The Who and Product Development

Posted by Julia Kedward, Product Manager

February 11, 2014; 8:30 AM

The_Who_(1974)Sorry to disappoint, but this post doesn’t have anything to do with Pete Townsend or Robert Daltry. The “who” I’m referring to are the people involved or targeted in the development of a product, feature or service.

In any industry, it is important to consider who will sell, install, maintain and use your product. The “who” part of any product development equation is something that must be addressed constantly, keeping in mind all audiences involved with the final product. Here at ESI, we focus on two distinct audiences - our resellers and their end-users. Each audience has different needs and expectations, but today, I will focus on how ESI works to deliver solutions to our resellers that enable them to sell with ease, reduce the complexity of installations and customer management and offer a level of differentiation within the market.

When working with requirements that focus on resellers needs, developers need to research the scope of the reseller’s involvement with the product and take into account all aspects of the post sale product lifecycle like product installation, maintenance and client satisfaction.  


Product Installation

No two clients are exactly the same, and it is often surprising how challenging it can be to deal with things like IT networks and firewall ports. A company may produce feature rich products that are in high demand, however resellers may not be willing to work with a company if its products are difficult to install and maintain.

The objective is to make new system installation and the ongoing management of that system as easy and cost effective as possible. As a product developer you need to seek out feedback from your resellers and involve them early in the development phase. It is up to the product developer to make a product to the resellers’ expectations and convey its value to to them and the impact on their customer.


Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Even products of the highest quality break down and ease of usability is no guarantee that customers won’t have questions or concerns relating to a product. That’s why making sure a reseller is ready to support the product and their customers is priority number one!

Resellers take great risks selling products when they themselves aren’t prepared in dealing with the problems their clients may experience. Documents, training, and product certifications are typically provided in an effort for the reseller and customer to have a good experience with the product from the start.  However, it is up to the reseller to take full advantage of the product developer resources in order to be successful.  With a focus on education and availability of resources, a reseller should also feel confident that the product developer can provide a high  level of customer support if they are unable to find resolve the issue for a customer.  Each party must work together to ensure the end user is satisfied.

Client Satisfaction

Consistently reaching out to both resellers and their end-users, relying on input from surveys and reported product issues for continued improvements offers product developers insight into satisfaction and product performance.  If a product does not meet a resellers’ expectations, they need to work closely with the product developer to provide real-time feedback and input for improvements that will drive customer satisfaction and success for the reseller.

Topics: product development