“Learning new software” should be listed as my hobby, special skill, and maybe even my happy place. While some people might enjoy diving into a new book, hearing a new album from their favorite artist, or setting out to try a new recipe, I love nothing more than going completely blind into learning a new piece of software. So, it came as no surprise, when my husband decided it was time to try a new software to help manage his home renovation company, that I was dying to get in there and give it a try, optimizing his business processes and leveraging the tool in every way he possibly could.
While my excitement and enthusiasm were no surprise, my experience with this software (company) was full of surprising, delightful interactions. Beyond their knowledge base, they offer a customer community on Facebook where tips, tricks and best practices can be shared. This setup is nothing unique but when my middle of night, social media posting resulted in a quick and helpful response from the company’s CEO, I was shocked. I quickly realized I was experiencing something that we don’t often encounter, a company whose employees are genuinely focused on addressing, supporting, understanding, and responding to their customers.
As a professional, my next question was “how”, how was this company achieving, with such a high-level of success, something that most companies struggle to implement with even moderate success? After diving into some of the reasons, as a customer, I felt that they were successful, I decided to reach out to their CEO and see if he would offer me some insights into how they were operating in the background to make me feel so important, heard, and understood. The best part of this company and my customer experience was that beyond the feelings of being understood and heard I could see actionable results on my feedback, the same way I heard back immediately from their CEO agreeing to meet with me.
After an insightful conversation here are the key things that I learned on how they are succeeding to keep their customers at the center:
- Direct communication: Within the organization, the channels for communication are direct and unfiltered. Conversations between team members and with customers are not routed through processes, specific teams, channels, or other protocols. This natural approach to conversation and feedback allows for genuine understanding and employees are empowered to take suggestions, issues or other topics forward regardless of title and role.
- Flat organization: As mentioned in the first point, the lack of boundary of role and title keeps the entire organization striving to the same vision, mission, and goals. The culture is one of “work hard play hard” and treating one another like family. This sentiment carries through their team and boils over on to their customers. As a customer you can feel the comradery to be the best and to achieve the best. When you have an issue, and I don’t mean just technical issues, their team and community of customers jump in to help solve your challenge and to help your own organization become a better business.
Result-oriented development: A strong solution architect, clean high-quality code, and a commitment to deliver results without forcing a development framework allows the team to deliver true meaningful results. As with most SaaS companies, there is a roadmap and the big-ticket deliverables are mapped out and planned in advance but where the team shines is in their ability to pick up a task and accomplish it without needing long discussions, approvals, or waiting on ceremonies.
For example, if a customer mentions a bug then anyone on the team including the CEO can take a quick look, see that its an issue and raise it to the team. If it’s an easy fix, someone on the development team will pick it up when they have some time and push it for testing. They notify the general team on Slack and anyone who has a few minutes can do the testing. If the fix is good, it is pushed to production as soon as reasonable the customer sees the result right away. Improvement suggestions are handled in the same way. As the full team understand the big picture and vision, its easy to know which suggestions fit for the larger audience and when there is less clear consensus, they reach out to the customer base and ask people to upvote if its something they need/want or have additional details for.
As you can see, the biggest theme that carries through all the points above is that the entire company truly acts as one team. There is one vision, one mission, and shared goals and values. All of which work together to keep a happy aligned employee base serving the true needs of the customers as heard directly from the customers themselves. Where this company is most successful is in keeping the entire organization including both employees, partners, and customers as a single unified unit. Communication is direct and transparent; you always get a response, and you always get follow-through. Everyone is empowered to contribute, and information is not kept secret. There are no gatekeepers or managers in ivory towers. The customer is in the center because the entire organization is built around them and includes them in the processes without over formalizing interactions.
Uncertain about the effectiveness of your customer experience?
Find out more about what can lead to dissatisfied customers and how you can avoid this.