This semester we are teaching a course called Entrepreneurship 101 at a local prep school. It's fun seeing the next generation catch the vision. We made the class interactive, pouring over lots of case studies. The process/class has helped us at Kyya as well.
Last week, one of my customers had an issue with one of our products. They had been using it for over a year, but some things had changed on their side and as they were mixing products, it was having "issues".
After 20+ years in sales, the first thing I was taught to do was head over and see if I could understand the "issue". Sitting down with their team, we initially couldn't see the issue, but then it appeared. It was subtle, but we were going to have to make adjustments so that the customer could continue to utilize our product.
We had no time to make changes. In fact, production is running wide open right now, so just about any hiccup can be painful. On top of that we were prepping for 2 festivals for the weekend. We had read an article (I read a lot) a few years ago, where someone had a similar issue. We googled the article and started to see if we could adapt their process into ours.
At one point, I briefly thought about just walking away, but I know the value our product provides and sometimes you have to be bold and take a calculated risk. Sometimes fear plays in our mind --- fear of the unknown, fear of failure and definitely fear of losing a good customer.
We had to act, not freeze up in fear, or as we used to call it at Microsoft, "paralysis by analysis". I called my dad, and ran the issue and my proposed solution by him. After all that, I prayed for wisdom and we penciled out a plan of attack. It took 24 hours for the process to show results and we nailed the change on the first try. The customer was appreciative, our team was a little weary for the extra work mid-week, but we solved the problem and the issue is resolved and we all felt a great deal of satisfaction.
We solved the issue primarily by listening. We initially couldn't understand why things were happening, but by actively listening and asking qualifying questions, we actually ended up improving our product. Today, while we were updating our process documentation, we found another tidbit of efficiency we can utilize.
It will be fun to share with the class how active listening can help improve a customer relationship and improve the product. These are exciting times at Kyya - and we just might have found a way to increase production without spending a dime on equipment. That's some good learning all caused by an "issue" we wanted to run from. Sometimes it's really fun being entrepreneurs.