Product roadmaps are visual representations showcasing the company’s product’s growth and progress. They are invaluable to companies during product development and product evolution.
But how exactly are product roadmaps valuable to companies, and how do they affect product evolution?
This blog post will discuss why product roadmaps are important, how product and customer service teams can collaborate to create better roadmaps, and why this collaboration is more effective.
Why Are Product Roadmaps Important?
Product roadmaps are integral to the product team’s work. The product team and product managers look after them. However, because a company revolves around its products, all other departments and stakeholders are impacted by the product evolution.
Even though product roadmaps are worked on by the product team, keeping that planning and development in isolation is not a good framework for the company.
Why Should the Product Team Collaborate with the Customer Service Team Before the Product Has Been Launched?
To create product roadmaps, the product team needs to consult all stakeholders, including the sales, marketing, engineering, and finance departments.
However, the customer support department can be the most valuable collaborator for successfully driving the product roadmap and product evolution.
Both teams, including project managers and customer support agents, aim to provide customer satisfaction through a good product and excellent customer service.
The product needs to improve and evolve over time, and the customer support department is the most direct resource of valuable data that can help guide this evolution.
The customer support department knows and understands what the customers like and don’t like. They get direct feedback on the product and have an in-depth knowledge of problems with the product that they have been helping customers solve through their help desk.
Even with this seemingly obvious connection, only 58% of product teams take in influence from their customer support teams on the product roadmap, and only one out of three product managers follow up with the feedback being provided by the customers.
How Should the Product Team Collaborate with the Customer Service Team After the Product Has Been Launched?
Once a product has been launched and used by the customers, the customer support team becomes a company’s primary point of contact with the customers.
Any future product changes and add-ons should be guided by what the customers want and would respond to. Here’s what a typical collaboration effort would look like:
1. Create a Cohesive Product Roadmap
The product team’s prediction and tentative plan may oppose customer feedback completely. In such a case, the product managers must consider the valuable insight offered by the customer support team and come up with a cohesive product roadmap.
2. Incorporate Knowledge From the CS Team
The product team must incorporate knowledge from the customer support team, and it is equally important for customer support staff to get product training from the product team to be better able to serve the customers.
3. Create a Plan for Answering Customer Queries
The product team should effectively communicate any new developments in the product to the support agents. Hence, they are well-equipped to deal with customer queries.
With this in-depth understanding of the product, the support agents can also filter out customers’ concerns and criticisms, creating a plan for answering customer queries.
4. Communicate CS All Insights to the Product Team
The valuable feedback given to the support staff can then be relayed to the product team for product planning and tweaking, as when it comes to improving the product, adding in more features, or drastically changing the product plan, customer feedback is more valuable than any external product research in the market.
How Can You Strengthen the Collaboration Between the Product Roadmap and Customer Teams?
The collaboration of the product team with the customer support team can also be taken one step further to be transformed into collaboration with customers themselves.
Since the end goal of all company efforts is to make the customer happy, taking their feedback to drive the product roadmap is a way to ensure success.
Here are some ways you can strengthen the collaboration between the product and customer teams:
· Products Analytics
Product analytics shows the product team what the customers are doing with the product or how their product is being used. It also includes insights that describe what the customers need from the product.
Moreover, product analytics provides you with the necessary information that can be crosschecked with real interactions between customer support agents and customers. It also gives concrete numbers that product managers can use to support their ideas in front of executive members and other concerned departments, such as finance and marketing.
The teams can collaboratively derive invaluable metrics from product analytics and customer feedback, including customer engagement, conversion rates, customer retention, churn, feature adoption, cohort performance, etc.
· Qualitative Feedback
Both teams can also come together to collect direct qualitative feedback from the customers through product analytics. When the customer support teams have the guidance of the product team, their interviews and surveys can become more in-depth and concentrated around specific product features or development plans.
Using the knowledge and reach of customer support, the product team can work on a development plan, roll it out, and get specific feedback from the customers regarding the development.
These rollouts or soft launches can be supervised using product analytics where both teams keep a close watch on how the customers have received the rollout, and further improvements in the product can be guided.
The Bottom Line
The collaboration between product and customer service teams has a world of potential for companies to benefit from. This collaboration goes beyond company structure to involve customers in the feedback loop and empower employees to contribute more to their work than just their fixed roles.
You can achieve this collaboration by having product managers shadow the support staff, allowing product developers temporarily serve as customer support workers, and making the product and customer service teams work together whenever an opportunity arises.