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Listen to your clients

Posted by Todd Santa Maria on 2/20/17 4:19 PM

Welcome to our new blog! We'll be posting frequently in an effort to add value for our clients and others in the industries and verticals we service. We will start with a revelation that changed our business.



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Everything changed the day we made the conscious decision to delight our customers. 
 
Going back a few years to the first version of our product, we thought we had the best plan. We invented a process and a novel file-naming convention that worked, but turned out to not be customer-friendly. We were doing okay, but it could have been better.
 
When a new group of us came in about two years ago, we began our education by interviewing a few clients to understand the business. We quickly realized that tasks that we thought were second nature to our clients were time-consuming and impacting them negatively. We saw that there was a communication gap and we needed to re-commit to listening to the client base in order to deliver a service they were delighted to pay us for.
 
It isn’t rocket science. It’s much like polling a potential audience to see if what you are thinking about offering with a new business is something they’d pay hard-earned money for. One of the biggest blunders that businesses make is thinking they're smarter than their audience about what the client needs. You need the people that are in the trenches to inform you about what would make it easier or more efficient to do their jobs.
 
So we set out on a mission to interview everyone that used our service and ask them specifics about what we did well and what we could do to serve them better. Most told us that they make good money using us, but there were plenty of holes, and we focused on ticking them off one-by-one. We launched an entirely new platform and started the hard work of adding all the features that would solidify us as the best in the business. All because we listened.
 
Our process for development is a good example. When we hear a feature request for the first time, it goes on a list. When we hear it a second time, we then discuss its merits, viability, effort needed, possible architecture and overall benefit in our next weekly product roadmap meeting. We prioritize based on a combination of these attributes, but if we hear a third or even fourth endorsement for the idea, it rockets to the top of the list. Then our whizbang engineers build the simplest version of that feature as we can, we set up the requesting clients as beta testers, and ask them for feedback. We often enhance, tweak or change the feature a few times after interviewing the beta clients before rolling those out to the entire client base. All of our most innovative features built in the past year and a half have come directly from our clients’ ideas: pacing, restrictions, line item cancel, API features and more.
 
“Yeah, I hear what you're saying, software guy, but I run a collection agency.” The concepts are the same. Ask your clients if there could be a better way to deliver their results, fund them, keep them informed of progress, or give them visibility into your process. Then do it, and sign more clients that are impressed by your way of doing business. 
 
We just recently sent our clients our first survey of 2017 and learned a ton. We have put a huge number of feature requests on the list, instituted a webinar series for ongoing education, both from us and outside industry leaders, and launched this blog. Thank you very much for the feedback. We hope to serve you the best in return for many years to come.
 
It’s very logical. Let the target market tell you what would make your service more valuable and worth paying a premium for, and then make it happen. If you are asking people to pay good money for your product or service, make every effort you can to pack in value and make it something that does what your clients really need. Plus it’s a lot of fun to call a client to say, “We did this for you!"


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