At Airtame, we have been on an amazing journey for the last two years. It began with us running the highest funded European crowdfunding campaign of its time on Indiegogo.
What Airtame offers is a wireless HDMI dongle for businesses. When plugged into an HDMI port, it enables you to wirelessly stream content from your computer to your screen(s). When you are not actively streaming to the screen, you can turn your TV into a dashboard or info screen.
Since the Indiegogo funding, we have experienced many entrepreneurs’ biggest dreams. At the same time, we have also faced some of the biggest challenges that you can face in business.
Whatever we have faced, our team has approached the challenges with determination and in good spirits and has put their blood, sweat, and love into making this company work. It’s been an honor to experience.
The crowdfunding brought a lot of good things along with it. Especially “free” marketing and sales. Everybody wrote about us. Everybody wanted a piece of the cake. All before we had faced reality.
Hardware is hard, as I wrote here on Venturebeat. Our crazy ideas had to be executed. We had to trim. We had to focus critically on only a few functionalities at a time. We took some tough blows. We made some of the early backers angry. But it was all necessary. It is the reason we exist today.
Listen and learn from your customers
Looking back at what we perceive as the major victories that we accomplished, it is interesting to see the mutual dependency that exists between victories and challenges.
A good example is the many bad reviews we initially received (around June 2015). Our developers and customer service got flushed by mails and requests. They have had to work extremely hard during the last 6 months to catch up and respond to all feedback and ideas received.
Our developers were under immense time pressure when developing the Airtame dongle. Features had to be prioritized. Some short cuts had to be chosen. All the while, it was very important to do things the right way with the long term in mind.
As expected, the product we released, which was able to do less than what was stated during the crowdfunding campaign, raked in hundreds of emails with reminders and requests for further functionality. On top of that, we started seeing unexpected use cases by creative users. However, challenges were expected. We’re glad to say, our firmware and software are now running on a very solid and user-friendly level.
Simultaneously, our customer service team was faced with the task of winning back the confidence of all the dissatisfied customers and backers. Definitely not an easy task.
We decided that the only way to do this properly would be to go the extra mile for the customers. Every. Single. Time. Because of its initial shortcomings, our product needed all the support that we could give it.
Hundreds of hours and thousand of emails later, we are now receiving daily appreciation for our support. We build relations and create ambassadors. The results are tangible. Have a look at our Trustpilot and Amazon reviews. A lot of people mention our customer service.
Among the tools we have used to do this is Zendesk, our support’s backbone. Zopim Live Chat enables us to instantly help our customers. Lastly, Delighted is a great tool to measure your company’s NPS (i.e., what your customers think about you).
So, is it really worth spending so much time pleasing your customers?
At Airtame, we are faithful fans of Slack and their CMO, Bill Macaitis. Our affection did not lessen when he recently replied to this question: “If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self that pertains to
your career in marketing, what would it be?”
“I would tell myself that a brand is the sum of every experience a customer has with your company, and a strong brand will always generate long-term growth and revenue. It’s important to think about the entire customer lifecycle and relentlessly improve the interactions customers have with your company.“
The sum of all individual interactions with your customers means so incredibly much for the long-term development and growth of your company. Everything – from your customer service, to your marketing, to your sales people – needs to be done at the same high, consistent level. Neglecting this will be at your own peril.
Every challenge offers you an opportunity to improve your business.
Stay tuned next week – I’ll share more about how we identified our “tribe” of customers and growth-hacked our way to success!