In his bestselling book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it takes 10 thousand hours of practice, ample opportunity to participate and some luck to become a game-changing expert in any professional pursuit (just ask Bill Gates). Here at LM we are roughly 420,000 dedicated people hours into our SaaS-based infrastructure performance monitoring platform business. If hours are the measure of expertise then we should be pretty damn good by now!
Within any competitive market (monitoring included), it’s tough to discern from the outside how good a product or a company is relative to its competition. Why? In large part it’s due to our dependence on online information to make informed decisions. In the two dimensional online world it’s easy for competing vendors to copy each other by making similar product claims on their website. There’s relatively little penalty for bad online marketing because it takes many bad customer experiences for these falsities to publicly surface. The confounding result is that market positioning (how product value is presented differentiated from competitors), is a difficult, if not impossible endeavor.
By looking at our business challenges and how we have overcome them, we’ve uncovered a way to address this challenge. At LogicMonitor we solve the old problem of technology performance monitoring in a new way. As a SaaS company we have to provide compelling value to our customers because if they are unsatisfied with our performance they can cancel their subscription. Legacy vendors don’t share this challenge. Even though we have a great product that our customers value, we must execute the business in a way that creates great customer experiences for us to be successful.
Execution, unlike online marketing messaging, is very difficult to copy. To illustrate here are a couple examples from our business. First, we let our customers tell us how we are doing. Company wide we’ve visited with over 100 companies just through May of this year. That’s lots of traveling. On these visits we spend an extraordinary amount of time with customers. Time is our most precious resource, but I don’t think we can spend too much of it with customers. Customer time is part of our product development process. We use it for feedback, to see what’s working and what we need to improve. We show customers what’s new and what’s coming on the product roadmap. We learn things we never would from an online survey. Customer time helps us manage our business better.
Second, as a 24 x 7 x 365 online business we must make ourselves available, and we do this through our in-app chat support. LogicMonitor’s Chat with Engineer button gives customers direct access to our engineers, who help them with monitoring. Customers use chat to optimize their LM account and to troubleshoot infrastructure problems. It doesn’t matter if they need help working on a new unfamiliar device type or if they are trying to get an integration configuration working between LM and an automation platform like Puppet Labs — our engineers provide them support. Customer discussions always confirm that the in-app support helps to create a better customer experience.
As a fast growing company we have to work through the kinks associated with scaling customer time and a high level of service. But we’re committed to investing in a great customer experience. That’s ultimately how our differentiation is realized and what will drive our long-term success. We decided to prove this by stepping back to let our customers tell the story of who LogicMonitor is as a business and how we are transforming the market.
Kevin McGibben is CEO at LogicMonitor.