Ashley Sowerby's blog: 30 May 2014 - Getting the most out of software
30 May 2014
It is a conundrum that faces almost all software companies - you make an excellent product but how do you convince customers to make the most of its potential?
The impulse behind this is straightforward. A well-used software product is the sign of a happy customer who is also likely to stay a happy customer for a long time.
We are probably as affected by this issue as anyone and, frankly, it has been a source of frustration to me for more than a quarter of a century.
There are Chevin fleet users that make the most of every capability that we build into our products while pushing us towards new developments and there are a few others who, well, simply don't.
How do you solve the problem? Part of the solution is certainly about design. Create software that is intuitive and many users will more quickly get to grips with its capabilities. However, beyond this point, things start to get a bit muddled.
Account managers have a role to play by visiting the customer and showing them how to do more while telephone support and e-mails to our service desk also have a part. However, none of these things are quite as effective as you might hope.
Happily, technology has passed us what we believe could prove to be a highly effective solution. It's called video. That doesn't sound like a revolution but fast, cheap-to-produce online video is a really useful way of showing people how to do things.
You only have to spend a few moments on YouTube to find five minute shorts illustrating how to do everything from hanging a door to configuring your iPhone.
That is why we have invested quite a lot of time and effort in recent months in something we are calling the Chevin Academy.
Basically, it is a set of videos showing our customers how to get more out of their software that will be made available later this year. We've been testing it out and visually showing someone how to do something in the software works really well.
There is potential that, just by spending a few minutes online, users could learn how to do simple things that could have a genuine impact on the productivity of their systems.
After 25 years of searching to find a way to help customers get the most out of their software, it's a joy to find a new answer that appears to be so simple and effective.