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Don’t Make THIS Customer Communication Mistake

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He wasn’t the first customer to say we screwed up, and certainly won’t be the last.

In the aftermath of our outage two weeks ago, I received a stinging email from one of our customers...

As hard as it was for me to read, he was absolutely right.

As open and consistent as we’ve been sharing about our growth efforts on this blog, we’ve been terrible at communicating what’s going on behind the scenes on the development side.

While I’m very happy with the job we’ve been doing providing useful information to the readers of this blog, we haven’t been doing the same for the people who keep our lights on: Groove’s customers.

That changes now.

Takeaway: We all market to our target customers, but it’s critical to communicate with existing customers, too. They’re – quite literally – your most valuable audience.

We Spend 90% of Our Time on Product

It’s not that we don’t have war stories from the development trenches.

Not even close.

For every grey hair I have from tackling business growth challenges, I have two grey hairs and a forehead wrinkle from obstacles we’ve come up against trying to make Groove the best product it can be.

This blog makes it look like we spend our whole day doing marketing, but the reality is that the overwhelming majority of my time is spent on product: testing, roadmapping, hunting for bugs, supporting our development team in any way I can.

It has to be that way. As much as we blog, Groove is a product company. If the product sucks, we fail.

But because of this blog, it’s easy for anyone to think that growth is where our sole focus lies.

Up until now, our communication about product development has been confined to an awful excuse for a product blog which has had exactly two posts in the last six months. Beyond that, we certainly let customers know about updates when we talk to them or when they email us for support, but that’s about it.

Frankly, in hindsight, that’s insane.

We know the value that consistent, open communication has from this blog. It helps to build trust and develop deep relationships with people. Why wouldn’t we do the same with our customers?

Takeaway: It’s not the customer’s job to know what’s going on with your product. It's your job to tell them.

How We’re Going To Do Better

This week, we’re officially launching The Groove Report.

Every Monday morning, we’ll post an update from the developers here at Groove. We’ll share:

We’re not going to pick and choose what we publish based on how sexy it is. The Groove Report is a full access backstage pass to what our developers are doing, from the boring (bugs and tiny code enhancements) to the awesome (new features, integrations and major UI improvements).

First and foremost, The Groove Report is for Groove customers. We want to be as open and honest with you about our product development as we are about our startup’s growth. Subscribe to the blog to learn exactly what’s going on with your customer support software.

In addition to our customers, I hope other startups will find it interesting, too. When you’re doing your own thing, it’s hard not to think about what others are up to. The Groove Report will give you a sneak peek at how another growing SaaS startup is handling product development on a very granular level, and what our developers are learning.

Of course, this changes nothing for the Journey to 100K blog or our Customer Support Academy, both of which will still get weekly updates. The only difference is that we’ll (happily) be working harder to deliver even more content that’s transparent, interesting and useful.

You can find the first post from The Groove Report (from this Monday) here. If you’re interested in following along and learning with our development team, I hope you’ll subscribe.

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From “aha” to “oh shit”, we’re sharing everything on our journey to $10M in annual revenue. We’re learning a lot and so will you.

About the Author

Alex Turnbull is the CEO & Founder of Groove (simple helpdesk software for small businesses) who loves to build startups and surf.

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