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Why We Devote Ridiculous Amounts of Manpower to Talking with Our Customers

Posted by Greg Jacobson

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Sep 1, 2016 4:20:16 PM

Gregory JacobsonIf we had to pick the number one thing we’re passionate about here at KaiNexus, it would be continuous improvement. If we could pick a number two, it would be our customers. That’s why we consider ourselves exceedingly lucky that we have customers who are willing - and able - to help us make our product better.

You see, our customers are all passionate about continuous improvement as well, making them the perfect people to help us develop better software. They need our software to do their jobs, and we need them to keep ours.

The result of this is that our software is based on the needs of a group of continuous improvement enthusiasts. When someone partners with KaiNexus to spread improvement, they really are joining a tribe - and they benefit from the collective experience of that tribe. For example, when a group of customers that are far along in their improvement journey push for a new feature to solve a common problem, that feature is rolled out to everyone - including those who are more junior in their improvement initiatives. In this way, our more advanced customers help guide the developing improvement cultures of our other customers.

Our customers help us:

  1. Come up with ideas for ways that KaiNexus can support their improvement journeys
  2. Plan our development road map
  3. Beta test new features
  4. Identify ways that every feature can be made better


We’ve grown a lot over the last couple of years, but one thing we’ll never outgrow is the desire to have personal, one-on-one relationships with our customers - because it’s these relationships that help us build a better product. Our team meets regularly with our customers to discuss different ways they’re using the product and any opportunities for improvement that they’ve come up with.

We then take the insight we glean from those meetings to the development team, discuss them internally, and plan how to implement them to get the most bang for our buck. The result?

87% of the improvements in our last couple of releases came directly from the ideas of our customers.


The scope of these improvements ranges from little bug fixes and UI design elements to entirely new features. For example, in our last release, we made it possible to add reports to boards so that it would be easier for people to check on their key improvement metrics. It also had some more technical improvements that customers asked for, like expanding customization options on the permissions of administrators.

Some examples of features we’ve developed specifically in response to customer requests include: 

  • The ability to follow an improvement so you stay in the loop even if you aren’t responsible for it
  • Customizable milestones that allow organizations to standardize their improvement cycle
  • Nesting boards that facilitate Strategy Deployment

 

Our customers have a variety of ways to share their ideas with us, from those monthly calls to emailing their Customer Experience Specialist or submitting support tickets. They’re certainly not shy about it; they understand that their feedback is important, and they know they’ll get a response from us right away.

What’s awesome about the SaaS model on which KaiNexus operates is that we’re able to respond much more quickly to the needs of our customers, and push new releases of the software out to everyone quickly and frequently. That agility helps us remain competitive in a way that other companies simply can’t.

I honestly wish that the other software I use on a daily basis had such an open door policy; if I had the power to influence the development pipeline of the tools I use for my daily work, I could make them a lot better. We and our customers are a pretty great team.

 

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software

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