How Product Managers Can Get Their Customers To Trust Them

by drjim on January 13, 2014

Trust is something that a product manager has to earn with their customers

Trust is something that a product manager has to earn with their customers
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In our relationships with other people, one of the most basic things that we generally spend no time thinking about is the issue of trust. Without trust, there really can’t be any relationship. In order for our product to be a success, we need to find a way to get our customers to trust us also…

What Does It Mean To Trust A Product?

Over at the Merriam-Webster dictionary, they define “trust” as being “…assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”. What this means for a product manager is that the more that you can get your potential customers to trust the information that they can gather about your product, the more they are going to trust your product. This is so basic that it really should be a part of the product development definition.

This is a simple fact that can easily trip up a product manager. What happens is that we go out into the real world and we find people who like our products. Once we find them, we convince them to talk about our product’s features and benefits. You and I see this all the time in the customer testimonials that product managers like to drape their web sites and product brochures with. It turns out that this is not enough to build trust in our product. Sorry, this isn’t going to be good enough to add it to your product manager resume.

How Can Product Managers Build Trust Of Their Product?

What many product managers don’t realize is that your potential customers want more from you. What they are looking for is information about the people who are recommending your product.

This information can come in a large number of different forms. This can include information about how the recommender actually went about making their decision or even how they use your product to solve their problems.

What researchers have discovered is that the more information that you can provide your potential customers about the people who are recommending your product, the more trust you will build. What your customers are trying to do in this situation is to judge the trustworthiness of the information that you are providing them with. They also want to be able to determine just how well the advice that you are giving them relates to their situation.

In order to build trust of your product, what you are going to need to do is to move beyond just getting a few quotes about how great your product is from existing customers. What you are going to want to do is to build up a reliable group of product advocates that potential customers feel as though they can trust. Once you’ve done this, you need to make your product’s recommenders advice easy for potential customers to find and use.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

In order for a potential customer to turn into a real customer, they need to develop a trust of your product. This means that they are going to have to start by trusting the information that they are receiving about your product.

In order to make this happen, you are going to need to expand your product manager job description and move beyond just collecting quotes from happy customers. What potential customers are looking for is more information about the people who are recommending your product: how did they make their decision and how do they use your product?

Yes, building trust for your product is not an easy thing to do. However, if you take the time to do it and do it correctly, then you’ll have created a powerful tool for turning potential customers into actual customers. Once you’ve done this, then perhaps your new customers can then be convinced to help you build trust with your future customers…!

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: How many different sources of trustworthy information do you think that your product needs?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

There is no question that as a product manager there are a countless number of things that we can spend our time on each and every day as we work to refine and implement our product development definition. However, if we want to accomplish great things for our product, just exactly what should we be spending our time doing?

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