I recently spoke with Boris Golden, Lead Product Manager at Pealk, a great new product out of Paris, France that aims to dramatically simplify the way we engage with professionals on LinkedIn. Boris expressed an interest in OneDesk, specifically to help him strengthen and tie his ideation activities to the rest of the development process.
Read my interview with Boris and learn about his thoughts and experiences related to customer feedback management and the important role that it plays in new product development.
1) Congratulations on the launch, Boris. Pealk looks like a really great new product. What are some of the customer pain points Pealk is addressing?
Hello Catherine, and thank you very much! Yes, we have launched Pealk yesterday! We think about Pealk as the #1 Hunting App for LinkedIn. With Pealk on top of their LinkedIn Account, recruiters / marketers / business developers can very easily find & engage professionnals on LinkedIn!
Today, if you’re interested in using LinkedIn to find & engage people, you will face several pain points (that are not yet solved by LinkedIn Premium Subscriptions):
- You will have to open hundreds of profiles to find the right targets.
- You will hardly be able to save and organize interesting profiles easily (as you would do with files on your desktop).
- You will spend so much time trying to customize your messages and ending sending bulk messages that are not really engaging.
- You won’t be able to monitor who accepted your invitations to connect, and won’t have any analytics at all on your job of “LinkedIn hunter”.
Pealk has been built to address those pain points, with an easy-to-use & well-designed web application! Drag&drop, click, and that’s it!
2) As a product manager, why do you believe it is important to listen to your customers and capture their feedback?
As a product manager in a web startup, the most valuable thing I’m looking for when the product is launched is feedback. Vision is essential, but a great product can only be built with a lot of iteration (on the features, but also on the positioning, on the design, etc). That’s perfectly described by the Lean Startup movement.
We’re always listening to our customers. Before defining what we want the product to be, during the design of the product, and after the launch, to make to our product the slight changes that could make a difference, and of course to prepare our future releases. But it doesn’t mean I just gather what customers say and I impact our product strategy in consequence. I have to balance between our vision for Pealk and what our customers say. Changing habits is difficult, so you must be humble and don’t pretend to invent radically new way of doing things for your users. At the same time, creating an innovative product also mean being able to disrupt something in your users’ habits!
3) What type of feedback methods do you believe are the most effective in understanding the needs of customers and does your team plan to integrate customer feedback throughout the new product development process?
That’s a tough question 🙂
First, I think the fundamental step is “field study”. Go and see how people are working. What are their real habits, pain points and needs! Don’t pretend to know your customers better than they do when you have never spent time listening to them…
Then, it’s clear that showing a prototype to potential customers (either a basic landing page, a PowerPoint slideshow, a detailed mockup or a working minimum viable product) can help you understand what could bring a great traction to your product. So that you don’t end up launching a product nobody wants!
Finally, when your product has been launched (that’s where we are here @ Pealk), listening through all possible channels (social media, email, calls, meetings, etc) to your current customers and trying to figure out what it means for your product roadmap. Impacting your strategy with the feedbacks your customer give you. But also with the data you can gather on them! Here at Pealk, we have built an exhaustive dashboard allowing us to understand how our users use our features, how much time they spend on each, etc. But we still lack a seamless integration of all the different channels!
4) What advice would you give other startups regarding “listening to the voice of the customer?”
- Deploy a system (like OneDesk) to gather & analyze all the feedback, all the ideas, and to be able to impact your roadmap with them. Feedbacks are virtual gold, so don’t spoil them!
- Define & implement metrics to monitor how people use your product. Know the analytics of your product!
- Talk to your customers in person! Make phone calls! Don’t only rely on feedbacks or analytics. They don’t tell you the whole story about how customer feel about your product!
Boris Golden is co-founder and lead product manager of Pealk. His passion is to develop innovative technology products with a great user experience.