(111) Evolution of Product Managers to Service Managers

One of my favorite quotes comes from Ash Maurya, which says:

Your “Product” is not the product. Your business model is the product.

For a few years I have begun to believe that the term product management is limiting in the world of SaaS and subscriptions. SaaS made the whole service experience of your users more important than merely the product.

In SaaS, it is software being presented as a service, which indicates the whole service chain from how the product is purchased, how new updates are delivered, how support is offered and so on. Delighting the customers through the whole service journey is more crucial to succeed as a SaaS business.

Focussing only on the product is a limiting view. Hence, I propose either changing roles from Product Managers to Service Managers or may be creating new roles in the organization which as Service Managers. Changing title from Product to Service manager is crucial because it removes the fixation from the product and puts things in a broader perspective.

Product Chauvinism

Yohann Kunders from Useronboard introduced an interesting term called the product chauvinism. This idea that we’re product people and that the product is the most important thing that we’re creating. And everything else gets second bench to the product. Marketing, second bench, customer success, second bench. The product is the most important thing that we are focused on.

Thinking of the product as the be-all end-all is really what we need to change, and the overall experience should be the be-all end-all and the product is just a small part of it. You think of your offering as product plus rather than product only.

Thinking of the product as the be-all end-all is really what we’re trying to change, and we’re saying the overall experience should be the be-all end-all and the product is just a small part of it. You think of your offering as product plus rather than product only.

In the world of SaaS, we don’t deliver products, we deliver experiences.

Every solution offering is a promise to make the user progress through a journey from state A to state B, where state A poses some challenges and frustrations for the user and State B removes the challenges and frustrations.

To take the user from state A to State B needs the whole gamut of experiences than just product.

For the customer, all the interaction points are part of the product.

The Role of Service Manager

Who in your organization is owning the entire service experience end to end for your customers? In all likelihood, there is no one today. I have never seen one in any of my past organizations.

When no one owns the end to end experience of your customers, it results in siloed thinking and bad customer experience.

There are some organizations who have service designers today, but many of these roles lack teeth and influence. I would imagine roles like end to end service managers as a more influential horizontal roles in the future. They would be responsible to ensure every interaction point for users & customers across the entire journey to be great.

Do let me know what you think of this!

Building nextgen real estate platform at PriceHubble & podcaster at productlessons.com. I blog about products, business around products, and growth strategies.