This time we had a great opportunity to speak with Steve Duckworth a founder and CEO of Harmony Business Systems . He’s always interested in listening to and acting on user feedback. Hearing people tell him they don’t know how they managed before buying Harmony is the best motivation imaginable.
Why did you choose to take “the hard way” of bootstrapping instead of raising money for your company?
It is very tough to get early-stage investment for business software as it’s not a high growth model. So, we developed it ourselves with money we earned working for banks (our background).
I know you were always very careful about top-notch support for Harmony clients: how do you get your first customers to trust you?
By being highly responsive and attentive, by jumping on issues and fixing them fast.
There are many things you can measure customer support employees on, but ultimately, there’s one metric that matters most. How do you measure the success of your support efforts?
Customer retention is key for us. We’ve never lost a customer because of poor customer support.
What have been the biggest roadblocks you had to overcome to provide great support? Can you give us an example how you solved the problem?
The big problem is that the extreme configurability of the software can lead to interesting and unusual use-cases. We overcome this by listening and understanding our customers’ business models and by placing customer support ahead of profit.
What role does support play on your product roadmap, if any?
It is key to developing an understanding of the features needed to help customers help themselves, by modeling their businesses without workarounds.
Cloud computing enables business models to be more flexible and dynamic. We built into Harmony the ability to handle dynamic business conditions while simultaneously increasing automation, freeing you to focus on growth.
– Steve Duckworth, Co-founder & CEO
“The customer is always right” and they’re super demanding too. According to Harvard Business Review, 65% of customers want their problem resolved in the first try. And, over 60% of customers believe that knowledgeable employees is crucial to providing good customer service. Do you use any self-service knowledge base helps support tools to increase your performance and productivity? And what’s the role of self-help support in your support framework?
We use our own knowledge base, support text on a continuous improvement cycle (driven by customer issue recording) and videos, all wrapped up in Support Hero.
Do you localize your support team? If yes, in which countries?
We have our first two overseas resellers operating providing local environment and language support. These cover Dach (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg).
What’s next for Harmony?
Sustained steady growth of a happy customer base, followed by a presence in the US in 2019.
What would be number one business advice you would give to yourself 15 years ago?
Build simpler less opinionated software!
About the author: Steve Duckworth, CEO, and founder at Harmony Business Systems. In a career that began in offshore engineering, migrated into investment banking and ended up with the co-founding of a software company 10 years ago; Steve has devoted his career to developing solutions solving project, accounting, and business process problems.
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