In today’s digital world, it’s no secret that delivering an excellent Customer Experience (CX) is paramount. Consumers have more choices available to them than ever before and have come to expect products that are easy to use and effective. Clients and customers want you to be good at anticipating their needs and solving their problems. Here are four questions product managers should ask to ensure a stellar CX.

Product managers are the driving force to guarantee quality and consistency in products and services.

Your Product Manager is behind projects from conception through delivery and support, which puts the full responsibility for CX on their shoulders.

Below are four questions product managers should ask themselves to make sure they’re delivering a solid customer experience and a product that meets users’ needs.

1. Do I really understand my customers?

Product managers always think they understand their customers: their goals, expectations, and the problems they’re seeking to solve.

Often that understanding of the customer isn’t as deep as the company believes it is. It’s easy for any group of people to fall into groupthink about customers, operating on their preconceptions rather than objective customer data.

Add in helpful feedback from non-objective observers like colleagues and senior management, and a team can easily go in the wrong direction.

A non-vetted-vote creates a high risk that you’ll need to go back and redo work. You may be rushing either before launch when you discover the problems, or even worse after launch when you don’t get the traction you expected.

The best way to control for this is to gain an in-depth, objective understanding of how your customers think and feel.

You can gain this understanding via frequent contact with fresh customers who haven’t been contaminated by talking with you previously. I prefer to do this through video rather than in person, for reasons that I’ll explain below.

Relying solely on quantitative data from surveys and analytics won’t cut it when you are searching for concrete data.

Your analytics will tell you what people are doing — but not what they’re thinking. Without human insight, you won’t be able to form high-quality hypotheses on what to build.

It’s important to mention that not all customers are created equal when it comes to obtaining feedback to help guide product design. Product managers need to speak with users who are representative of their customer base as a whole—not outliers sourced from support.

Your noisy people on social media may not be the best resource.

Twitter is not a market research tool — it’s an echo chamber for enthusiasts. Getting feedback from the average customer allows teams to develop products that address the most common challenges users contend with. In this way, you can find “standard” goals that most often you’ll be trying to accomplish.

2. Is engineering on board?

Once product managers have a clear understanding of customer needs, it’s time to make sure engineering understands what to build and why.

The aforementioned video feedback will prove useful here, giving engineers insights into what customers want—straight from the horse’s mouth.

The video feedback lets you align the team quickly, and head off the religious debates that can sometimes slow down a product team. Video feedback from customers is emotionally compelling and settles disputes quickly.

3. Are all of the project’s stakeholders aligned?

Having easy access to customer video feedback is also helpful for aligning all of a project’s stakeholders. Often product teams are bombarded with helpful advice from random employees, senior management, or maybe a sales rep who’s on fire after a single customer meeting.

Video feedback from customers aligns everyone by showing what users actually need, in their own words. This saves product managers the energy of having to explain why a product is being built in a certain way, a process that is usually slow and sometimes politically difficult.

4. Is my message being conveyed appropriately?

Customer feedback should also be shared with your customer-facing teams, especially marketing and sales.

In addition to sharing the initial video feedback that led you to design the product, product managers (or your product marketing people, if you have them) can go back to customers again and test their value proposition to see if it holds true.

Providing marketing and sales with insights on the problems they need to solve, and which features customers liked, ensure that the messages will reflect the real strengths and benefits of your product.

From there, these teams have a solid framework from which to develop content that will closely resonate with prospective customers.

Oftentimes, marketing and sales teams are presented with the task of marketing a product to customers without the added feedback and context you want them to have.

Sales may be successful in communicating certain selling points, but you’ll want them included and coordinated with the feedback so your results aren’t disjointed campaigns with materials that don’t do the product justice.

Conclusion

Qualitative customer feedback is the backbone of creating outstanding CX and proves to be valuable at nearly every step in the product development process. By keeping in mind these four crucial questions, product managers can keep their projects on the path to delivering a product that is tightly aligned with customer needs.