Product and process innovation driven by what’s good for the customer
Server monitoring software is nothing new, as companies have long had the need to understand system health and reliability. However, we had the chance to learn more about a company, CopperEgg that is taking a very new approach to this service. Mike Raab, CopperEgg VP of Sales, spoke with us about how the modern technology landscape is not only making it possible for them to innovate and serve their customers in exciting new ways, but is also opening up a whole new client base as companies of all sizes, across the globe, are able to create and distribute web based and mobile applications. Here is what else he had to say.
Tell us a little bit about CopperEgg.
CopperEgg is a SaaS based application that specializes in server monitoring. The computers that run the applications we all know and love need to be monitored so that administrators can understand the health, performance and availability of their applications. We provide that as a service to our clients.
What makes CopperEgg different from your competitors in the market?
Although server monitoring has been around for decades, we approached it in a modern way. Traditionally this monitoring is hard to set up, not user friendly and not very nice to look at. Our goal was to make it ridiculously easy to install and ensure that it provides valuable information in an eye pleasing way. The value in what we do is very simple and straightforward. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t sophisticated or innovative, in fact, it is often more difficult to be simple.
Can you describe your typical customer?
This is actually very interesting and is very much related to the evolution of companies in this digital, mobile age. We have users in more than 100 countries. Anyone who is running a web application can consume a service like ours, no matter their location or size. We have customers in diverse industries from online game providers, to mobile application developers and social media networks. This is what is great about the Internet. There’s little barrier to entry if you want to develop a web service or app. All you need is a good idea and some development resources. It isn’t limited to the top 5 countries or companies that have tons of resources. The number of potential customers for a service like ours has grown tremendously in recent years.
As companies adopt new ways of working and adjust to the new social, mobile world, what has changed about what your customers expect from you?
Our customers expect our service to provide immediate and constant value. In our industry, there once was a time, where many licenses were sold, but never installed, “shelfware” if you will. Not anymore. That just doesn’t exist. If our customers aren’t seeing value, they will very quickly seek out another provider. There are lots of options and it is easy to switch. That ups the ante and means that we must constantly innovate.
What has changed about what you expect from the vendors you use?
We are very much like our customers in that we expect constant innovation and outstanding service. We basically own no software, other than general laptop productivity applications. We buy everything through the SaaS based consumption model and we expect to pay as you go. If our vendors aren’t creative in keeping up with market trends and our needs, we will look for something else. In fact, we are considering changing one vendor now, not because the product doesn’t work, but because it hasn’t changed in years. There are too many pioneering companies to stay with one who is stuck.
Have you faced any difficulties transitioning into today’s mobile, agile and always-on world?
One big challenge is reacting to the way that people buy today. The old enterprise sales paradigm with cold calling and direct marketing no longer works for us. We have moved to a whole new approach based on organic marketing and working with prospects and customers in the way that is most comfortable to them. We consider our website our front door. When people come, we want to give them an experience that is basically self-guided, but offer help when they need and want it.
We agree with another modern technology company, Hub Spot that the number one cultural tenant has to be “What’s best for the customer?” If we keep that front and center and always use it as the rubric for making decisions, the rest will follow.
I’ve heard about “the Egg” can you tell me more about him and how social media is impacting your business?
Ah, the Egg. First off, the story of our company name is an interesting one that you might want to read some time. Like a lot of companies, we sometimes give out tchotchkes at tradeshows and other events. We ended up with some cool foam eggs. I took one home and was playing around, giving him sunglasses and imagining him sitting on the beach having a margarita. It was funny, so we put some pictures on our Facebook page and he began to develop a personality and a following. People love to hear about the adventures of the Egg. It is a fun way to interact with our customers and the community; people get a kick out of it.
We really see social media as an alternate channel for customer engagement. We want them to get to know us and we want to learn more about them, so this kind of network is great. The Egg has a personality and so does our company. It may not have been true 10 years ago, but people want that from their vendors now.
Can you describe the role of collaboration in your office?
Almost all of our team lives near our office here in Austin. Most people come into the office more often than not, but we have the flexibility to work from wherever makes the most sense. Some people come in early, others later, there’s no rule about it. It all goes back to doing what is best for the customer.
Our office space is open and we work in pods to facilitate team collaboration. We use a group IM solution and often find ourselves having both fun and pure business conversations at the same time. We enjoy interjecting some crazy, silly stuff like funny .gifs or images. I think a fun, collaborative work place is good for our customers.
What else is interesting to you about the evolution of the way we work today?
One thing that is really important, particularly for companies like ours is finding the right balance between gathering useful information about how our customers are using our products and treating that information with the right amount of respect and privacy. Today’s technology gives all sorts of companies the power to gather a huge amount of information about customer behavior, from the moment they first visit your website as a prospect all the way through each transaction. Vendors need to be responsible enough to use the information to better serve customers and veer away from irresponsible data collection or sharing.
All-in-all, the opportunity to delight customers and provide meaningful services of value has never been better.