One of our customers hit an issue right before their release date. Their CEO contacted me very concerned because the weekly release dates would be too slow if we had to fix what they believed was a bug. And it was a very legitimate concern.
I emailed back the following:
If we hit an issue for you, with the time constraints you’re under, we’ll post a new build faster than the once a week when we can. Our job is to do what we can to get you shipping so yes – we’ll step up where you need it.
My reply was not something we created as company policy or a standard reply, it was just my response to his email.
This is core to Windward. We have three key responsibilities at Windward: to our employees, to our customers, and to make a profit. The responsibility to our customers is not “here’s the software & good luck.” It’s to do what we can to make them successful.
Windward’s Plan for Customer Success
That doesn’t mean we’ll do anything requested because in some cases we would then be creating the product for a customer (and there goes that “be profitable” goal). But as much as we can, we’ll do everything we can.
- That has included immediate builds when it’s a time-critical bug.
- It has included adding features quickly that are essential to their product.
- It has included helping with how best to architect their use of our software. And the list goes on.
We are adding an Account Manager position and her job will be working with our customers to make sure they are successful. We’ll not only be there to help, we’ll be there encouraging them to get Windward incorporated as quickly and as effectively as possible. With this move we’ll be proactively helping.
Or as I put it, they’re going to have a wonderful experience with Windward whether they want to… or not.
What This Means in Practice
Oh, and that issue that led to the above email? The customer was using a font in the template that was not installed on their server. And when it was substituted for a font on the server, that changed the layout enough to cause problems. We got them this answer in under 2 hours and they’re now good. The “under 2 hours” part was key as they’re so close to shipping.
We’re not perfect. And there will be times a customer wants even more from us and we’ll say no. But I think we go far beyond most any other company out there. And our focus is not on closing the sale, it’s on our customer’s success.
Author: David Thielen
Dave, Windward's founder and CEO, is passionate about building superb software teams from scratch and dramatically improving the productivity of existing software teams. He's really proud that he once created a game so compelling (Enemy Nations) that a now-professional World of Warcraft player lost his job for playing it incessantly on company time. You can read more from Dave on his personal blog, and at Huffington Post.
Other posts by David Thielen