Saturday, November 23, 2013

Are you giving your customers Cookies or Yoghurt?

The other day I was hanging out with my daughter Simran. She comes up to me and says - 'Cookie?' 

I said 'No Simran, you had a cookie in the morning.'

Then she comes back and says - 'Cupcake?' 

And I said no. 

And so on - till I asked her 'Are you Hungry?' and she said 'Yes!' 

I asked if she would like to have Yoghurt and Grapes - to which she readily agreed.

Which made me think of how much this interaction was like my life as a Product Manager. Customers - and customer support/account management teams - hardly ever come to me with a problem. It's always a feature request - I need this shiny new widget, and I need it now. It is my job to understand the problem they are trying to solve, and then determine what is the best solution for this. And the best solution depends on a lot more factors than what the customer wants - what takes the minimum effort, is consistent with the overall product, solves problems for the market generally.

So next time your customers ask you for a cookie - don't just give in. They might be happy with Yoghurt - or even broccoli!