By Laura Campbell, Product Manager
Product management isn’t just about building the best technology anymore. It’s about managing customers’ impressions throughout the product lifecycle and delivering experiences they won’t forget.
So when I joined West a year ago as a product manager and was introduced to our organization’s embrace of Customer Experience Lifecycle Management (CXLM), I faced a bit of a learning curve. In prior experiences, I focused more on delivery and feature functionality. When I was asked to be a CXLM advocate, I struggled to see how it fit into my role as a builder of new products and features.
What a difference a year makes! In the past few months, we’ve brought our new customer Portal online for our West internal and external users, creating a single platform to access all the tools West supports, including IVR, contact center and proactive messaging. But to prepare for exceptional experiences for our users, we brought CXLM into a customer-centric product management process by focusing on three factors customers are looking for:
- Functional. Does the product meet my needs?
- Accessible. Is it easy to use?
- Emotional. Do I feel a positive connection with this product?
It worked out well, because we wanted those same traits to describe our new product, too.
Customer-centric product management
Customer Experience (CX) is a sum of all the touch-points along a customer’s journey with a brand, so all your products must be part of a connected experience. For example, West’s customer Portal creates a seamless interaction between products. Users can move from product to product within the Portal and center all their West-related activity in one location. This not only improves the functionality of Portal but for all the user’s West products.
Second, brands must provide consistent and ongoing communication with their customers. While developing our customer Portal, we knew it was critical for us to make the roll-out as consultative as possible. Now we provide weekly updates, training and informative sessions to make our Portal accessible from the get-go. That gives our clients the tools to become brand ambassadors and share the product with others.
Finally, we realized a vital component of CXLM is the ability to measure success and continuously rebuild and improve. So our team is placing a feedback feature within the Portal itself to complete a true feedback loop with clients. Any time you allow customers to make suggestions, you foster a positive, emotional connection between them and your product. Plus, you get a direct opportunity to provide the product and experience they crave.
By incorporating CXLM into the product development process, our customer-centric product management process has paved the way for even better product solutions that are more predictive and prescriptive. It’s a process of learning, building, and renewing, and we’ve learned many great lessons along the way.
As we continue to optimize the Portal in coming months, our team will continue making our customers’ Portal experience a uniquely connected one. After all, great customer experiences first need great product management.