How to use customer feedback to cut through internal conflict

When a big product or strategy decision looms on the horizon, different teams often have opinions that are at odds with one another. You might ask, can’t quantitative data resolve such conflicts of opinion? Each team may have its own data and interpret their data to suit their own point of view.

To untangle such situations, as explained by Tricia Wang at Mind the Product, let members of your organization see and hear customer feedback first-hand. Don’t go do the research by yourself and report back after it’s done.

“A few years ago, we were working with one of our clients–a fortune 50 packaged goods brand based out of the midwest. And one of teams was about to launch a laundry detergent into an urban market like New York City which is totally different from their [core] market which is the suburbs and the midwest. And the team could not agree on many things.

There were executives who thought they knew the voice of the customer because they’d been there for 20 years and many of them were just cherry-picking the voice of the customer from decks that would fit their own idea of what the customer wanted. And the GM would say I’ve worked in this business for 10 years and I have statistics that say people love coupons. And the product people would say we know people want convenience and packaging, and the salesperson would say no-no, we know people will only buy from their local convenience store. And the marketing person would say it’s all about Millenials and we should ignore everyone else (haha).

As a researcher, we’re going to facilitate, we’re going to model for you how you can bring all your cross-functional partners together to hear the voice of the customer and to discover new things and most importantly–make a decision. Well, how we will do that? All you need is three days. Pack up your bag and you’re coming to Brooklyn…and for a few days, everyone has to live together and just bring your dirty laundry.

After just one day of doing laundry in laundromats in New York City and hanging out and talking to customers together…they actually decided as a team to scrap their entire go-to-market plan where the messaging assumed that people hated doing their laundry.”

Tricia Wang

Whether it’s survey data, customer interviews, or something as elaborate as an ethnographic study described above, find ways to let your stakeholders discover the insights with you.

Make them a part of the process and the insights will feel like their own rather than someone else’s idea that they have to buy into.