Can You Be Product and Customer Experience Driven at the Same Time?


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small_5247226215Are you familiar with the phrase, “the best of both worlds?” I am. In my personal life, I’m constantly tempted to make decisions that combine multiple things I like. For instance, when I’m out to dinner – I often think, why not recommend that my dining companion order my second choice on the menu. I can have a few bites, but also enjoy my own meal. It’s the best of both worlds. (Future dinner dates, now you know my secret!)
But, when it comes to business choices, this sentiment does not apply.

When determining your company’s primary focus, you must prioritize. Is your company product-driven or customer experience-driven? I’ve never seen one company that can prioritize both equally and effectively.

When it comes down to it, this is not just a business model choice – it is ultimately ingrained in the core philosophy of your organization. Even if individuals have differing opinions or preferences, it is essential that decisions are made that align with your company’s primary focus. This is intrinsic to the health of your company – splitting that focus is almost guaranteed to make you less successful.

But how do you choose if you are product driven or customer experience driven? All too often people confuse what kind of company they are. Let’s explore what kind of company you are:

  • You might be a product-driven company if…
    • Your product development starts by identifying enhancements of features and functionalities.
    • Your product is improved because your organization can easily update and add to it. (I.e., when coding software, the developers can easily add in new requests/features because they have their hands in the code.)
    • Your product managers are viewed as a team to be managed.
    • You look at your product line and ask, “How can I sell more?”
  • You might be a customer experience-driven company if…
    • Your product development starts by identifying the customer’s needs.
    • Your product is tested with customers as it is developed.
    • Your product is improved because your customers have asked for it.
    • Your product managers are loved.
    • You look at your product line and ask, “How does this product help solve my customer’s problems?”

Feel confident in your decision. Choosing to be product-driven or customer experience-driven requires extreme alignment among the leadership team – and ultimately throughout the entire company. But in the end, alignment leads to great success. So, I urge you: choose one.

photo credit: {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Linda Ireland
Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner of Aveus LLC, a global strategy and operational change firm that helps leaders find money in the business performance chain while improving customer experiences. As author of Domino: How to Use Customer Experience to Tip Everything in Your Business toward Better Financial Performance, Linda built on work done at Aveus and aims to deliver real-life, actionable, how-to help for leaders of any organization.


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