At GoSquared, we spend a lot of time speaking to our customers every day. Most companies talk to their customers but one of the privileges of being a small team is that everyone here speaks to them regularly.
Slowly but surely the idea —propounded by Steve Blank and others— that you should work out what to build next by asking customers what they want is gathering mainstream momentum. Customers can’t on their own dictate your roadmap but they’ll provide the seeds for incredibly valuable insight. It’s a responsibility for everyone on your team to keep the conversation with them open.
The right questions
However, it’s difficult. Asking what people want isn’t actually the best way to improve the experience for your customers. If you ask me what I want for dinner, I umm and errrr and think about pasta or steak and then decide I don’t want either of those things. I don’t know what I really want.
The challenge for customer development is not that they won’t tell you want they want; it’s that they don’t know what to say when you ask them. So you have to be a translator. You have to be smart about working out what your customers want from you and your product.
Note, this isn’t simply asking customers for feature requests. Smart companies are listening for hints about the experience their users want. Improving the customer experience is the most radical change you could make and the one that can really get people screaming and shouting. Rather than giving people something they say they want, work to make the things they do every day better.
We started redesigning GoSquared by focusing on the customers we already have. We are releasing some major changes next week that have been driven by one question:
If we started again, how could we make the GoSquared experience better?
Better is a very broad term. To us, better means easier. Better means faster. Better means more beautiful. Tools that do what you expect and give you a smile because they exceed expectations are better.
We send stickers, tweet out thanks and ask customers about their weekend. These things are great but they aren’t particularly novel or radical. You can always be doing those things. We felt we could be doing a lot more to make GoSquared live up to its ‘easy to use’ mission statement.
During my second week, the urgency for reviewing the interface was clear. I was helping a customer add a colleague to their account —so they could see the company’s analytics too.
‘Go to the home area.’
‘What’s the home area?’
‘Oh, just click the GoSquared logo.’
‘I don’t see GoSquared written anywhere.’
‘Oh, it’s just the G on the top left. It doesn’t actually say GoSquared.’
‘Click the settings cog on the lower-right corner of the site thumbnail in the middle… and then hit sharing.’
‘And then put in your colleague’s email address. It’s really easy!’
It’s not easy when you read those steps back to yourself. Sharing analytics with your team should be one of the easiest things to do.
Feature requests for existing features
The most frustrating thing for marketing is that features we knew people loved, or asked us for, were actually there —they’re just hard to find. As we’ve added more into the Now dashboard, released a new Trends dashboard and introduced Ecommere Analytics, the interface has kept expanding.
We have settings for home, for billing, for each of your sites and then each widget in the dashboard has its own cog for settings. It’s no surprise that I have to keep explaining where team sharing is.
No more cogs
Instead of adding more cogs, we’ve stopped to release something new – something that we believe makes GoSquared better for everyone.
Our mission is to help you understand and connect with your customers. To realise that goal, we don’t want to make GoSquared only easy to use but fundamentally a pleasure to use.
The update that’s coming next week makes GoSquared better for everyone. It also lays the groundwork for a whole lot more in the future.