Delightful experiences. If I were to sum up what I want in my life, it would probably be exactly that. I don’t want fine cuisine because of the food’s nutritional value. I don’t want to travel the world just so I can fill up my passport with stamps. And I don’t want to retire someday with a large nest egg just to see how high of a tax bracket I can get into. I want delightful experiences! And most people are just like me in that regard. This is why creating delightful experiences is something BambooHR seeks on a daily basis.
We get a lot of questions from people wondering how we choose which features to add to our software, why we build the features the way we do, and how we plan to improve them. More times than not, the answer comes down to delighting our customers. And we’re deliberate in how we delight our customers. Since recently we’ve been focusing on making our existing features more delightful, we thought we’d pull back the curtain and give you a glimpse into why (and how) we go about delighting customers.
We want our customers to be able to solve business problems. We want them to bring strategic value to their organizations so that they become indispensable team members. So, what’s one of the biggest barriers to being able to use software to address business problems? Adoptability.
If executives, managers, and employees adopt our HR software, it becomes a major channel to address business problems and deliver strategic value. If they don’t adopt the software … well, that’s bad. The way we see it, our features are only as valuable as they are being used—often. And people won’t use those features if they’re not delightful experiences. This is why we spend countless hours making sure we are building software that will be adopted.
We believe anything we create must be intuitive and easy to use. The layout should be neat and clean. And the features, the things that will address those business problems, need to be things that can be easily integrated into the daily habits and routines of the people they serve. As Josh Bersin would put it, simplicity trumps functionality.
Simplicity is about finding only the most important elements of an idea and eliminating everything unnecessary. We spend countless hours whittling down to the absolute core elements of a feature that will help our customers—even if it means dropping “cool” features. Because simplicity leads to (quick) delightful experiences. But more than that, simplicity leads to people actually using the thing.
We often find that when companies start shopping for HR software, they’re trying to solve an immediate business problem or pain. Most commonly, it’s getting employee records organized, or cutting down the amount of time it takes to run a report or making sure their company is compliant. And so forth.
Frequently, they’ll decide that the more problems software can solve, the more value it provides. But we’ve found the inverse to be true. There’s a business term for this, called “the suck threshold,” which describes the point at which the value or quality of a product begins to degrade because it’s trying to do too much. The key is to find the sweet spot—something we’re constantly striving for because we know it’s the difference between delighting our customers and disappointing them.
It’s great if an HR software can address a whole slew of business problems, but if no one can figure out how to use it, or worse, dislikes using it, it will never deliver its intended value. And just like that, the undelivered value from the software prevents everyone involved from accomplishing great things—let alone be delighted.
For this reason, we are very deliberate and methodical when testing new features. We validate the usefulness of every new feature with customer visits, usability labs, beta tests, and early access feedback. We put each feature through the rigamarole before it ever sees the light of day.
The kind of delight we’re most interested in
BambooHR isn’t always concerned about the software itself. We’re often focusing on limiting the time HR pros—and managers and executives and employees—have to spend inside the software. We want our customers and their people to spend as little time in the software as necessary—without giving up the insights that come from our tools—so that they can accomplish great work for their organizations.
Because as much as we want our software to be delightful, more than that we want our customers to be able to create delightful places to work. That’s the kind of delight we’re most interested in.