Driving Customer Delight through Customer Experience
By Head of Product, Simon Rust
You may not have an intuitive sense of what separates good product management and exceptional customer experience, but that’s because nothing does.
Therefore, it should come as no great surprise that good Product Managers focus on driving customer delight by engaging with their users, immersing themselves in the problems experienced by all users of the product / service, to ensure that they truly understand what the experience of using their product or service “feels like”.
A well-defined customer journey describes the customer’s full end-to-end experience instead of focussing on various individual transactions or touchpoints along the way. The journey will include many things before, during and after the customer experiences (uses) a product or service and all of these are important to consider together to determine the overall success.
For example, if you are planning a trip to the cinema, then it is not only the movie that you consider for the experience, but also perhaps the car parking availability, the choices of food and beverage options (along with their associated cost of course), the quality and cleanliness of the theatre and of course the movie itself as part of your experience. The key to this example is that the overall customer experience is made up of multiple “products” that need to work in harmony with each other.
If your customer experience is good, your product/service is likely adequate, however, if your overall customer experience is not so good, then your product/service likely won’t get used, typically resulting in poor customer retention, creating opportunities for your competition to step in and whisk your customer away.
In the movie experience example above, you are less likely to re-visit the same location for your future movie experiences if the theatre was dirty and the food purchased was stale. The movie itself was good, but the overall experience was poor.
"We have entered the era of the customers. Today, providing customers with outstanding customer service is essential to building loyal customers and a long-lasting brand. – Jerry Gregoire"""
The word engagement is really key to the product manager’s success, as it is through authentic customer engagement that the reality of the issues a customer is experiencing comes to light. This approach also opens opportunities to test ideas with users directly (think Alpha and Beta phases along the development journey and bringing users along with us), helping shape the ultimate solution to really hone in on the problems identified. Such an approach will help irradicate the need for more costly service changes downstream (“it is significantly more costly to fix something after it is in the hands of users than it is to get it right in the first place” – something I have learned myself many times over the last 30 years or so !!) and driving greater customer experience and satisfaction quicker.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou"
Great Product Managers know and understand how to engage their users in a motivating, collaborative manner, to elicit the best, insightful information while ensuring that they are giving back along the way, delivering that all-important feel-good factor. They also know which methods of collaboration work with the differing user-types best, adopting the most effective way to engage at the right time to minimise the time required for each while maximising the outcomes.
Ultimately, excellent customer experience delivers substantial product/service success, and the product manager who is aligned with this will drive business success and outstanding customer loyalty.