In the Cars 3 movie, Lightning McQueen peeks inside Cruz’s mind and understood her true caliber and made her realize she is a true racer and not just a trainer; as a Product Manager; your job is to peek inside customer’s mind to make them realize their real challenges. To build products that people love, you need to know your customer better than you know yourself and you need to understand their habits, routine, and their end goal.
When the people who build products are not in sync with the people who use them, you end up creating something which is not used by anyone. Thus as a Product Manager, it is our top priority to peek inside customers mind and understand their real challenges in the right order.
One of the biggest mistakes I have done in my career as a Product Manager is to relying on customers inputs. There is a huge difference between Customers Voice and Customers Insights. Customers voice provides you input based on their opinion, however, customers insights provide you the true story. It is good to identify challenges by interviewing customers; However, it is more important to validate them using data points.
There are 3 key ways you can peek into customers mind.
- Qualitative feedback- Examples you can send Surveys, NPS score or Interviews
- Quantitative feedback — analytics, support tickets or any other data points you have as a part of the system
- Analysts reports, customer success team, support team, or any other stakeholders from your organization who is closer to the customer
Can I rely on only one of the above methods?
In my opinion, you should gather qualitative data or stakeholders inputs and validate your hypotheses using quantitative feedback.
Customers don’t always know what they need before they see it. Using the right framework such as interviews, observation, quantitative analysis, and qualitative analysis, your job as a Product Manager is to know your customers better then they know themselves.
As Henry Ford said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, A faster horse!” And Steve Jobs famously stated, “Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do… People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”
Originally published at Product Management — An Organization Locus.