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Never miss the opportunity to hear from your users

As a product builder, whether you work in product management, design, or engineering, you have a lot to gain by listening more to your users, even when you think you don’t have more to learn. Here are four reasons to start doing it.

You develop empathy and sympathy

Our ability to share and understand the emotional and affective states of others (empathy) and to feel an engendered motivation towards their well-being (sympathy) plays a vital role in social interactions but also when building products for humans.

When you listen to your users, you activate your the power of your emotional system : it helps you better understanding your users’ pains, needs, and motivations.

These emotions feed also your creativity when you’ll be designing solutions. Creativity is fed by both knowledge and feelings.

You focus on your users’ “first use case”

When you hear and feel your users multiple times you start seeing patterns of what really matters for each user persona. You automatically put your focus on your user’s “first use case”. You avoid dispersing your self and your team on all kind of “priorities” you may hear from your peers.

You increase your inner motivation

We all need to make a sense out of our work to keep motivated. In our modern world, we all risk to feel depressed of not finding a meaning to our daily work. One of the reasons to that is we created so many intermediates between service/product providers and the final customers and people don’t see clearly the impact they have on the world.

When speaking to your users you see, hear and feel this impact and you’re even more motivated to increase this impact.

You reduce cognitive biais

Cognitive bias is instilled each time the information pass to an additional individual. Each individual create his own “subjective reality” from their perception of the input and pass it to another one. The result is a chain of transformation of the initial information.

When you hear from users, you draw your customer knowledge directly from its source. You will for sure add your own biais but only yours. This way, when a topic is discussed each individual comes with “only his bias”.

What to do if the organisation culture does not encourage speaking with users ?

In some organisation, you may not be encouraged to speak to users, the product and business leaders awareness regarding user-centricity, the company culture and so many other factors.

Here are some tips to still hear from them :

  1. Sit from time to time besides a Customer Support or Customer Success colleague to listen to users, read the feedback inbox and ask questions. You can even ask to answer to users ~ 1 hour every two weeks/month.
  2. Listen to user interview recordings : your organisation may have a ton of them from: Sales calls, Product Discoveries, Demos. They’re a treasure trove of customer insights.
  3. Ask your peers to share with you important interview moments when they encounter them. When I was working in a SaaS company as an Engineer, the Product Manager of my team did that naturally. Each time she spoke with a user about a topic that was previously discussed with the team, she shared the video and pointed out the exact moment to rewatch. That was super helpful for the team to “get the point”.


In conclusion, as a product builder, it's important to never miss an opportunity to hear from your users. By listening to them, you can develop empathy and sympathy, focus on their "first use case," increase your inner motivation, and reduce cognitive bias. Even if your organization culture does not encourage speaking with users, there are ways to still hear from them, such as sitting with customer support colleagues, listening to user interview recordings, and asking peers to share important interview moments. Ultimately, understanding your users is essential for creating successful and meaningful products that truly meet their needs.

November 23, 2023

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