Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way. I am not endorsing or reviewing any products that may be mentioned. Any products mentioned are just to highlight a product management topic.

I recently attended an AWS user group meetup. During the discussion, the speaker mentioned that his company’s remote management software supported 10000 units. Since this was a consumer product, I was curious to know more. After the meeting I asked the speaker, what are the functions of the remote management software? He answered my question with this question -“Do you fill out customer surveys?” My response was yes and he informed me that I was rare. Only 1% of their customers completed surveys. In order to determine customer satisfaction, the remote management software collects analytics as well as supports firmware downloads.

Can collecting remote analytics measure customer satisfaction? Let’s look at the waffle maker. Imagine we have a waffle maker that is connected to the internet. I can remotely collect the following data: how long the waffle maker is on, what day of the week the waffle maker is used, and how many times the lid opens and closes. This data could tell the waffle manufacturer that I use my waffle maker once a month on Saturday and I make 2 Belgian waffles. This will tell the manufacturer that I am a regular user of my waffle maker.

Am I satisfied customer? Not totally. I use it only on Saturdays just in case the batter overflows and I have a mess to clean up. In trying to avoid the overflow, I create lopsided waffles at times. Would I buy someone else a waffle maker? No. Would I use it more often if I could make more predictable waffles? Yes.

You can’t depend on just remote analytics to determine customer satisfaction. While it is true customers do not always fill out surveys, focus groups and key customer observations can help determine customer pain points. A waffle maker with the perfect pour feature as pictured above would improve my customer satisfaction.

Bottom line: While remote analytics can provide quite a bit of information, product managers may need to consider other methods to truly measure customer satisfaction.