Congratulations, you are the force behind today’s most successful tech companies. Sure, they owe a lot to exceptional founding members, hardworking employees and innovative ideas, but one common denominator of successful tech businesses seems to be a willingness to listen to the user.
Scratching the itch
The web app pioneers at 37signals recommend entrepreneurs build software for one reason. As they phrase it, “To scratch an itch.” More literally, in response to a need.
A good place to start, they write in their New York Times bestselling book Rework, is with an itch particular to you. Build software because you need it. At 37signals, they were unsatisfied with existing software for managing customer contracts. From that need, Highrise was born, CRM software that now manages more than 20 million contracts for its customers. Clearly, the itch was widespread.
This advice rings especially true for us here at TruQC. We imagined job-site documentation and quality control management done better, and then we set out to create the software to do it.
From medical technology to video gaming, user-driven innovation continues to be the hallmark of smart companies. The people who use your product share the same itch, they know what they want, and the best companies listen.
Perhaps no one does this better than the tech titan Apple. Once much maligned for what some saw as a dictatorial approach, many now argue that Apple does a much better job of listening to its customers than do its competitors.
Apple’s beta releases for iOS7 could be the textbook for techies interested in harnessing user feedback. By its 5th beta release of iOS7, it’s rumored to be near completion, but not before the folks in development implemented a few tweaks suggested by its users. The default font was widely judged as too thin, which hurt readability. In addition to a larger font, Apple has enlarged the header on the lock screen and made some changes to the notifications bar.
Lucky for Apple, there are plenty of customers with plenty of feedback to pay attention to. For smaller businesses without investors and boardrooms, your customers fund your day to day by buying your product, so it pays to listen up.
The fine line
As we’ve written before, paying attention to customer feedback doesn’t mean piling on niche features until your product forms a clunky mishmash. Pay attention to what your customers don’t want, as much as what they do.
To return to a metaphor from Rework, you are the museum curator and your product is the exhibit. You don’t throw all the art in the museum in the exhibit. As the curator, you’re as responsible for judging what art doesn’t make the cut as much as what does. The same goes for your product, you know that functionality and usability will suffer from features unsuited to getting the job done.
You’re never finished
As your customers’ needs evolve, so should your product. That’s why at TruQC we’re always working on a more refined product. Even with all the positive feedback we’ve received, we’re still searching for ways to improve.
As we near the release of our 2.3 update, our commitment to incorporating user feedback into our industrial painting quality control software is as strong as ever.
Interested in learning how TruQC was designed to be fully integrated for your industrial painting company?
Read our case study detailing how Thomas Industrial Coatings has proven an ROI of 390%. Click here to download.