To succeed with customer success at your organization, it takes incredible alignment and collaboration with the product team. We interviewed and asked 8 industry leading product leaders their advice on how they put customers first when building new products or working on existing products at their particular companies. Today we’ll highlight Matt Coffman, VP of Product at High Alpha. In this post, we’ll briefly explore his approach to customer success alignment as it relates to the product team at High Alpha and its portfolio companies.
Download a complimentary copy of the eBook “Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition” to see Matt’s full contribution and get access to other product leaders’ viewpoints.
About High Alpha
Founded in 2015 and located in Indianapolis, High Alpha is a venture studio pioneering a new model for entrepreneurship that unites company building and venture capital. By uniting company building and venture capital, the High Alpha portfolio has a unique advantage to launch, scale, and transform ideas into world-class SaaS businesses.
The Role of Product at High Alpha
In his role at High Alpha, Matt works with portfolio companies to identify and prioritize product development in ways that align with their customers’ best interests. Each of High Alpha’s portfolio companies are unique in terms of vision and strategy for customer success. Matt commented that, “We try to validate every feature and development task with that in mind. Oftentimes, the best product decisions come after customers interact with the product. We work hard to get a product in customers’ hands—then we work even harder to take what we’ve learned from the customer and build it into future versions of the product.”
Customer Success Focused Product Development
Matt explained, “For example, we will work with our portfolio companies to discuss early stage products with potential customers. In return for early access to the product, the customer gives us all sorts of useful information in terms of product-market fit. Later on, I may help with selling the product to new customers or working with potential customers to determine product deficiencies or areas for further focus.” According to Matt, these interactions with customers are useful when it comes to making decisions about how products will be built.
Early Validation Saves Time and Drives Customer Success
When asked whether Matt and team make product decisions based off customer interactions, his response: “Absolutely—customer experience is extremely valuable when it comes to making product decisions.” This process continues throughout the product development lifecycle. The High Alpha team starts from the very beginning by validating ideas from customers and asking what they do and do not like about the products’ vision. Then they deliver a minimum viable product (MVP) where they ask customers to tell them what additional features or functionality will make the product indispensable. All of these inputs help determine the priority for future product development work.
Track Customer Success Product Metrics
While every company in the High Alpha portfolio has unique product vision and strategy, Matt and team carefully track the following metrics and more to best understand how the product is being used:
- Frequency of usage
- Average time spent in the product
- Achievement of some conversion or other goal relevant to the product strategy
- Error rate or occurrence of errors
In his role working with all High Alpha portfolio companies, Matt encourages every member of the product development teams to think about how what they do impacts customers. “For example, if we’re focused on a task that has a relatively high amount of effort with little potential impact to customers, we need to ask if we should really be working on it,” explained Matt. “From a process standpoint, we are always working towards a release centered around groupings of functionality we believe to be valuable to our customers. This helps us stay focused on the right work.”
Read Matt’s full contribution to the eBook entitled, “Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition” and learn from 7 other product leaders like Matt.
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