First Things First

Last week KANA Software, Inc. hosted our 3rd annual Customer Summit where representatives from KANA’s world-wide family of customers come together to hear what’s new, give us feedback and share their experience and expertise with each other.

I always look forward to these for one particular reason and this year I was not disappointed – I learn stuff from our customers.  And so I thought that, in that spirit of sharing, I would share with the readers of this blog some of the things I learned.
(For the record, some of our customers have terms in their nondisclosure policies that prohibit us from using their name so no corporate names will be mentioned.)

  • Bill reminded everyone in one of our sessions that even after more than 10 years with a product you can still be excited about what you can do with it enough to share that passion and encourage others with less experience.  It’s not about being the stodgy old “expert” who’s been there, done that and got the T-shirt.  It’s about being the kid with the new toy that’s still figuring out new and interesting ways to enjoy it.
  • Peter spoke to the whole assembly about the importance of consistently going the extra mile and doing things for your customers beyond what they expect.  He encouraged everyone to weave that into the attitude of the brand so that customers notice the difference from just following company policy.
  • Anne reminded everyone to not forget the basics.  It takes a balance between getting the fundamentals right and then adding the right amount “stretch”.  Too often we in  customer service and business in general try to reach for everything at once before we build a solid foundation.  Then it’s all too likely to fall down around us.  But, whether building customer service tools or launching a new product, if we take time to get the basics right, then build on that initial success with something more daring, the combination can amplify success beyond anything we imagined.
  • Amas had an interesting problem: his e-mail support was too successful.  Customers were so pleased with the prompt, accurate and consistent responses they got that they are sending e-mails to his customer support addresses more frequently for less critical issues.  That pointed out to me that it’s just as important to plan for success as it is to plan to avoid failure.  What his company needs is a way for their customers to help themselves to those same solutions on the company’s website.

So a big “Thank you” to all the people who taught me something and who confirmed something else that I suspected all along – As nice as it is to have prestigious brand names as my customers what’s most important and most valuable are the people behind that brand and the relationships we at KANA have with them and that they have with their own customers.