“If you’re going to be an entrepreneur and want to solve customers’ problems without letting them tell you how they want them solved, you’re probably missing many important details during your journey.”
Being a startup is challenging and risky: half of them don’t cross the 5-year mark. However, startups can take advantage of their size, stealthy approach, and close-knit teams to faster go-to-market strategies.
Right-Hand started its journey with a customer-first mentality. We do not want to position ourselves by launching features that will not add value to our users’ lives. We want to solve the cyber awareness space challenges that matter most to our customers. The only thing that can guarantee a smooth execution of this strategy is the proper culture fit within the Right-Hand team.
Off-the-shelf solutions are not cutting for any market anymore. We decided to take the customer-first approach to keep an evergreen portfolio of innovations and solutions.
“The needs of the customer are evolving, so we need to understand that a flashy, requirement-heavy feature that it isn’t solving a customer problem is a useless feature.”
Our co-founders have a clear vision: there’s no helpful innovation and no sustainable business without customer-first insight. However, how do we turn it into an organization-wide culture? To get there, we have some driving principles.
Two things stand out in the first and most crucial stage of our customer-first strategy:
- Targeted and drill-down questions
- Creating trust and being there, regardless of being insight that drives more considerable innovations or solving individual, minor customer issues.
“Once you can figure out where your product stands in your customer’s life cycle and get to know their pain points, it’s a win.”
Customer Success Manager
Soumalya Mitra uses the five whys approach to ensure we get to the point where the customers can verbalize their impressions and necessities with insights they could not perceive.
Every month, the CSM’s challenge is to understand their relationship with our solutions and features and their challenges within their industries.
The team takes the same open approach with the same transparency so that trust makes customers comfortable to talk and share more than just their concerns during customer calls. It’s customer-first for innovations but also for problem-solving.
As we drive customer insights further into the organization, there’s still a mentality of solving issues and building better features simultaneously. We haven’t abandoned the customer’s use cases and pain points and traded them for simple coding or engineering problems.
“At the end of the day, everyone is taking their commitment to the product and the company very seriously. They’re taking the initiative to say, ‘okay, this might be an okay solution, but we can come up with a better solution,’ and then actually suggest that solution.”
The main concern here is prioritization: what goes on the roadmap?
And here’s another customer-first point in our journey. Customers can upvote the ideas they helped bring to the fold in an open roadmap available inside the platform. So, it’s their feedback that drives what goes into consideration but also what determines the priorities.
The process must be agile to deliver solutions and features that benefit customers with the urgency their challenges demand.
The product team makes sure we take the shortest time from problem statement to product capability without sacrificing quality. That was true for our most prominent solutions, like Ally or Training Readiness, and for features like GSuite integrations.
It is also true that the most minor details make customers’ lives easier. The team is constantly stimulated to place themselves in the user seat and see ways to improve the experience.
“If the customer can do the same thing in two clicks versus ten clicks, we should reduce those ten clicks to two clicks. So in all of our development strategies, our UI/UX implementation is designed this way.”
The Right People with Customer-First in Mind
At Right-Hand, we look for three central values that make sure we have the people who can keep us going on the customer-first route, regardless of our team growth in the future.
“We look for the passion to create something larger than themselves, creating an impact by solving some of the most important problems out there in the industry.”
Director of Human Resources
Empathy is required because, as we saw before, communicating and understanding the customers’ needs is the foundation of our mindset.
Walking several miles in their shoes makes a difference in understanding where to go. It’s what makes Soumalya ask 5 whys to a customer to get to the bottom of that organization’s needs, beyond just the cybersecurity needs.
Passion comes as the desire to build big things, something bigger than ourselves.
It makes us build things out of thin air to address new challenges. It’s what creates new solutions and reduces ten clicks to two clicks.
Finally, transparency is valuable in customer-first mindsets within the customer relationship itself.
However, the highest value of transparency is internal. A team that can voice ideas and fight for what a customer needs on all levels is essential to our culture.
“When you know that the leadership is transparent, you can give your ideas. Your thought process becomes very transparent, enabling us to be more agile.”
Director of Human Resources
The Future of Customer-First for Right-Hand
Any startup that survives and thrives in a market will grow in revenue, investment, portfolio, and people. We have a solid customer-first mindset that has carried us for almost three years and continues to drive our success. As we grow, we make sure the model stays the same.
- Hire talent that understands how we do things with empathy, passion, and transparency.
- Make sure that we keep digging for the bottom line challenges on the Customer Success side.
- Invite our team to imagine our customers’ experiences and work hard to make their lives easier.
- Carry customers’ opinions inside our roadmaps and development.
- Work fast and efficiently to deliver answers to pain points with the urgency they require.
- Repeat the process over and over.
And as with any successful organization, it comes from the top, regardless of size or achievement.
“Of course, what I’m doing today compared to what I was doing when we were first in our early first days of Right-Hand changed. But I talk to customers all the time. It’s important to have that customer voice throughout that process regardless of your company’s stage.”