing

When was the last time you audited your quality assurance procedures to ensure they’re still effective? QA should be ongoing, but the perfect time to ensure those procedures are giving you the best results is during your product audit.

What does your QA data tell you? Is the data accurate? How can you act on the data to improve your product’s health? These are all questions you should be asking during your product’s health check.

4. Gather Competitor Research

You can gather competitor research data in two ways. First, you can use secondary sources such as websites, marketing materials, and so on to collect information. Second, you can survey consumers to gather their insights on your competitors’ products.

No business and no product exists in isolation, so don’t evaluate your product’s health without context. Instead, evaluate it as part of the marketplace in which it lives on a daily basis.

5. Track Performance Metrics

What key performance metrics (KPIs) are you tracking on a regular basis? Each of your KPIs should be very well-defined and quantifiable. You should be tracking financial metrics like profit and cost of goods sold, customer metrics such as customer lifetime value and net promoter score, process metrics like percentage of product defects and customer support tickets, people metrics such as employee turnover rate and employee satisfaction, and other stakeholder metrics as appropriate. For example, depending on your product, it might make sense to track metrics related to vendors and strategic business partners.

Once you collect this data and analyze it, you have to actually use it. Data is worthless if you don’t actually take action based on what it tells you. Periodic product health checks not only provide a time for you to analyze your metrics but they also can be used to hold your team accountable for action items identified based on the data.

The Key Takeaways

You should be conducting periodic product health checks on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. The longer you go between product health checks, the more opportunities you could miss and the more problems could arise without your knowledge.

To ensure your product reaches its maximum potential for success, you must conduct market research, test your product’s quality, and track performance metrics. If you’re not taking these steps already, now is the time to start. Your product’s long-term success depends on it.

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