Product Management 101: The Need for Cx Obsession
mmob’s Product Manager Jake Figg shares his knowledge, beginning with why strong Cx is fundamental to product success.
As a company, building great technology products requires extensive vision, close collaboration and carefully-managed execution in order to ‘get it right’. However, building these factors into a development cycle is no guarantee of success. It is possible (and common) for teams to sleepwalk into a “build it and they will come” attitude, where they build a technically-impressive product which is ultimately ill-fitted to generate revenue or fulfil a market need. While this prospect might send shivers through CEOs and Investors across the tech industry, there are ways to mitigate the risk of delivering redundant features. The most prominent and near-foolproof way to do this is fairly simple: to begin with Customer Experience (Cx) first and work backwards.
What is Cx?
Customer experience is an umbrella term describing the preparation for all the ways in which a potential user or customer can interact with a company’s services. Cx is arguably a consideration of the intangible, attempting to optimise the User Interface while anticipating how the customer is feeling at any point in the pipeline. For example, nearly everyone has been caught in an endless loop of being on hold with a service provider, which for most provokes significant frustration; a clear lack of deference towards Cx.
Adopting the Cx Focus
In carefully interrogating the needs and wants of the targeted end-user, in addition to keeping them front and centre throughout all iterations, technology development cycles are well-placed to maximise efficiency. Assessing Cx needs can be achieved through the following methods:
- Prospective User Interviews
- User Stories / Profiles
- Accessibility Prioritisation
- Proof of Concept Feedback
- Agile (Introspective) Development
- Beta Testing
- a/b Testing
- KPI Analysis
The above techniques and foci aren’t just jargon, but lay a strong foundation to ensure that your product keeps both your technology and commercial teams happy.
Cx: The New Edge?
If the promise of good product-market fit wasn’t enough, research is increasingly showing a prioritisation of Cx to be the pocket ace for providers of digital services. Of companies recently surveyed by Gartner, a research consultancy, 89% believe that Cx is the primary basis for competition. Innovations such as cloud computing and collaboration software, in addition to the long-tailed movement toward offshoring and outsourcing mean that the barriers to entry into digital markets have eroded significantly. It is now easier and cheaper than ever to build, test and ship a product, using distributed teams and resources, meaning service providers need to find their competitive advantage in the service they bring to customers.
The Future of Cx
Cx can sit in two categories – either scalable or non-scalable. An example of non-scalable Cx is buying a client dinner when they call up to pause a subscription because their inventory has been ruined by a flood: you couldn’t buy dinner for every customer when something went wrong (and therefore is inherently non-scalable), but it is likely that the customer in question will appreciate the gesture and is therefore more likely to resume consumption of your product or service when back on their feet.
However, it is in scalable Cx measures that the beauty lies. Enterprises are understandably racing to get their hands on customer data to feed rich, personalised experiences for end users. The more data you can make sense of, the better you are able to anticipate pain or satisfaction points that a user might encounter, thereby empowering you to keep their attention, or even upsell.
With this in mind, it is clear that Cx is no longer a consideration limited to marketing teams, but requires cross-functional buy-in from multidisciplinary teams across technology, product, sales and data. While there is a careful balance to be maintained between privacy and insight, getting the use cases correct can hit all the right targets: cut churn, grow revenue and minimise service costs, giving an edge in a rapidly evolving frontier of customer attraction and retention.
Stay tuned for more guidance from mmob’s own Jake Figg in Product Management 101.