Let’s set the scene… It’s 2019, and your SaaS company has big dreams and aspirations for growth. You’re pretty switched on and clued up and so you realize that one of the key factors for growth is tapping into all that product feedback you’ve been collecting.
Now you’re probably faced with a pretty important question: Who, exactly, is going to manage this feedback?
Your first instinct is likely to put a Product Manager, Owner, or maybe even the Head of Product, in charge. After all, your Product team are the ones that need to use this feedback, so it makes sense to have them owning it.
However, there is an alternative that might be far better suited to the tasks involved with managing product feedback: A Customer Success Manager.
There are several reasons why a Customer Success Manager is the perfect person to manage product feedback…
They Know your Customers
Your CSMs know your customers better than anyone. Each customer has their own ideas of what they want from your product, and a CSM understands the context around those ideas.
This is really important because a lot of feedback often goes ignored when the Product team doesn’t really understand why a customer wants something. It doesn’t have the context.
A CSM, however, will already have a grasp on the context and so they can focus on the actual feedback and the bits that matter most. They’ll understand what your customer is trying to achieve, and so when they ask for something, they know how that request will help them achieve it.
This leads to a better idea of what your customers are asking for, and provides detail for your Product team to work with.
Your Customers Know Them
This already existing relationship also works the other way. In the same way your CSMs know your customers better, your customers know them.
When it comes to providing feedback, your customers will be far more forthcoming with information if they can speak to somebody they’re already familiar with.
Chances are, they haven’t ever spoken to a Product manager from your company, and so it can be a little awkward for them.
In the event you need to follow up on feedback requests, a CSM is far more likely to be given the information they need, and the customer will enjoy the interaction far more.
How to Pass Responsibility to your Success Team
So, now that we’ve established that CSMs make great feedback managers, I want to explain how you can ensure that managing feedback becomes their responsibility.
The first thing you need to do is make everyone aware, including your customers, that your Success team is going to own the feedback process.
You can send out an internal email to staff, and you can let your customers know by updating your Product Feedback Policy, or by creating one if you haven’t already got one.
Here’s a handy template that walks you through creating a Product Feedback Policy.
The other important thing you need to consider is that it’s ultimately your Product team who need access to the feedback so they can use it to inform what they build.
Sometimes the Product team doesn’t like the idea of taking feedback on-board, and this can lead to a strained relationship with Success.
However, if you take the time to get everyone on the same page, with a shared understanding of the benefits of feedback, and find out what will help your Product team the most, then you’ll find that Product and Success can work perfectly well together.
Essentially, the important part of feedback is that you actually take the time to listen to it and use it to guide your thinking. As long as somebody is taking charge, then you’ll be able to make the most of the feedback you collect.
That being said, it makes sense to put the right people in charge of managing feedback so that you get as much use out of it as possible.
Your CSMs already know your customers, and your customer know them, and so they’re the best choice for the job.
Then it’s just a case of making sure everyone knows that Success are owning that side of things.