Surveys are great. They often provide you the down and dirty data needed to develop or validate a hypothesis.

Market research is another fantastic tool. It provides the broad net needed to understand the intricacies of who your target customer is, and what their pain points and needs are.

2016_JAN_ALL_PEOPLE - Voice of the customer: the human side of business

But there is a little gem that always seems to go forgotten too frequently. That’s the voice of your customer. It’s that piece of gold that every product team has at it’s fingertips – so you should take advantage of every day. Call it a genie in a bottle if you will, your very own customer just may have the answer to complex product decisions – or at least help you to better define them.

Getting to know our customers

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been meeting with small businesses who use Xero’s US payroll feature. I wanted to understand more about our customers. To learn what makes their business unique and figure out what we can do better to serve them. And to simply shake their hand to say thank you.

I wanted an unbiased, off the cuff opinion on what we were doing (or not doing) to improve their lives when it comes to running payroll. I wanted to build a relationship with them so they know that we care and value their feedback. Our product is built on the foundation of making the life of a small business easier – so I wanted to make sure we were living up to that expectation. This feedback is critical and will be used to help us to not only improve our payroll feature but also prioritize our product road map.

The human side of business

I’m prepared to take on any feedback – good and bad. But what I’m most excited about is meeting the humans on other side of our software. I’m passionate about face to face interaction and meeting some really cool people with unique payroll needs. ‘Human’ is a value of ours and I’m looking forward to living it by spending an hour in the shoes of our customer.

Journey to the customer

I have just begun, but I must admit it has been a really humbling experience. Whether it be a unique legal niche, really cool sock designs or two Silicon Valley execs trying their hand at baking, we have amazing small business customers who truly embody the entrepreneurial spirit. Their stories of business evolution, how they found Xero and most importantly how they use payroll have been fascinating, with highs and lows.

Over the next few months I’ll be sharing my experiences and showcasing the small business customers I met with. I want to do this as way to drive home the #human value that Xero lives by internally and externally, every day. Awareness is one of the most important human attributes and we at Xero are aware that we may not be perfect, but we listen. Customer feedback is what drives us to be better, build better and most importantly makes the lives of our customers better. At the end of the day, our customers are doing some really cool stuff and who doesn’t like learning about really cool stuff.

Mark Pinard Xero

This content is provided courtesy of Xero Accounting Software - used by hundreds of thousands of businesses all over the world.