Connect with your users

In this age of programmatic marketing and all-inclusive CX platforms, the need to connect with your users has never been stronger. As one of Azimo’s Product Managers, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve the user experience, and thankfully there are plenty of tools designed around getting to know users better — from heat maps to funnel analysis, behavioural targeting, A/B testing and CX platforms. It’s a vast improvement on just a few years ago, when the only option we had was to build a tool ourselves and hope for the best.

Thanks to the likes of Hotjar and Google Analytics, I can easily pinpoint why Azimo customers are sending money back to their home country — and I can even segment them by how much they send, where they send or when they send. Yet there’s one thing all these clever tools can’t show me — the often tough reality faced by people transferring money.

As a lifelong expat myself, I’ve lived and worked everywhere from America to Asia. But while I’ve often sent money to my sister in Shanghai or back home to France to pay a bill, I’ve never cared that much about transaction fees or speed of delivery because I didn’t see them as life-changing. But joining Azimo has opened my eyes to the potential life-changing effects of money transfer: when Azimo customers send money, it can make a huge difference to the lives of their friends and family back home.

I recently started running usability tests, and in just a couple of conversations I was able to find out more about the difficulties people face than I could have done in a month of data analysis. I’m not taking about technical hitches like “the green button isn’t working”, but about the worry and stress attached to traditional money transfer: queuing up for hours in a shop to send money to Nigeria and then having to pay exorbitant transaction fees.

One of my users told me: “I send money to my family in Bangladesh so they can pay for food”. That simple sentence was more powerful than any data analysis I’ve ever performed, and it brought home to me the single most important quality a PM must possess: humility. At the end of the day, as a PM you don’t own a product, you don’t manage a team and you don’t have the power to influence users. Users own your roadmap, users give your team its priorities and users have the power to influence the product.

The tech industry is full of hype about new and exciting things — AI, AR, VR, machine learning, the list of buzzwords is endless — and it’s all too easy to get lost in that world of billion-dollar unicorns and rock-star CEOs. But that’s not what being a product manager is all about — rather, it’s do with understanding your users and meeting their needs. And at a company like Azimo, that can mean the difference between happiness and misery for a family on the other side of the world.

At Azimo, our mission is to improve the experience of people who have been suffering for years at the hands of unfair remittance fees and poor transparency in the world of money transfer. My role is to step outside my comfort zone and embrace the reality of my users, and the fact that what I do might just make someone’s family happy is a better motivator than any product milestone.

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