Our little product secret: Ask Customers!

October 20, 2017 – As head of product in Twill, the two biggest topics that I need to provide answers to are: What to build, and what to build first.

On one afternoon, we have our regular review on product roadmap. How do we make decisions on what Twill will look like in one year, or even in three years? We list all the ideas and ask customers!

Another time, we have different opinions about user experience design. What do we do? We put both options in mockups and ask customers!

Does it sound easy? Yes, it is easy. We just need to keep in mind that we are developing a platform to solve customers’ problems. The only way this can work is that we put aside our “arrogance” and listen to our customers.

However, it was not always so simple. I come from a background of ten years working in the logistics industry before joining Twill. You can imagine how many assumptions I have built up along the way. I thought I understood customers’ needs very well. I thought I could design a great solution on my own to address their problems.

I could not have been more wrong!  Every time I talk to customers, I find little surprises (sometimes even big surprises) that challenge my assumptions. Every time I learn something new from customers.  If I hadn’t talked to customers, we could have built a platform for my imaginary problems and my solutions. Then Twill would have had no chance to succeed.

Twill’s vision is to make shipping simple. At the end of the day, customers are the judges. They tell us if their life is easier with Twill.

Customer feedback is the strongest foundation and the most valuable asset throughout the process of how we build Twill. Twill’s value proposition stems from customer research. For every new feature-design, we run user acceptance testing. Almost every day, we receive and discuss product feedback from customers, commercial teams, and our customer care team. For every country roll-out, we conduct user research to understand how our product fits the local market.

Customer-driven product development will ensure that we are headed in the right direction, and that we are prioritizing the right features. This will address my two biggest responsibilities.

Today, my industry knowledge is no longer a wall between me and our customers. I use it as a tool to better understand what customers say, and to design the initial proposals. Of course, all the proposals need to be validated by customers.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the customers that gave feedback to Twill. We are looking forward to hearing more from you. Let’s shape Twill together!

By Daisy Zhang, Head of Product, Twill.

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