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Engaging with Customers to Find Successful Solutions

Customers
Conflict Solving
Feedback
Embracing Failures
Users

23 December, 2021

Erik Rogne
Erik Rogne

Product at Rescale

Erik Rogne, Sr Product Manager at Rescale, describes how his data-driven approach was proven wrong after interacting with his customer base to add features to a product.

Having an Identity Product with a High Churn Rate

When I first began my employment with a company, I was working directly on our identity product. This product enabled customers to license specific parts of our identity graph and use our identities in their environment. However, we had one problem with this product, as customers were churning from it much faster than some of our other products. My role was to figure out what was going on with a higher churn rate, including engaging with the customer.

Using Metrics and Interacting with Customers

Learning About the Customer:

My first action step was to meet with our customer base and receive their input on our product. The specific customer for this product was our platform customers: usually developers and other very technical users. Generally, when these customers buy a product, they use it for a significant amount of time.

Looking into the Data:

I dove into a few different data areas, such as support tickets, salesforce data in order to understand why the customers left our product. The common theme that I found was that identity mapping had outdated linkages, meaning that it was leading our customers down out-of-date rabbit holes. I connected with the sales team, and they assured me that these linkages were the primary reason that many customers churned from this product.

From my findings, I created a hypothesis to combat this high churn rate; I could update our linkages so our customers could use the function as intended. While the data was leading me to a specific issue, I hadn’t spoken with our customer base throughout this process.

Engaging with the Customer:

I knew that I couldn’t move forward without directly chatting with existing and churned customers about our product. Throughout these conversations, I wanted to understand the use case and pain points of our product. I didn’t want to propose a solution during our meetings but rather try and understand their challenges.

I learned that our customers didn’t want my team to filter out the linkages but rather more visibility, setting their parameters. Simply put, they wanted more control, and by updating the linkages, we would be giving them less control.

Developing Features:

After these conversations with these customers, my team created a feature that gave customers more information about the updates of our linkages. With this feature, the customer had the choice to filter out the linkages on their side, meaning they could customize the tool to their own particular needs. While solving the problems of our customer base, this product also minimized the number of questions sent to customer support related to the product.

Understanding Technical Customers

  • It is essential to understand who the specific user is. Compared to non-technical users, technical users usually want more customization and more complex features.
  • Understanding the ‘why’ behind everything makes decision-making significantly easier. Data and metrics can only take you so far before you need to connect with your customers personally and talk person to person.

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