I Love Users…
I genuinely do love users. I love talking to them, whether it’s in person, on the phone, through email, or through a forum. I love the feedback loop, even when it’s negative (and often especially when it’s negative).
Part of the infatuation is self-serving. Happy users become Product Advocates. And an evangelizing Product Advocate is the absolute best form of marketing. Bar none. No amount of advertising or social media content will ever replace a user bragging to their coworker or neighbor. That is the kind of promotion that you just can’t buy.
Another part of my love for users is that I am one. So are you. Everyday we have great experiences (often overlooked), and abysmal ones (unfortunately never overlooked).
But mostly, I love users because their reactions to products encapsulate the success for failure of a mountain of unseen effort.
Onsite visit with a customer. After seeing this picture, I realized I use my hands a lot when talking.
By The Numbers
In addition to spearheading the creation of the Question & Answer forum, I also use it to interact with my end users on a daily basis. Aside from the positive business impacts of promoting customer engagement and influencing customer success, forums such as this also give Product Managers powerful first-hand feedback, and force the PM to acknowledge and think about product related questions from a users perspective.
How do I…? Where can I find…? Why can’t…? How come…?
And if a Product Manager is tired of answering a question in a user forum, that is powerful fuel to drive enhancements that meet a real user need. Identifying and resolving common points of confusion or failure is a pleasure, not a chore, and user forums should be seen in the same light.
Below are just a spattering of the real responses I get from my users via the forum.
“Thank you so much Josiah. It worked perfectly.”
“Josiah, finally, thank you for the answer! All is well now… thanks again.”
“Ta daahhh! It is lovely when the easy way works.”
“Brilliant! That works like a charm.”
“I wondered if that was the reason it wasn’t working for me but it’s working now with your script. Thanks Josiah!”
I didn’t notice that feature. I set it up and tested it. It works! Thanks!
“Nice! Easier than I thought. Thanks so much!”
“You saved the day yet again Josiah. Thanks for your help. :)”
“This is awesome. I’ll try this out and keep you updated!”
“368 questions have been asked. And do you know who answers those questions? Josiah.
And you read the dialog, and it’s phenomenal. And you read the happiness from our customers when they ask a question, and Josiah or another team member shows them how to do it in the product, and they achieve what they were looking for in the software, and that goes live; They’re absolutely thrilled. Community was a huge part of our customer success plan for last year.”
FWI President & CEO
2017 Company Meeting