A title Guy Kawasaki can use… but the inspiration comes from Umair Haque – “listening beats talking.”
The most significant aspect of a SaaS experience is the relationship that a service provider has with the subscriber. More aptly, the most important control point (for a service provider) is the relationship that the subscriber has with the service.
A sure way to make that relationship a successful one is to let it be driven by customer feedback. It is better to be proactive (in getting that feedback), than having to look reactive (in responding to critique). The most important thing I took away from the recent post featuring Marcellus (NOSTEALTH) on Techcrunch was that you lose out on interacting with customers when you are in the self-imposed “stealth mode.”
One of the more practical methods of practicing the art of listening is to set up a customer advisory board. If that is impractical for you, then there are tools like Getsatisfaction that make active listening easy. Regardless of how you choose to do it, the ability to listen to validated feedback is your most important weapon. It is practically chapter 1 of your survival guide for SaaS success.
You increase the odds of success in your favor by letting the service be driven by those who are paying to adopt it… your paid customers. Eric Ries made an interesting point in the discussion that ensued the posting:
Customers don’t usually know what they want, but that doesn’t mean it’s not helpful to talk to them to learn about what they need
While Marcellus has a unique product perspective of its own, we also love to listen …a lot of the features in production and in the lab are also customer success stories.
And it is something we are very proud of.