Here at TechInsurance, we're constantly working to improve our product (an all-online application for business insurance for sole proprietors and owners of small tech firms). A lot of the tweaking we do involves the high-tech programming, coding, and designing you'd expect from an Internet-based insurance agency.
But sometimes, we get just as much valuable information from trouble shooting of a very low-tech variety. For example, we occasionally review applications that our customers start but abandon to determine what caused them to quit early. In some cases, we'll call these business owners and ask for their input about what prompted them to abandon their insurance application.
The answers are honest, immediate, and sometimes surprising. Conversations like these have led us to adjust the size and placement of text and images, test alternate color schemes, and even update the site's home page, all of which has helped us increase the percentage of completed applications we receive.
So how can you tell if it's time for some low-tech trouble shooting in your business? (For more tips on building your business, check out our Business Tips section.) The following are key indicators that you might need to unplug to fix a bug.
- Your code is flawless but something's still not gelling. If you've tested and retested the technical features of your products and found no problems - but are still experiencing trouble somewhere - it's time to go non-technical. Talk to your customers or ask a non-technical friend to test your product to get a fresh perspective on what's causing complications.
- You're receiving customer feedback that's consistently mediocre or negative. Even if you're not having trouble attracting and winning new customers, you may want to look at non-technical issues if your feedback is ho-hum. Following up with the people who give you less than rave reviews and asking them how you can improve is an excellent way to turn some of your clients into repeat clients.
- You have very few repeat customers. If you don't currently collect customer feedback, looking at your percentage of repeat customers is a good way to gauge whether or not your customer service is up to par. Once again, heading offline for a quick phone call (or follow-up email, if you must) can help identify key areas where you can improve your game.
- You haven't seen sunlight in several weeks. Sure, your business may be entirely online or dependent on computers, but that doesn't mean you should neglect your mental and physical health. If you don't currently know what season it is, stop reading this article and GO OUTSIDE! I promise, it will improve your mood and (probably) give you a fresh perspective on how to improve your business.
Writtten by Brenna Lemieux - check her out at Google+ or Twitter