Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Processing Customer Requests

Your customer support department receives bug reports and feature requests from users. How should your company deal with these reports and requests?

Many product teams grow tired of dealing with the on-slaught of customers who think they know better than you what should go in your product, and which bugs are the highest priority to fix. And those who tire of the on-slaught have a point - customers often don't know better. However, you can learn with them if you follow up to uncover the root problems and the business contexts underlying the bug reports and feature requests. A product manager is ideally suited to perform this kind of follow-up.

As a result of the follow-up, the product manager and the customer may both conclude that the bug or feature is really irrelevant to the bigger picture. An innovative way to solve the customer's problem may come to light. Or the customer may discover a new way to use the product that achieves the same result as the feature she requested. Either way, customer support should not be a one-way valve for information.

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