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Even Steve Jobs does it  

Jesse Maddox on why CEOs should answer support emails:

Reason #1: Direct Feedback From Customers

Answering support emails and chats is the best way to get direct feedback from customers. As someone responsible for guiding the product vision, this feedback is invaluable to understanding what your users expect and how you're meeting those expectations.

Jesse goes on to list some other reasons:

  • Reason 2: you aren't shielded from product issues
  • Reason 3: your engineers' time is more valuable than yours
  • Reason 4: it forces you to be up-to-speed on technical issues
  • Reason 5: customers appreciate
  • Bonus reason: it's the right thing to do

While I'm not necessarily convinced about all the arguments in the article, I do think it makes a lot of sense for everyone who's building the product - including the CEO and the developers - to be answering support queries. Everyone wins when that happens - especially the users.

Ultimately, the more layers there are between the product people (technical or not) and the users, the worse things go for both the product and the users.

More from the library:
Investment as a cushion or a springboard
Principles of pitching
The truth about a failing startup