The Product Management / Customer Support Challenge

Hi, I am Michael Schwaiger, product manager of the UnRisk product family and so responsible for our software products UnRisk FACTORY, UnRisk PRICING ENGINE and UnRisk-Q.
This job is very exciting: It means
  • organizing workshops with our customers - at such workshophs we discuss about the customer's needs and requirements as well as about our planned developments
  • discussing with the UnRisk development team about possible ways to satisfy the requirements of our customers
  • deciding which of these requirements will be implemented in the oncoming versions of our software products
  • presenting the detailed specifications to our customers and asking them for their feedback
  • performing some of the implementations myself (especially the ones which connect UnRisk-Q with the UnRisk FACTORY - I like to write code in the UnRisk Financial Language)
  • presenting the newly implemented features to our customers
But within the UnRisk world being the product manager means more: I am also responsible for our customer support. This means that if a customer (having a question / problem) calls the UnRisk support hotline he / she dials my telephone number (not a number somewhere).
Most of the times I am able to help the customer immediately - if necessary I am forwarding his / her problem to the responsible people within our development team (so the customer always talks to experts - again: we do not and will never have an outsourced call center).
From my point of view it is very important for a product manager to answer customer support questions. It helps
  • to detect wekanesses of our software products - if the same questions are asked many times then the usage of the corresponding feature has not been implemented / documented good enough
  • to see how our customers use our software products and thus helps us to detect possibilities to ease the usage for our customers
  • to get information about the requirements coming from the market: questions like "we have to report these numers - do you have experience?" help us to quickly identify market requirements. Implementations satisfying these needs make our products more attractive
  • to stay in contact with our customers
  • to make sure that the product manager knows in detail each implemented feature
For me it is very important that good product management is only possible if one is also involved in customer support. To guarantee the quality of our software the contact to the users is the most important part of my work.
The challenge of being product manager and head of the customer support is a big one but one which I really love (especially since I think that we offer really good software ;-) ).
In my oncoming blogs (the first will be on April 14) I will describe the most challenging UnRisk support cases which I have experienced within the last 13 years.