We all know there is nothing more valuable than talking to our customers (and of course listening goes a long way too). But as an engineer at Backupify it’s easy to get distracted by deadlines, code-reviews, testing, operations, design meetings and all the other day-to-day details.
I do get some customer engagement. In my role I have to deploy engineering resources wherever they’re needed most. Unfortunately, no software product is perfect and Backupify (shockingly!) sometimes needs a fix. We strive to be responsive to any customer-facing issues so I have regular communications with our support team to find out what the issues are and make sure we’ve addressed them as quickly as possible.
But support is a tough filter to use for my day-to-day customer touchpoints. I only hear about problems. Resolving customer issues is critical, but can lead to a skewed view of the world. As an engineer, I’m not hearing from the entire customer base, just a select few with issues.
At the recent Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, I was happily reminded of how amazing it is to speak with the entire customer base because they like us, they really like us. I heard from customers who appreciated our product and they told me how they rest better knowing their data is protected. I even heard from a few customers who were saved by Backupify when they needed to restore data after an unintended deletion or corruption.
I found myself invigorated and pretty psyched. “YES, this is what I signed up for. The product is making a real impact for our customers.” Dreamforce served as the reminder we all need from time to time and it’s a good reminder. I realized I then needed to make sure this kind of positive feedback is provided to my entire team of engineers - and on a regular basis.
Engineers are often too far removed from the customer base. It’s critical to get feedback on a product but it means so much more when that feedback is coming directly from the customer who uses your product on a daily basis to do their job. Hearing from customers can give the engineering team a shot of inspiration. And honestly, there are days when inspiration like this is needed.
So, thank you Dreamforce for reminding me once again that talking to customers is essential for anyone in any role because not only can it provide specific input for improvement but it can also refresh our conviction as to why we’re in the business in the first place.