Roland Tanglao lends his support to a post on Telepocalypse calling for more accessibility/interaction between customers (likely both direct and end users) and corporate product managers.
No offense intended (honestly), but is this a new idea? Sure, most companies due a poor job of exposing their internal staff to the “harsh” outside world directly, but quality product managers (and marketers) are trained (or eventually learn in some awkward and painful way) to listen to their customers; heck, at most companies, the PM is described as the “customer champion”.
Why? Because product managers, corporate cultures notwithstanding, are really mini-GMs. They worry about everything involving the business and its manifestation via product, from the business plan/model (P&L), to product functionality/design, to technical implementation, to positioning & messaging… and certainly all the way through to the voice and feedback of the customer.
Quality PMs know that they must gather customer feedback (from Customer Support, Sales, and any other customer facing organization) in order to (minimally):
1. Gather bugs
2. Gather feature requests
3. Gather competitive perspectives
4. And perhaps most importantly, understanding the changing and unmet needs of customers
Aside: High quality PMs do this not only by pawing through CS logs, etc, but by actually TALKING (not just emailing) to potential, current and churned customers, ideally in person (and not just during focus group, beta test, etc project phases).
Why bother? Because PMs have limited resources to work with, and they must weigh all of the above against competitive threats, general environment (economic, social, political, etc) changes, and so on, in order to refine a business and product strategy that allows them to win the market, satisfy customers and generate earnings.
So I guess I agree… in the sense that you’re just asking people to do a better (and more transparent) job… but you shouldn’t need to. I suspect that’s your point! 😉
Side note: Roland, that may be the longest blog URL I’ve ever seen! 🙂