Our core value at HelloSign is simple but effective: make users awesome.
“At the core of everything we do is a relentless focus on getting better for the customer – to make the customer awesome. Making users awesome is our true north.” - HelloSign
That’s right, we measure our goals in awesome points. There’s a good reason behind our mission, too. From a company standpoint, we know how important happy customers are to running a successful business. But our reason for making users awesome goes far beyond meeting basic company criteria.
We cater to making our users awesome because we like our users. We ARE our users. And we’re focused on making everyone who encounters our tool (customers, employees, blog readers) feel empowered to excel.
That’s where this idea of “making users awesome” comes in. And one of the key components to achieving this goal? Making it easier for a customer to achieve their business or personal goals.
Kathy Sierra sums it up in her conference talk, “Making Users Badass.” The video has been circulating for a few years but it remains a popular resource for leaders. Interesting as a stand-alone, there’s something particularly special about the video: Kathy practices what it preaches.
Kathy doesn’t simply talk about the value of making customers awesome. She doesn’t just list out data or share basic info. She teaches viewers how to make their customers awesome.
Whether you’ve seen the video or are cueing it up to watch right now, I’ll clue you in on the bottom-line: there’s no secret formula for awesome (if we had it, we promise we’d share!). And that’s exactly the point. Making a user happy or awesome isn’t formulaic. Making a user awesome comes from understanding a user's main challenges and then providing resources they need to overcome them on their own. As Kathy Sierra puts it, a successful customer experience comes from “making users badass.”
So if there’s no formula, how can you work the customer + your service = awesome customer angle? Here are some of the ways we’ve found success in meeting the mission.
Define the context of “awesome” for your customer
Each customer has potential to be awesome in a different way. What you have as a company or as a leader is the opportunity to help a user or customer showcase that awesomeness.
This is where it pays off to think about what specific opportunities your service unlocks and what pains it resolves. In the case of HelloSign, eSignatures resolves paperwork pains like sunk time and cost. But that's not the only value to a customer. The real value shows itself in how a customer can use eSignatures to better their own business initiatives and/or their own company goals.
One of our favorite users at HelloSign is Binti, a startup dedicated to removing the pain of paperwork during the adoption process. Binti empowers families to cut down the time it takes to process paperwork which results in a faster adoption timeline. Binti has used eSignatures to help make their parents awesome.
Yes, we provide an eSigning service. But Binti is using it to better their business and their users.
Another example of making users awesome? A company called SimplyInsured is using eSignatures to help small business owners enroll for health insurance quickly and easily. By helping business owners free-up time, SimplyInsured is making its users awesome.
These companies are dedicated to consistently providing valuable industry insights to their readers and customers alike. They’re helping to make us (the customer) awesome.
Defining “awesome” as it relates to each customer (or set of customers) will help you remain on target with how you go about providing value to your customer.
Ask the questions your customers are asking themselves
When considering a tool or a service, a customer isn’t always asking, “What tool is best?”
They’re probably framing it a little differently:
- Will this product help me stand out from the company down the street?
- How is this tool going to help me meet my sales goals?
- Is this tool going to be a pain in the butt to install or introduce to my team?
At HelloSign when we talk about making our users awesome, we’re not thinking in terms of “The User.” We’re thinking about our customers as individuals. The HR professionals, the insurance agents, CTOs, the developers, etc. How can we provide each unique customer with the right resources to make them awesome?
And if we want to come up with the best answer, we know we have to ask the right questions. Being intentional in how we learn about our users helps us to know we’re that much closer to providing the right resources for awesome.
Why are your customers looking to solve a specific problem? How can they solve the issues that make them go “Arrrrgggg!”? What are the concerns that keep them up at night? Be specific when asking. These aren’t one size fits all answers. Dig deep! Be specific. Most importantly, talk to and engage with your customer or user.
Provide resources that allow customers to connect the dots
After you’ve asked yourself the questions your customers are asking themselves, your next task is to figure out how your tool or your service answers your customer-centric questions. Maybe you’ve heard about helping customers by filling an information gap. I like to think about it on a simpler level: connecting the dots.
Connecting the dots for your customers isn’t about tossing out information and hoping something sticks. It’s more intentional than that. You'll want to think in terms of providing resources that help a customer arrive at an “a-ha” moment. That means researching and understanding customer pain points.
For example, if we put eSignatures in the world and stepped back not much would happen. But after asking the right questions (What problem does our product solve for a specific user?), we know we can speak to more specific points when creating resources or offering assistance. Those specific points are the "dots." How can you empower your customer to connect the dots?
The next step is to dive a little deeper and illustrate how your service or product can help a customer connect the dots. If you’re stuck on pinpointing a dot, think in terms of connecting two goals.
In this case, we can say that HelloSign connects two by shrinking the sales timeline. A faster signing flow = less drop-off and increased profit. Dots connected.
The answer is nothing a customer wouldn't recognize on their own, but we try to make it simple by giving the customer the support to connect dots quickly. Remember: While you ultimately want to make sure you’re helping your customers connect the dots, you also want to consider how you’re empowering customers to connect the dots on their own.
Show up for your users or customers. Every day.
Take your weekends. Your holidays. Take care of yourself (seriously!). But show up for your users when they need you the most - often when they've encountered a pain point.
From the standpoint of a customer - a company that doesn’t respond isn’t listening. Give your customers a way to engage and be heard. Listening to customer feedback (and not just for bugs or surface fixes, but for core issues shared by the community) keeps you honest about how you’re meeting customer needs and how you can be evolving in a way that continues to make customers awesome.
There’s always work to be done on a project or things that can be improved. But at the end of the day, your customers are your champions. Listening and engaging with your customers helps you calibrate towards awesomeness.
This is why we’ve put so much importance on customer support and employee empowerment at HelloSign. It takes a smooth running machine to resolve issues when your customers need you most. Having a guiding mission (like making users awesome!) can help a team offer assistance in a way that truly helps a customer or a user.
Remember: Awesome is no small feat
While “making users awesome” is may seem like a simple goal, it’s still tough work! A lot of the legwork is tied up in stuff that may only seem like surface work. That’s where a lot of companies can stumble.
Marking out a clear path to a solution takes a lot of the bush whacking (and that carefully crafted design or new feature probably likely took more time and effort than you see from the outside). Be sure to factor in the effort behind awesome! Approaching each task with a dedication to quality and care is worth the time and attention.
When you put in the time and energy to create an awesome experience for your customers, you gain awesome followers. We're excited to continue creating our product and building out our team, but we're particularly excited to continue doing so in a way that empowers our users to be awesome.