“Love” is the wrong metric

❤️ Customer love, delight, superfan, promoter.   

No matter what you’re building, it’s tempting to aspire for your customers to love your product. We want them to be delighted, to endorse or recommend, to become a superfan or a promoter.  And it’s not always realistic.

Overusing “love” as a metric feels disrespectful to me.  It’s ignoring the reality of how customers make decisions and how they talk with each other about the things they do and use.

Words matter.  When we ask the wrong question, we get misleading answers.  Worse yet, we signal that we ‘don’t get it’ – that we are accidentally or willfully pursuing our goals over that of our customers.

If our goal is to solve problems and make peoples’ lives better, we need to be realistic about the variety of forms that can take. 

Product success doesn’t have to look like a 9 on a Net Promoter Score scale.

(There are very few products that I voluntarily recommend, and most of them are optional/entertainment/’fun’ things.)

Product success can also look like:

  • I don’t hate it and it’s free/everywhere
  • It’s annoying or embarrassing and also it makes me better/gives me superpowers
  • I complain about it and also I’ve tried every alternative on the market and this one sucks less than the others
  • It solves my very specific problem, so I don’t talk about it unless I know someone has that exact same problem
  • I’m never happy to use it – because I only need to use it when something has gone wrong – and also, it will fix the problem
  • It’s definitely not the best – and also, it provides a consistent and reliable experience

Why does this matter?  Because knowing how your customer values your product – it’s probably not “love” – allows you to learn more so that you can provide more of the kind of value they seek.