Customer-Focused Product Teams

Customer-Focused Product Teams

Almost all product managers and CEOs will say they care about their customers when asked. But we all know that actions speak louder than words. If the culture of the company is focused on customer centrism, then the actions of the people will show it.

Unmasking the Disguise

You will only realize the extent to which companies care for their customer when problems arise. How a company acts to solve or manage situations arising from dissatisfied clients and customer frustration and confusion says a lot about how they treat their clients.

Will they handle it quickly and amicably? Do they initiate follow-ups to ensure the problem has been resolved or determine if something else needs to be done? Do the product teams take requests and deliver orders because that’s what their bosses expect of them, or are they after customer satisfaction above everything else?

Valuing Customers

A shortcoming for some product managers is their tendency to think more about business profit than the needs of their customers. In any business, the term “customer” has to be sacred. As a product manager, you have to treat the paying customer differently from how you treat the “business” or the people behind the company, including the customer service team, advertising partners, and stakeholders.

When product managers value customers as a Northstar consideration, they will know how to respond when something happens, which resulted in customer dissatisfaction. Instead of acting as if it is not a matter of importance, they will treat the problem with a sense of urgency not by panicking or pointing fingers but by thinking, planning, and enforcing effective solutions.

You will know that companies are customer-centric when high-ranking leaders proactively show support and reach out to their product managers to boost their morale and offer help. There are instances, though, when leaders are more compassionate towards the company’s customers. They take the initiative to solve the problem when the product team fails to take proper action. Such an instance does not reflect positively on product managers. This could mean that their leader has lost confidence in them, so they have done the action themselves.

Having an empowered team is not enough for a business to grow. Everybody in the workplace must work towards their clients’ satisfaction and in heeding their concerns and taking them into consideration when making business plans and developing products.

Strong Leadership

Behind all strong product companies are people with strong leadership that motivate their people. You will need to master the following responsibilities to attain this goal:

1. Product strategy. This includes the plan the company will follow to accomplish its product vision. The strategy may consist of milestones but not necessarily a detailed schedule. It needs to be reasonable and compelling. When a company lacks strategy or fails at it, the team will struggle for having no vision as to where they are being led. This will also leave the team clueless about where to target the vision for a single product that they often end up pleasing no one.

2. Product vision. This refers to the shared objective of the company that gives purpose to the organization. This makes the members of the team aware of their responsibilities and how they can contribute to getting the vision across.

3. Product priorities. Companies are constantly swamped with different tasks every day. Company leaders have to decide which of these tasks must be given priority and delegate people to accomplish things faster and better.

4. Product principles. They reflect the company’s value or the quality and kind of products the team has to produce. They also mirror the strategic decisions the team needs to focus on when there are problems or the company is going through difficult trade-offs.

5. Product evangelism. For things to come together in a company – all team members must understand the vision of their leaders and vice versa, and leaders must be able to communicate the vision. They have to ensure the company in general understands and shares the vision. They have to do it in an effective manner to convince the team members and believe in the potential of that vision.

To get it done, they have to start a crusade of evangelizing that includes one-on-one meetings, team lunches, group meetings, recruiting, and everything necessary to make all the people in the teamwork towards the company’s intended vision. Companies with empowered product teams work for the benefit of the business and their customers. They work toward their customers’ satisfaction by following the company’s strategic plans based on all members’ shared vision.

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