Product Management Tactics — Uncertainty When Bringing a New Product to Market

Ash Maurya, Founder at LEANSTACK KEY TAKEAWAY Because customers have lots of choices, when you stop delivering what they want, they don’t give feedback and troubleshoot. They switch. There are a lot of large and older companies like Compaq and book retailer Borders that ignored…

Ash Maurya, Founder at LEANSTACK

KEY TAKEAWAY

Because customers have lots of choices, when you stop delivering what they want, they don’t give feedback and troubleshoot. They switch. There are a lot of large and older companies like Compaq and book retailer Borders that ignored shifts in their customers’ demands. Now, they are no longer with us.

OUR TAKE

Stop us if you’ve ever heard this one before…

You’re making your case to your CEO, development team, or really, any one of your colleagues on why a certain feature or portion of your product just isn’t working. You know this because you have a solid understanding of the underlying problems your customer is experiencing which you’ve designed to solve… and your product just isn’t cutting it. Yet, the response you hear back after this urging…

“Well… has anybody complained about it?”

The answer may very well be no… and you and your team should still be concerned, even if that’s the case. As Ash shares in this video, sometimes customers don’t complain. They don’t give you the feedback that you actually need. They just leave. They find other products and services that better serve their needs. When this happens, it’s too late for you to win back that customer. They may be gone forever.

So, what is a product manager or entrepreneur to do? If our customers won’t even tell us when something went wrong — they just simply leave — how are we supposed to help our products become more competitive?

The key is to constantly be in front of our customers — not just when they’re experiencing some sort of issue, but throughout their entire relationship with our products. In fact, even then — our customers may not be so direct and tell us that they’re dissatisfied. But when we know our customer’s needs and pain points, we as product people will be able to tell when our products are not doing their job.

If you’re thinking that this is easier said than done… well, you’re right. But as Ash said, it’s critical if we want to stay one step ahead of our competition.

MORE READING

Are you making one of these five customer interview mistakes? Do you ask your customers to predict the future? Teresa Torres joined the PragmaticLive podcast to describe common customer interview mistakes and what to do instead. Listen in to find out why it’s better to have your customers tell stories than to mimic a magic 8 ball.
How to interview your customers so you can understand their problems. When you interview your customers you find out if you’re headed in the right direction with your product or if you need a map to get back on track. Jason Wilcox describes how to use interviews to understand your customer’s problem and help them solve it.
How to find and interview the customers you don’t have yet. What do you do when you want to find out about your customer’s needs when you don’t have any customers? Thomas Carney shares stories from his experience about how to identify potential customers set up an interview with them, and discover the things that you don’t know you don’t know.

 

Paul McAvinchey
Paul McAvinchey
paul@productcollective.com

For over 15 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a 15,000+ strong worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on Slack, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to Rocketship.fm, learn at Product Lunch and get a weekly brief that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.