Most companies today operate with similar structures, where sales and customer support teams are the primary teams with direct access to a company’s customers. But these teams aren’t the ones building a product that’s supposedly optimized for the customers’ needs. In order to build a great product that customers love, product and engineering teams are relying on 2nd-degree communication to understand what the customers want.
Oftentimes, new products and features are created on the basis of things that come either indirectly from the customers or are based on some other idea altogether, such as:
That’s not to say that every new feature at every company is just arbitrarily created. Product people are smart, and there are a lot of frameworks that have been created—like user interviews, NPS analysis, feature usage, support tickets, and sales feedback—to gather customer feedback and ultimately pick up work on a feature. That said, these methods don’t give us a crystal ball to understand if the feature is actually needed by the majority of customers, or if it’ll actually solve a problem. So, we at Titan did something that’s often overlooked or disregarded—we asked our customers.
We thought: “What if we stop guessing, and enable our customers to tell us exactly what they need?” This is the idea of co-creation. This is making our customers’ first-class citizens in our product roadmap, giving them a dedicated pipeline with full transparency. To do this right, we had to implement two important aspects of this framework:
Right within the Titan product itself, we’ve implemented the intuitive ability for a customer to request a feature or upvote other people’s requests, within a message-board style interface. The fact of the matter is, that inspiration has no schedule; it strikes at any possible time, so we wanted to ensure our customers had easy access to submit their ideas.
Essentially, this became a public product roadmap, giving visibility and input to all Titan customers. They can interact and upvote on features and specific things they would like to see from the platform. Now when our product team is prioritizing product features, the customer research is right there for them to understand the impact and potential of a certain feature.
To ensure the customer requests are processed and treated in a certain manner and their ideas don’t end up in an empty abyss, we’ve implemented an entire lifecycle for every request:
Acknowledge receipt by responding to the request and letting the customer know that the team is reviewing it
Ultimately, much of the success we’ve seen in this process has come from following through on this lifecycle for each and every request that comes in.
By co-creating Titan with our customers, we’ve seen three measurable outcomes:
By solving your customers’ problems, you’re turning them into natural advocates of your product, and we see the proof of this in the correlation between NPS and Titan’s word of mouth. Between October 2021 through April 2022, Titan’s product team shipped five major features that Titan’s Premium users requested, and the result is a clear correlation between that set of customers and the NPS scores they’ve submitted.
To succeed in a space like hosting and domains that are already comprised of a lot of big, successful players, we’re relying on our community as an asset that provides feedback and inputs into Titan’s development. By ensuring the community is getting a product they actually need, they’ve become very vocal advocates and promoters, not just through word of mouth, but on all review platforms, differentiating Titan from the other players in the industry.
We at Titan believe that co-creation in your product is the key to category leadership. It is significantly harder to become the best in the world at selling domains and hosting, but becoming a leader in your category is possible by differentiating yourself in a specific niche. If you can find that your customers have specific needs that no one else is solving, category leadership is yours by solving them.
To sum it up, co-creating with your customers i.e. making them first-class citizens in your product roadmap not only helps you get a pulse on your customers’ needs but also lets you laser-focus your product development and create a product that your customers love and vouch for. That leads to a high NPS which leads to achieving Category Leadership because you’ve built a product completely in line with your target customers’ expectations.