Customer Conversations - Add Value! by Microsoft Product Leader, Alfred Sin

Why talk to clients?

It may seem obvious that you, as a PM, should be talking to clients, but sometimes you need a little push when you're not sure you need to talk to a specific client. In fact, this is an important part of the work of the PM.

  • Each job description must contain the "voice of the customer" that you must convey to the engineering team. And you become this confidant, and create this authority among the developers.

  • It helps develop customer empathy. They describe use cases, their problems, you will hear them and you will be able to have a dialogue with them. You will understand how dependent they can be on other teams. You can talk to a developer with a direct client script.

  • Test hypotheses you may have. You will be able to answer your questions - how customers use your product. And testing these hypotheses will help you refine your product to fit the market.

  • Talk to the client - it's nice! Customers know your product, sometimes even better than you as a PM. And by talking to them, you'll have insightful feedback to pass on to developers or stakeholders.

Who are your customers?

- Customers don`t always have to be people outside your company that pay you money to use a product

  • Consulting: client

  • DevOps engineering: devs using your pipelines

  • IT role: downstream teams

  • PM: internal customer teams

Getting time with customers

  • Slight tangent: PM interviews

  • Field/sales teams

  • Community members

  • Support cases

  • Direct customer reachouts

Great, you have their attention!

Now what?

Tips and tricks for getting feedback from customers

  • Preparation is key (of course)

  • Understand that how you word a question will impact how it is answered.

(What are some problems you currently face in managing your infrastructure?


Do you have problems with backup, security, or updates?)

Tips and tricks for getting feedback from customers:

  • Support - related conversations

    • Risker but still valuable

  • Surveys

    • Keep it short

    • "What`s in it for me?"

  • Build community

  • Engage community

Example situations

Azure Serial Console - a survey with leverage

Azure Automanage - support reachouts

  • Reach out after onboarding failures

  • Offer to help, and seek feedback

  • Build customer relationship

  • Drive retention and decrease churn

Azure Automanage - Cohort calls

Purpose of calls:

  • Share product updates

  • Ask for feedback

  • Build community

Next steps with customer feedback

  • Build relationships

  • Identify problems to solve

  • Write PRDs

At MSFT, we keep a whole OneNote dedicated to customer feedback so that anyone can use it at any time.

In Summary...


Getting customers` attention

Tips and tricks for maximizing feedback


Alfred Sin, Microsoft Product Leader