Building your business around customers (continued)

Forgive me for being obsessed with customers, but after all, without them, how can you have a business. Anyway, I was interviewing a VP of Engineering candidate for one of my portfolio companies, and when I asked a question about the most significant lesson that he learned from one of his prior jobs, this was his thought-while the core technology is important, focus on providing the customer with an unbelievable user experience straight out of the box. What will the customer see and touch first. Start with the installation process. Make your product the easiest to install. If it goes smoothly and quickly, if you can do it plug and play or remotely, the customer will already begin to have a pleasant experience with your product. Make the GUI as user-friendly as possible. If it is as intuitive as using your email or browser, then it will make it easy for the customer to get the team using it with minimal training. Finally, make it easy to manage. Have a nice management console that allows an end user to administer the system, update it, and manage multiple licenses as simply as possible. So while having great underlying core technology is important, everyone will be selling technology and features and function. What many companies forget early on is that having a great customer experience can provide real differentiation and can often mean the difference between success and failure in competitive markets. As for the VP of Engineering candidate, he is on the shortlist as it nice to see someone with the experience to build product and manage teams but also think from a business-oriented perspective

Published by Ed Sim

founder boldstart ventures, over 20 years experience seeding and leading first rounds in enterprise startups, @boldstartvc, googlization of IT, SaaS 3.0, security, smart data; cherish family time + enjoy lacrosse + hockey

2 comments on “Building your business around customers (continued)”

  1. I am the president of a pre-revenue start-up that will be pitching VC’s in the coming months. Our company has developed a platform to distribute and sell PC-based Internet content directly to mobile phone customers. The product offering is split into two parts: 1) a universal distribution and payment platform for mobile applications 2) a portal that is used to funnel those mobile applications to customers.
    So we are targeting two people, the developer and the customer. My pitch was going to be developer focused, since by empowering developers to create great services we in turn give customers what they want. Of course we have to package this nicely on the user side so they have an enjoyable customer experience, but in the end it’s providing the tools and services to third parties to great content is what’s going to drive customers to our mobile portal.

    On a side note
    Part of our Business Plan will be putting customer service operations in Bangalore India. Does anyone know if accent/cultural issues has caused a poor customer service experience.

  2. I am a software engineer working for a small software company. We are producing a highly customizable application for a niche market.
    It is sometimes hard, especially when you do not communicate with customers dirrectly, not to forget that the user experience is what actually matters. While creating software I have to focus on technical details like application architecture, choice of algorithms, data schemas etc. However, in the end the exact choices do not matter – what matters is the user experience. An application can have the ‘right’ architecture and it’s usability can stil below the more ‘poorly’ or less ‘architectured’ application.
    I wish more people would realise it.

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