How customer support can help create better products

MJ Marques, Product Manager at Tymeshift, and Kirsty Pinner, Product Manager at SentiSum
MJ Marques, Product Manager at Tymeshift, and Kirsty Pinner, Product Manager at SentiSum
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In this episode of the Support Insights podcast, we take a look at the link between customer support and product management.

With me is MJ Marques, who spent 10 years as a customer support professional before moving into product management in 2018 (currently building workforce management solution, Tymeshift).

We're also joined by SentiSum's own head of product, Kirsty Pinner, who has built SentiSum's platform to help companies turn customer support conversations in to insights that improve their products.

MJs move between careers make her uniquely qualified to answer one of the big questions this podcast episode answers: How can customer support professionals make the move into product?

Both MJ and Kirsty's background (building and working in tech for support teams) give them first-hand experience of the power of customer support voice of the customer data. So we deep dive into that and learn why product managers need to make better use of it as a channel of customer insight.

The episode covers these key topics:

  1. What is the link between product management and customer support?
  2. What useful data can be found in customer support
  3. Reasons why support agents and support ticket insights can be so powerful for product teams
  4. How customer support teams can make their voice heard across the business
  5. Why companies need to realise that customer support is the best training ground for almost any role
  6. How to sell your skillset and transition from support to product—lots of practical advice.
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Timestamps for 'how customer support helps create better products'

00:52 What is the link between product and support?

02:43 Why is there growing awareness about the value of support for product managers?

05:27 Support and product both value the customer—how do you prioritise what is fixed?

07:35 Is it more difficult in a corporate to have accessibility between support and product?

08:00 When MJ realised the connection between product and support. When they had recurring meetings where support shows product and QA the issues they are seeing.

08:55 How to overcome a loss of contact between product and support as a company scales (support professionals are product experts and have regular meetings with their dedicated product manager)

13:30 How do you prioritise feature requests and get them in a place where product managers will look at them?

15:49 When it comes to B2C the data shines through on the biggest issues facing customers

16:56 Why support data is so powerful for identifying customer journey frictions

18:58 You need to make your voice heard and make a compelling case for automating an issue

19:16 One way to tie product and support together is to link product manager performance to support issues

20:20 What other useful data can be found in customer support?

20:55 When do feature requests inform product strategy for PMs—using support to build evidence about what customer’s want.

22:50 Would support tickets be enough to inform a new feature? Or is more research needed?

23:57 How did MJ move from support to product?

32:20 What are some practical bits of advice for moving support to product?

36:15 You don’t need all the skills in advance to get a product job

37:31 Support leaders should be getting their team collaborating cross-functionally so they are engaged

39:08 More people need to realise support is the best training ground for anyone. The more support people go to the rest of the business, the more valued support will become.

39:44 Other ways support professionals can drive growth across a business

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