Don't make me think.
Borrowed from Steve Krug's book Don't Make Me Think
There's a difference between needing to think and getting to think. When someone or something makes you think, it's an obstacle. When one doesn't have to think, they have more mental energy to do other things.
In user experience design, people prefer websites that make it easy to know what to do, even if that means more clicks to get to the destination. For example, we can scroll on Facebook for hours because we don't have to think, and instead we can use that extra energy to get into fights with strangers in the comments.
We believe this concept is just as true when it comes to customer communication.
If someone doesn't respond, it is most likely too much work for them to do so. Maybe they saw the email, but it had three questions, and they needed to think through one of them. By the time they have the time to respond, the email has been clicked into and the unread notification is no longer there in front of them.
Because of this, we want our support and sales staff to treat communication as if the outside world is in the middle of something when they see it. Sometimes this is not appropriate, but when we need to hear back and we don't, we take the default perspective that we could have made it easier.
The details add up.
One bad interaction can ruin a customer's opinion. One great interaction can turn into an evangelist.
If we regularly wow customers, some will become evangelists.
This includes subtleties like how fast we get back to people or how easy we make things for them. And things like how proud our agents are of their business cards, of our facebook page, etc.
The details add up also means that the lack of details can add up. Sometimes we intentionally don't offer things, e.g. not having offices for our agents so that we can have lower prices.
Other times, it is just a minus point, e.g. other websites show users parcel boundaries. Users may deal with this since they like our other features, but it is still a minus point until we build it.
Editing Headshots for Custoners
Nothing last forever.
Inspired by David Johnson Photography
It's important that we are ready to abandon or replace things. The designs, systems, and pitches that got us from 20 to 200 agents are different than the ones that get us from 200 to 2,000.
This is not just because the volume has changed, but also because our insights have evolved.
We learn that our customers appreciate or resonate with certain features and messages better. We have an ah-ha moment on how we can eliminate a step by combing it with another step, etc.
This is not to say we should not do our best work the first time.
Sometimes it does, and sometimes it is by doing our best work that we learn what our best work could be.
The important thing is that we are comfortable throwing something away or redoing it with our new knowledge.
Small team, big results.
All else being equal, we believe fewer people leads to faster, better decisions.
Fewer people means information travels faster and prioritizing is more important. Debate flows more freely in a small organization where you can easily solicit opinions from those with the most exposure.
Fewer people means prioritizing. It means prioritizing people (i.e. do we have the best person) and prioritizing what we work on (i.e. since we can't do everything, we consider the impact of every project).
Small team also acts as a forcing function for innovating how we operate, i.e. do we need another person or is there another way we can accomplish this entirely that is less work for equal or greater impact?
With this being said, the team should and will grow
We very much expect to have a large team; we just want it to be the smallest large team we can.
Context leads to confidence.
Our users care more about comps than they do our estimates. People want to understand assumptions.
Going back to "Don't make me think" the comps give people an opportunity to think, whereas the estimates by themselves make people need to think, which doesn't jive with the value.