When you’re building products for customers, the problems you hear can create a kind of fog, a mist through which it’s almost impossible to see a pathway to something useful to lots of your customers.
We recently had a situation where a prospect was trialling our product. It was tough. They’re best described as a late majority type customer — facing that as a start-up was a brave and perhaps foolish adventure upon which to embark. In true Cradle style we threw caution to the wind and leapt at it!
With each install we learnt more and more about the chasm between technical change and cultural change. Transformational change. It’s easy to install a piece of software on somebody’s computer. It’s harder to get them to use it.
“I can’t hear the phone ring — I don’t want speakers or sound on my computer”
“I can’t answer if I’m away from my computer”
“What if my computer’s locked?”
“We need to be able to have multiple people on a phone call”
“We need a phone that people can just pick up — we all wander around the work place and anyone should be able to answer”
John at Jabra came to the party after some luck with an email from our Electron enthusiast, Neil. Shortly thereafter we had a pretty shaky alpha build in our sweaty little hands. We might be able to kill a few birds, we thought!
As nerve wracking as it is to ship alpha software to customers to try with an alpha SDK from a potential supplier in the mix, we had to do it to test out this solution. We weren’t about to put Polycom phones on every desk…
We very quickly had a single solution to the problem family we had been contending with. A headset that rang (like an old fashioned telephone even), so that a human could answer a call anywhere in the building, whether their computer was locked or not, and could be swapped out for a speakerphone or even (gasp) a handset that she could pick up and hold!
What Did We Learn?
You can’t change people. You have to build in some wins for people and see if they’ll meet you along the journey.
Once we had a decent rate of adoption we had the chance to introduce people to some of the benefits of their phone being a part of the tool they use all day at work — their computer. Even if we sold our soul and bought handsets for them!
No longer having to dial numbers; knowing who is calling, not only by number, but by name; being able to pick up and wander to a private space if the conversation needs it. All new ways Cradle customers enjoy the benefits of our platform.
Every so often a little help is what you need. Finding great companies to work alongside definitely makes life easier. We love what we build on top of, and try to make sure we’re selecting these carefully. Twilio have a fantastic service on which to build Cradle.
Jabra showed us how helpful a proactive and communicative company could be when we’re both working to solve the same set of challenges.
Find solutions for everyone. The original request was for desk phones. We weren’t going to do that. Nobody else wants that. We had to make something work for this customer that could work beyond the boundaries of 1980 tech.
Ship it early (well, carefully). Get your stuff in front of customers as soon as you can. They’ll give you all the feedback in the world as soon as they cut a lap of The Square in it. You can’t wait until everything is perfect before working out if the world wants it. Once we knew we were onto something, we could confidently build it properly.
A loud shout out to Jabra who were shipping us bug fixes (literally) every day. We quickly ordered a selection of Jabra headsets and narrowed in on the ones we love the most. We’ll go into this in more detail if you’d like to talk to us, however here is the shortlist.
Jabra Speak 710
Every office should have one or two of these on hand. They’re great for that team meeting, or conference call where a few of your are trying to close that important deal. The integration with Cradle even comes in handy here too, with call answer, end and mute capability built right into the touch panels on the 710.
You can even pair two of these together for a larger meeting (or if you just want to steam your favourite jam for the office mid-winter Christmas party).