No matter what type of product your company develops, the goals and vision should always be customer-driven. Product managers need to understand their customer’s pain points, and how they do their work in order to create proper frameworks and strategies. So, how do product managers create a stubborn long-term vision that is flexible in execution? This week, ProductTalk host and Transfix Director of Brand Content and Sustainability, Patrick Blute, interviews CareRev COO, Filiz Genca, who shares insights on how to create customer-driven goals and frameworks that align with your company’s vision. 

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On How to Set Customer-Driven Goals in an Evolving Sector

Customer needs are always changing, and it is often hard to look long-term in an ever-changing marketplace. In order to properly create and execute goals, product managers must be flexible in the details of how they achieve their goals, but firm on their vision. Innovation in any industry requires customer-driven frameworks and strategies. This is how to create customer-driven goals in an evolving sector:

“For me, it boils down to two things. One is obsessing over your customer and your end user. You really want to understand their pain points, how they do their work, and what are you trying to solve. Then, the second is being stubborn on your vision, but being flexible on the details of how you go and achieve that.” 

“So, innovation in any industry requires a level of customer obsession, rather than a competitor obsession. So you really want to find ways to talk, listen, and be with the customers. And this innovation is done through listening to your customers and inventing on behalf of them.”

“So, CareRev specifically, we obsess over our health care professionals and the health systems. We’re meeting both sides of our marketplace regularly, asking questions, listening, watching how they do their day-to-day, learning how they operate, and identifying what their pain points are. And we take that back to figure out how we can solve that.”

On Being Stubborn on Long-term Vision But Flexible on Execution

To get to a long-term goal, you have to make many short-term maps along the way. Product managers need to have mechanisms and strategies for creating successful, customer-driven products in an ever-changing marketplace. During her time at Amazon, Filiz learned the concept of one-way door vs two-way door decision-making. One-way door decisions cannot be easily reversed, and need to be done carefully. Two-way door decisions can be reversed and can be made faster or even automated. Here is what’s important to remember when a creating customer-driven vision:

“It’s really important to keep a big picture view of the landscape, and what has contributed to it being the way that it is today. How does that change over time, and what role can CareRev play in that evolution? And we do that by really keeping a deep understanding of the needs of our healthcare professionals and the hospital systems, and having a very dedicated, curious team that is asking the right questions.” 

“One of the best decision-making frameworks that I’ve learned is the concept of the one-way door vs the two-way door decision. When you have a two-way door decision, you can make those fast. You don’t have to have all the data that you might like to have because you know that you can walk back from it. It’s sort of this, experimentation, let’s learn.”

“One-way door decisions require a lot more thought. There’s more intention behind it. There’s more data that’s required, and some higher judgment to move forward because you can’t walk those back as easily. It is a one-way door. So, those decisions are typically escalated to more senior leaders, or the executive teams really have more constructive conversations on which way to go.”

On How to Empower Your Team to Execute Frameworks & Goals

Product managers work very closely with customers. A lot of the job is tied to communicating with customers and analyzing data in order to improve their company’s product. The entirety of the product management process is customer-driven. Product managers should feel empowered to make decisions that ensure the right thing is being done for their customers. Check out how Filiz empowers her product managers to execute customer-driven goals:

“A lot of it is tying back to the customer and the end user. They’re really close, they’re listening to them, they’re closer than I am, in some instances. They’re meeting with them on a day-to-day basis, really understanding what their needs are.”

“I enjoy creating a work culture that encourages constructive debates and healthy challenges. And at the end of the day, I want to see and hear my team’s diverse perspectives and opinions to ensure that what we’re doing is the right thing for the customer.” 

“One instance a two-way door decision is, one of the product managers was looking to experiment with, a third party survey mechanism for us to get more feedback back from one of our facility partners. She just was like, let’s give this a shot and try it out. And so, she did the due diligence of what the features were, what kind of experimentation or surveys that she’d be able to run, and what was the cost.”

On How to Build Customer-Driven Products

What makes a great product? Great products serve the right purpose for the right user. They have a solid value proposition and solve a real problems. In order to do that, product managers need to understand their customers, their pain points, and what they need. The frameworks, goals, and vision need to be customer-driven. And the data gathered on usability and likability needs to be utilized to improve the functionality of the product. These are some key factors in making a great product:

“A great product is one that serves the right purpose for the right user, you can’t be everything to everyone.”

“At CareRev, we’re always looking at ways to make things easier for both the hospital systems and our health care professionals that use the platform. And that requires continuous learning flexibility, and being able to make updates and changes to how the system operates depending on the feedback that we get from the user experience.”

“So, we’re really stubborn on what our vision is, and we want that technology to be intuitive and easy to use.”

About the speaker
Filiz Genca CareRev, COO Member

Filiz Genca is the Chief Operating Officer at CareRev, a marketplace platform that empowers healthcare professionals to take control of their careers. Filiz joined CareRev in February of 2022 with over 15 years of experience working in product development, retail category management, human capital consulting, and data analysis. Filiz is responsible for overseeing product development and operations functions at CareRev to deliver an exceptional user experience for professionals and health system partners. She is passionate about building intuitive and easy-to-use products while always keeping in mind the end user's needs.

About the host
Patrick Blute Transfix, Director of Brand and Sustainability

I am the Director of Brand & Sustainability for Transfix, a leading transportation solutions provider, combining tech and a best-in-class carrier network to reshape the future of freight. I am also a host for Product Talk helping bring product leaders together to answer the question: "What makes a great product?"

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