12 Product Management Myths
The path to success in product management is not a straight line. PMs have diverse backgrounds, ambiguous responsibilities, and varied definitions of what their role includes. “Product” isn’t a major that can be studied in school, the role looks vastly different across industries, and many product managers don’t begin their careers in the field until they’ve amassed experience in other areas.
Due to its murkiness, there are a few common myths that plague product management across industries and company size. Our new guide, 12 Product Management Myths, dispels 12 pervasive myths, instead offering data to support truths and guidance around how to better understand the profession.
Here is a preview of the myths we bust in the guide. Take a quick look, and then download your own copy for the entire set!
Myth #1: Product managers are ultimately the decision makers
Product managers should be facilitators, but you should not make the final call on what is built. Instead, you should conduct customer research, ask great questions, and facilitate all aspects of the internal decision making process across teams.
As a product leader, your goal is to constantly provide a better product to deepen engagement, grow your revenue, and delight your customers. In order to do so, you need to listen—we mean really listen—to customer feedback. Far too often, companies don’t take action based on the feedback their customers provide, and instead make major product decisions in a vacuum. A lack of communication and implementation of customer feedback can affect brand loyalty and customers’ willingness to provide feedback in the future.
Apptentive’s data shows that it’s important for customers to feel heard when they give feedback, because when they are heard, they are loyal. In a recent survey, we asked respondents what it would take for companies to make them feel their opinions were valued, and here’s what they had to say:
In the same survey, more than half of respondents said they are not likely to continue being a customer of a company that ignores their feedback. The majority of respondents said they are not confident they are heard after leaving feedback. While 39 percent are not sure, and 23 percent say no, it’s clear many customers feel unheard. In contrast, the majority of respondents who said they did feel heard by a company after leaving feedback received a response within a week.
As such, communication and listening play a large role in establishing and improving customer loyalty. Listen to your customers’ wants and needs, then build solutions to meet those desires.
Myth #2: If you proactively engage customers, you’ll scare them away
Fortunately, customers expect you to ask them for feedback directly. Our research shows 51 percent of consumers expect companies to ask for their feedback across all channels (email, phone, in-store, online, etc.), and that number is even higher for consumers who prefer to leave in-app feedback (64 percent). What’s even better is that app customers are very willing to give feedback: 98 percent of our respondents said they will likely give feedback when asked.
The key is to be proactive in asking for their feedback rather than waiting for them to raise their hands, and to ask at the right moment within your digital experience in order to give conversations the best opportunity to begin. If you’re not proactively asking for feedback, you’re leaving an opportunity on the table to keep your finger on the pulse of your app customers, improve customer happiness, and boost your bottom line. There is endless untapped potential in prioritizing customer feedback from your silent majority, but you must be strategic in your approach to collect it.
Through proactive engagement and creating customer feedback loops, Apptentive has helped our customers boost engagement to 23 percent, reaching over 20 times more consumers than the conventional rate. In turn, our customers are able to be more dollar efficient, prioritize product planning better, and expand their loyal segment of customers through listening and responding.
Myth #3: Being “customer centric” is just a feel-good buzzword which everyone uses
Being customer centric is not an option anymore. It’s no longer a nice-to-have; it’s the need of the hour.
Companies must drive urgency and base their business decisions on the most important entity driving revenue: the customer. Data shows that customers expect to be interacted with, and those interactions heavily influence retention. This expectation, coupled with the fact that most brands only hear from less than one percent of their total customer base (the “vocal minority”), means that shifting focus toward customer feedback is critical for brands across all industries in order to stay competitive.
You cannot be customer-centric without developing a deep understanding of your customers. You need to know who they are, what they feel, and what they want. And you don’t have to guess these things anymore. There are tools—like Apptentive—available that will enable you to reach out to customers, collect feedback, and analyze it in a meaningful and actionable way.
Once you develop that understanding, you can then use your customers’ feedback to inform your product roadmap and make data-driven decisions. You can get granular in how you measure what customers feel about your brand. Enlist them as partners in growing your product and providing them a customer experience they will truly cherish.
Separate fact from fiction
As a product leader, it serves to arm yourself with truth when it comes to product management murkiness. If you like what you’ve read so far, there’s more where that came from!
Download your copy of 12 Product Management Myths now and ensure you separate fact from fiction.