How Product Managers Can Work With Customer Support

July 24, 2014

Customer Success Product Leadership

This UserVoice post on getting product managers to listen to user feedback highlights some of the potential tensions between customer and product management teams from the other side of the coin. “Something I hear over and over from customer service and community teams is that the product management team doesn’t seem to care about customer feedback. As the folks who are trying to make these customers happy, this is quite frustrating,” says community manager Evan Hamilton.

Any good product manager should of course put customer needs at the heart of their daily decisions. But what does that mean when it comes to interacting with customer service and support teams?

A clearly defined and well-documented process can mean the end of wasted back and forth for both parties.

Surface the timeliest feedback

Your customer service team are the first port of call for your users’ frustrations and challenges. Customer feedback of course might come from many different sources, but here your customers’ most pressing pain points (those they are pushed to reach out to you about) can highlight some of the changes you absolutely must make if you are to keep their business. When customer representatives make use of user feedback capture tools in ProdPad, you can be sure that each of these instances are recorded and that no threatening issue is overlooked.

Delight customers

As well as fixing their pain, good customer service is also about delighting users. When customer service teams and product management teams work together effectively, they can identify new opportunities to delight users with quick product wins. At ProdPad, we ourselves use tags such as ‘fun’ on ideas dedicated purely to making customers happy.

Making use of ProdPad’s features and integrations, it’s easy to communicate those changes back to relevant customers too. A complete feedback loop is made simpler by either recording customer contact details directly against feedback and ideas, or by integrating tools such as UserVoice to automate updates to customers when their suggestions have been taken on board.

Build a workable case

When customer service data is shared with product management, problems can be better solved and value more easily created. But how does this work? If you are to avoid the frustration of customer reps who feel their feedback is going ignored, or the stress of product managers who are bombarded by the same enquiries day in and day out, good process is key.

In ProdPad, user feedback is logged separately from fully formed product ideas. This way customer service teams aren’t limited in the number of times they log a piece of feedback, in fact comprehensive coverage of this important information should be encouraged. Yet in linking feedback to a single product idea each time the issue is surfaced, product managers can avoid repetition and keep track on the traction of an idea in a measured way.  Service teams can help to build a workable case for a new idea and champion their customers’ needs, keeping everyone happy.

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If you’d like to find out more about how ProdPad can facilitate collaboration between product management and customer support teams, get in touch for a chat or sign up for a free 14 day trial

 

Janna Bastow is co-founder of ProdPad, software that helps product managers plan and deliver better products. Janna also organizes ProductTank events around the world, including Mind The Product, a global community of product managers. She likes to inspire great product conversations by asking: “What problem are you trying to solve?”

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