Combining innovation and data to delight customers.
What products do you use that you love? Think of a product that you are glad to tell other people about. You share how it helps you solve a problem or get a task done. Or, maybe how the product makes you feel. It might be your phone, a perfectly balanced and beautifully designed pen, a pocket knife that makes you feel just a little more self-reliant, or, in my case, the Paragon induction cooktop that allows me to make perfect omelets my wife and kids rave about.
Great products are ones that we love. They create emotions in us that go beyond satisfaction, extending to true delight.
Creating products that customers love is what product management is about, and also just happens to be the central theme for all of you who are Everyday Innovators. It is why this podcast exists and is the focus of this episode.
I explore the topic with Todd Olson, co-founder of Pendo, a capability for creating product experiences customers can’t live without. Before starting Pendo, Todd was VP Products at Rally Software and has been a co-founder for two other companies. He was also recently announced as an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year finalist. Todd knows a lot about developing software, founding and building companies, and creating products customers love.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[4:10] What do you mean by product love?
We’re no longer seeking products that just do the job; we want products that we can have an affinity for. Product love means people actually enjoy using the product you provide. Ultimately, it leads to referrals. It can apply to any type of product that makes you smile when you use it.
[7:20] Product love is often cited as a reason people get into product management. Have you encountered that in your experience?
Absolutely. Pain is a really good origin for amazing ideas and amazing products. If your product is not addressing an acute pain, you’re probably missing something. When I built the first version of Pendo, I built a product that would make me happy and assumed it would do the same for others. When you do that, it’s important to keep iterating so you don’t get too far inside an echo chamber but do continue bringing joy to your customers.
[16:22] What else should product managers be doing to create products that customers love?
Keep the notion of delight in mind. The Kano model takes this into account by classifying three types of features — table stakes, linear, and delight. Delight comes down to anticipating what customers want and then delivering it in very novel ways. For example, typing a tracking number into Google and having it return exactly where your package is without having to navigate to other websites. If you know what job your customers want your product to do and you can make that job seamless, it will generate love. Great products and great communities also go hand in hand, as does the ability for customers to make products their own.
[21:30] How can product managers make better use of NPS information?
Product teams should own NPS data, not customer success teams. Product teams fix root problems rather than focusing on unhappy customers. Once you have the data, slice and dice it by demographics and customer size. We’ve also mirrored NPS data with usage information to look at how people use the product and what aspects of the product might be leading to a bad experience. It can also impact follow up communication and determine who can provide referrals or be part of a usability study.
[21:32] How does this tie back to product love?
I was working with a company that provides software to the dental industry. By looking at NPS data, we learned that dental hygienists were not happy. We found that they were not using features of the product that were meant for them. We were able to raise the score by educating them about those features.
Pendo has a feature called Paths that allows companies to see how people flow through their products. We used this with a client who wanted to watch how people moved through search and found people were using it to perform mass operations. They ended up moving a button onto the search page, which eliminated hours of time and hundreds of clicks. Giving people back hours in their day evokes that sense of delight. We’ve seen similar behavior by looking at what people do before they click “help.”
- Pendo — Create product experiences they can’t live without.
- ProductCraft blog
- Todd’s profile on LinkedIn
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” -Simon Sinek
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.