ABCD of Product Lifecycle Mistakes

There are many things that companies do to make their customers happy. Every company wants to see happy customers who go gaga about their products or services. Rightly so that is the way to create a leadership position in the market.

While having a killer product or service is the key however many companies can fall prey to their own over-confidence in the customer insight they have. This over-confidence creeps in from assumptions about customers that are not validated. There could be gaps in persona creation or inaccurate customer journey mapping for the persona and there could be many more.

Once the gap goes unnoticed, mistaken assumptions are taken forward in the design and build decisions. There are gates like prototyping and value discovery where such gaps could be discovered before the product is taken to the market, however, as I mentioned earlier over-confidence can be a sticky blindfold that is very difficult to remove.

Once such a product or feature ends up in customers’ hands, obviously customers might have problems. Some customers will run away at the earliest opportunity. There will be few customers who are loyal and can come back to voice their problems. Some companies will listen to them patiently and they will go back to their notes and papers to understand what went wrong. Other companies, at this point, fall victim to the first mistake which is to “avoid” customer interactions. This is mostly cultural and the notion is the customer is always looking for features or changes. This missed opportunity is not validating the golden assumptions that are actually responsible for this situation.

Even for the ones that have taken time to listen to the customer, some of the companies may actually fall victim to another adversary which is “blame”. Some companies will blame it on the customers’ lack of knowledge or low techno-savviness. This tells a lot about the maturity of usability validation in the design process. But some companies take this feedback positively and accept the gap and try to correct it.

Once companies accept the gap, they take a few steps back and try to mend their ways forward. They come back with alternatives and options for the customers they love to help. It is in no way an easy task and they have to work very hard for that. Nevertheless, if they have not validated the incorrect assumption and corrected it in the first few steps, they come up with options that tend to “confuse” the customer. This can be a costly mistake as this can result in the churn of some loyal customers who voiced their concern with the hope that their problems might get solved. Iteratively discovering value is a prevalent practice but the trick is to go back to the basics and fix the fundamentals (correct the erroneous assumptions in this case) and then pivot rather than taking a pre-mature call at the face value.

Companies who have come this far by fixing the fundamental assumptions can successfully mend the dented customer trust by delivering a workable solution without further “delay” which the next adversary. The delay could be for so many reasons but mostly it may be due to operational reasons. Companies that have not implemented agile and continuous delivery in the true sense may find it difficult to turn the fix around within the expected time.

The issues may seem very trivial, however, some of them can cause serious bottlenecks and may impact the product’s growth trajectory significantly. The issues can be effectively eliminated with proper alignment of organization goals and practice of an open culture that celebrates experimentation and learning from them.

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Chiranjib loves to solve real-life problems with empathy, creativity, and teamwork.

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Chiranjib Bhattacharjee

Chiranjib Bhattacharjee

Chiranjib loves to solve real-life problems with empathy, creativity, and teamwork.

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