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Understanding the Customer Experience

Who is your expert on the customer?

Right or wrong, most think it’s the sales team. Or perhaps the customer success team, if you have that role.

But they only see a small portion of the customer journey.

In fact, each department in your organization is seeing only part of the story.

Remember the story of the three blind men and the elephant? ​

One feels the tail and claims it’s a snake. One feels its side and thinks it a wall. One grabs its leg and says it’s a tree.​

What’s exciting about product management is the engagement across the entire customer journey. ​

No other role in the organization is able to see the path from interest, evaluation, selection, onboarding, implementation, and ultimate success. ​

Here’s a common way of thinking of product management. It suggests that the product manager is at the intersection of UX, Business and technology. But I think this is a very software-centric way of looking at it.

I prefer to look at it this way.

Products address customer problems by leveraging your capabilities in ways competitors cannot (or will not).

So the new market-oriented diagram looks more like this with your opportunity at the intersection of customers problems and your company’s capabilities.

Ultimately, you’re looking for opportunities that are valuable to customers, feasible for your business capabilities—both in terms of technical ability as well as business outcomes—and different from the competition.

The answer: product management.

To create a successful products, product managers need to be expert on the experience for the market full of customers.

Read our eBook "Customer Interviews: A Field Guide" for pointers on conducting sessions to gain expertise about your customers.


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