From Complaints to Problems by Clive Lam

At Product Camp Sydney 2011 Clive Lam shared some tips and tricks with us on how we can go from complaints to the actual problems in his session “From complaints to problems”

Clive has been a Product Manager for the last year but also knows the insights of stakeholders work as he has experience in Project Management, deployment and delivery of internet services.

The following article gives a summary of his sessions with some handy insights, tips and tricks.

FROM COMPLAINTS TO PROBLEMS

Preparing

  • Make sure that when you approach your customer visits, that you prime your audience as to what you are doing, and how you will approach it. I like letting them know I’m going to be asking them “why” a lot
  • put a framework around the time that you spend
    • make sure you do spend time understanding people’s complaints
  • Remember that your product probably does some amazing stuff today, it’s people’s natures to complain
  • come in with a theme for your discovery session

Finding the right information

  • How do we find customers?
    • Sometimes our most harshest critics are the ones who will give us the most honest answers
    • Take a cross section, make a matrix of verticals and size and then select a sampling of each group
  • Customer interviews are best done in person
  • We need to be careful to weigh up the voices of those that speak loudest against those that have a well considered thought
  • Ask customers to “show you” what their pain is
    • Often what customers say and what they do can be different
    • It’s a good idea to record this, so you can replicate and you can show others
    • understand the requirement behind what your customers are trying to do (sometimes customers just do things because they don’t know any better)
  • One initiative that my company is doing is using Net Promoter Scores, and trying to work out how to move people from being net detractors Ó neutral and from neutral Ó net promoters, this helps us identify themes and targets issues
  • Go through your Support team’s support cases regularly to try and identify themes to talk to customers about
  • Focus groups
  • Use a variety of tools (such as surveys) to help validate some of your findings

Alternate sources

  • One initiative that my company is doing is using Net Promoter Scores, and trying to work out how to move people from being net detractors Ó neutral and from neutral Ó net promoters, this helps us identify themes and targets issues
  • Go through your Support team’s support cases regularly to try and identify themes to talk to customers about
  • Focus groups
  • Use a variety of tools (such as surveys) to help validate some of your findings

Tips & tricks

  • ask “why” at least 7 times
  • Often complaints and requests hide a hidden requirement that we just need to dig out
  • Keep practicing by keeping on seeing customers
  • Bring a voice recorder so you can focus on digging deeper rather than trying to take notes