Product Manager Secrets For Really Connecting With Your Customers

by drjim on November 3, 2014

Having customers is great, connecting with them is even better

Having customers is great, connecting with them is even better
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As product managers, after we create our product development definition our goal is to get as many customers as we possibly can for our product. However, after we’ve gotten some customers, what then? This is one of the things that they never taught us in product manager school: what to do with the customers that you already have It turns out that the answer is that you want to find ways to connect with them.

How To Connect With Your Customers

Ok, so you’ve got a list of your product’s current customers and you’d like to be able to connect with them. Just exactly how should a product manager go about doing this? The answer is sitting there on your desk: your phone. Sorry, this kind of skill isn’t on the typical product manager resume.

What this means oh shy one is that you’re going to have to pick up the phone and start making a whole bunch of phone calls. I’d suggest that you should be sensitive to what time zone your customers live in. Start calling those in the earlier time zones at the start and work your way back to the ones who live in the later time zones.

No, you’re not going to successfully connect with every customer that you try to reach. Based on my results doing this, I’m going to tell you that you’ll only be able to get roughly half of your customers to pick up the phone when you call them. Of the people who pick up the phone, 20% of them are going to tell you that they’ve got other things going on and will not be willing to talk to you. However, that does leave you with 30% of the responders (roughly 15% of your total customer base) that will be willing to talk with you.

What To Do When You Connect With Your Customers

Fantastic, you’ve got one of your product’s existing customers on the phone. Now what? You are going to want to dive into their lives. You want to learn everything that there is to know about them so that you can start to understand how they think.

This means that you’re going to have to start asking them some questions. These questions can start out with things that will tell you who they are: what is their job title, how long have they worked at this company, where did they work before, etc. Then you need to move on to both why and how they use your product. Don’t be too surprised if they don’t use it in the way that you intended them to or if they are not using it at all. These are things that you need to learn.

What you need to keep in mind about these calls is that you are trying to become more than a vendor to your customers. You want to really connect with them. This means that you don’t want to try to solve their problems on this call and you don’t want to defend your product. Instead, take the time to be a sympathetic ear and learn all about your customer so that you can serve them better in the future.

What All Of This Means For You

Getting customers for your product is the first step. Connecting with them is what you need to do next. However, despite the fact that this should be a part of our product manager job description, far too many of us product managers have no idea how to go about connecting with our customers once they are on board.

In order to connect with them, all we really have to do is to pick up the phone. No, we won’t connect with everyone, but we will be able to connect with enough of them. The reason that we want to connect with our customers is so that we can find out how they are using our product.

The more chances that you get to talk with your existing customers, the better your opportunities to learn new things about who is buying your product and the product itself are. Take the time to reach out to your existing customers and you just might surprised at what you learn.

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

Question For You: How often do you think that you should try to get in touch with each customer?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As a product manager, you want your product to be a success. You do your best to understand what your customers will want, you work with your developers to create the right product development definition, and you train your sales teams to go sell it. However, there’s one more thing that you need to be doing. That’s launching your product. You don’t want to just launch it, you want to stage a grand product launch. Now just exactly how are we going to go about doing that?

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