Thursday, April 16, 2009

The best feedback comes from your...customer

So many people do secondary research for months and rely on advisors who are knowledgeable in their fields for advice on how to build their service/product.

No matter how clever your product is, the end game is to get it in the hands of your customers and have them PAY for it. If you are also planning a start up or building a new product, it's great it there's people out there telling you how great they think your product is and that you've done a great job pursuing the entrepreneur route...but until they actually pay out of pocket for your product, it means


Sad but true. So where do you get the feedback to improve your product to the point where you can sell it for money? From the people who are actually going to use it! [duh]

We had an interesting meeting today with one of our early adopters. It went something like this:

Customer = C
PeerFX = P

C: "So...I want to get this account set up, how long does it take to authorize the account?"

[at this point he has already come by the office, we've met him in person and he has his bank statement + personal ID ready; I take out my laptop and authorize the account]

P: "It's done. You can start transacting now."

C: "Well, how do I know that it's safe going through you guys?"

P: "The money stays within the banking system so we don't ever take it out; everything is done electronically."

C: "OK. So what my bank [XXXXXXXXXXXX] is telling me now about requiring me to wire funds between my CAD and USD accounts and what not...I don't need to do that with you guys? Do I ever need to be in contact with my bank to get this done?"

P: "Nope. You stay in the comfort of your own home, book a transaction with us, fund it using your online banking bill payment system and that's it. A couple days later the converted funds show up in your USD bank account."

C: "Ok...ok...So what's your rate for today?"

P: "1.2105"

C: "Wow. You guys are better than your competitors; and since I already use online banking this is totally something that I can do. The only thing is the 3 day turnaround..."

P: "We wish we could do something about that but it's all done electronically and our transaction records all have to be stored there...the bank's electronic clearing systems are a hinderance to our transaction times right now; hopefully we can work on shrinking that."

C: "Well, I will definitely use this when I make a larger purchase down in the States since you said you could pay direct to the seller down there right?"

P: "Yep. Plus sending the wires through us is way cheaper than you going to a bank and transferring large sums of foreign currency."

Well the bottom line is that the conversation gave us a lot of insight into common questions our users have and what we should look at streamlining in our system. We wish we had video taped the segment and posted it on our website.

The best source of advice for how to build your product? Your customers! Make sure it's built to the point where they're willing to pay for it!*

*and of course make sure that their willingness to pay is well above your cost to serve!

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