That's a pretty common theme in our company when it comes to how our customers are utilizing our software. There are things that software developers forget about our customers because there are many layers of insulation between the folks that use the code and the folks that write the code.
Software developers and their associates are smart guys. Writing software is challenging and requires incredible cognitive, logic and troubleshooting capabilities. Most of the talented developers I know are also creative and tend to live and breath code. Again… smart guys.
Here's what is sometimes forgotten when you're working with a bunch of smart guys: your clients have smart guys, too. In fact, chances are that the talent in their court matches the talent in yours. If you have 5,000 clients – you'll find 5,000 times the talent in your clients than in your own court. Odds are, they are going to collectively identify all of your vulnerabilities, workarounds, thresholds, downtime, bugs, mistakes, bad documentation, etc. There's no escaping it.
“They're doing what?!” – the surprise at the end of this question should be stricken.
Clients are going to find amazing things to do with your product that you never expected. Never expected. As an integration and automation guy, I always break out in a smile when I hear about a client doing something with our software that we never expected. I've developed solutions before with ungodly code and third party applications. Why? Because it worked.
That's the name of the game… get it to work. Our clients have a business process that they're utilizing our software to support. There are an infinite array of business processes; as a result, there are an infinite amount of solutions used to support those processes. That's a great thing. Your company has a choice when these things happen:
- State that they are not supported and turn your head on what your clients need to be successful.
- Open your ears and eyes, and utilize the feedback from your clients to drive your product into new directions.
If you choose #1, that's okay. Your competition will select #2. You won't have to worry about that client anymore.