Notes: AI-Powered User Insights: Unveiling Figma’s Voice of Customer Program

AI-Powered User Insights: Unveiling Figma’s Voice of Customer Program – Enterpret – YouTube


This interview with Michael Nguyen from Figma is jam-packed with some really great VoC program best practices. They are quantifying qualitative data! They are doing it without adding any extra friction like manual labeling or extra required fields. They are using AI to automatically label and route customer feedback to the right team. Customer insights are a requirement in early product planning and a voting process gets people genuinely engaged. Trust and connection is nurtured by closing feedback loops. Results include longer retention and higher up-sell. All strategy starts with insights.

Some great starting points for building a VoC program:

  1. Find the teams that champion customer feedback, help them succeed, showcase their results.
  2. Collect feedback with context into a single source of truth.
  3. Automate routing of feedback to the right team.
  4. Avoid adding friction such as manual labeling.
  5. Create a self-serve platform where insights can be found easily.
  6. Let everyone vote on the top customer needs.
  7. Require product plans to list the insights motivating the work.
  8. Ask people to respond to customer feedback and give them the data they need to do it.

Key Challenges with Managing Customer Feedback

  1. Don’t know where to find things.
  2. No single source of truth.
  3. Feedback is missing context.
  4. Closing the loop isn’t great.

“Sales people would confess they don’t log feedback any more because I don’t know where it goes so I just stopped doing it. But when I ask do you think the product team is focused on the right stuff they say 100%. So they’re listening to your feedback they just didn’t let you know they were listening to your feedback.”

“There was this catalyzing moment behind the pandemic and trying to launch a new product that was a tipping point when they knew managing feedback and listening to customers was critical to how we’re going to be successful. There were champions on both the business and product teams to say we need to invest in this.”

“The key thing is really understanding that cross-functional community and grassroots movement of people who want to grow these Voice of the Customer programs and really having the product leadership side to advocate for it. People want to grow these programs on the support or success side but without that partnership and relationship on the product side it becomes really hard to really get the momentum going.”

Outside-In Building Blocks of the VoC Program

  1. Listen
  2. Understand
  3. Act
  4. Respond

“The core VoC loop: how do you put customers at the center, how do you setup mechanism to listen and understand what their needs are, take action, prioritize, build features, build solutions, and close the loop so they feel heard and valued. Then you get all of the amazing unit economic benefits like longer retention, higher up-sell, all of that good stuff.”

Inside-Out Core Capabilities of the VoC Program

  1. Alignment. Cross-functional voting on the top customer needs.
  2. Awareness. Closed-loop feedback routing and triage process.
  3. Analysis. Feedback is aggregated and accessible for analysis.

“Twice a year, we do a stack ranking process with all of our needs and top priorities—a moment of alignment before roadmapping to say the top things we should focus on. Next we build closed-loop feedback processes to route and triage feedback real-time between customer-facing teams and product builders. Then we take all of our feedback into a place that is accessible for analysis and quantification to use all of this rich data to inform decisions and actions.”

Mission: Scale how customer feedback is integrated into how Figma builds products.

“What’s the customer facing strategy for VoC? What’s our strategy in how we’re going to scale it up? What capabilities does the organization needs?”

“It was really important to strengthen the feedback loop between customer-facing teams and product builders because if we didn’t solve for that we would erode trust and connection and fall into this Us Versus Them mindset that I think you see at a lot of big organizations.”

We standardized the feedback loop between customer facing teams and product builders to foster trust and increase awareness. “Standardizing the core loop process: here’s the single place you submit feedback, it goes into a form just like bug tracking with the user need, the user email, and the product area and then we have automation route it to the right product team.”

“The best CSMs are intrinsically motivated to advocate for their customer right and if you don’t provide an avenue to do that or a way for people to get benefit and build connection around that then it’s a huge missed opportunity”

“At Figma, there’s a product philosophy that all strategy starts with insights. Insights from VoC, research teams, market analysis—that is the grounding in which leadership and product teams start thinking about plans.”

“I think there’s something beautiful about letting people feel like they can really vote, because normally people are too busy and they’re not going to submit every little piece of feedback, but when you give them a chance to vote and explain why they’re voting for things then there’s really rich insights into their point of view and context.”

“I’ll just be honest—I didn’t think it was possible [to use AI for analysis] because it’s so much work, it’s so hard to get resourcing and engineering resources and manual labeling that I just don’t think like it’s worth it but after the pilot and and seeing how Enterpret can aggregate and automatically label our feedback it unlocked all of these use cases and some were what we wanted but some we were surprised by. Things that seemed hard now are easy.”

“The best sales people and best CSMs want to give feedback—they want to influence the product roadmap. The best product marketers want to engage with users and include them along the way. The best product managers want to sit in on customer calls and they want to see people using their product in real-time. The biggest challenge as you grow is you have to make trade-offs with time. Those things are just so hard and so easy to de-prioritize.”

“Identify behaviors that you’re seeing in really good product builders. How do you find that? How do you enable them to do it easier and faster and tell their friends about it? Leaning in to really tailor your VoC program to the product building culture that you have was a really big lesson for me.”

“They now have evidence and credibility to their strategies for their roadmaps and it’s not just “well I said so” or “I think this”. People are actually able to share their product intuition and it’s not just some genius in a room saying like this is what customers want.”

“Coming up with who should we showcase in a customer story used to be really hard. It used to be ‘oh I know this person who knows this person and maybe I can get a meeting’ and now you can look up who asked for this feedback reach out to them, set up a call, and include them in the beta. We have in-depth real understanding of how they use the product before the feature, after the feature, and now these rich stories come to life where product marketers and product builders are connecting with real people that they’re building for.”

This is a good example of how VoC helped inform pricing and packaging strategy:

“All strategy starts with insights and you should defend your strategies and plans with the insights that are motivating those strategies and plans. When we go into planning, there’s a FigJam file and whoever’s driving that part of planning gets to decide the workshop part of it but there’s always a section in there with the insights motivating your strategy.”

“Anything that added friction didn’t work. There were people saying, ‘we want to capture more data.’ Asking sales people to add even one more field for context-switching could be a deal breaker.”

“The first question I ask when I talk to other VoC practitioners is ‘how are PMs incentivized at your organization and how are they accountable to solving customer needs?’ I’d say the answer here at Figma is the accountability lever is cultural. It’s through product philosophy. It’s through behaviors and values that existing product managers exhibit. It’s values we look for in hiring product managers and designers. So I don’t have to really worry about the accountability piece because it’s built into the DNA of how we build product. All strategy starts with insights.”

“The feedback process is a pretty manageable volume. I think we get 150 to 200 tickets a month and the the way we handle the volume of it is through automatic routing. It just gets dispersed to the right product team automatically and those product teams have their own rituals. Some will do it async, some will do it distributed across different PMs and designers in their weekly stand-ups. I don’t prescribe how they should do it.”

Tools mentioned: Enterpret, Zapier, Salesforce, RevMap, Snowflake, Slack, Zendesk, Discourse, Discord, Redshift.