The Customer

One of the things I find fascinating is how businesses can lose focus on, or misunderstand from the beginning, who their customers are. It’s understandable, because as it becomes more and more possible to connect and provide value to anyone, the temptation is to do so with everyone. A new restaurant opening that’s trying to be the best in the neighborhood might look and act a lot differently than the restaurant trying to be the best in the city. And certainly the best Italian restaurant is going to be different than the sushi place, which will be different than the bar down the way.

The thing with this is that it isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about understanding your market, who your customer is, what your intentions are, and making the best decisions based on those intentions.

As with many things, in the world of software these lines can be a bit more blurred. The walls are less rigid and the barriers are fewer. And while this flexibility has allowed us to connect with each other in ways never before possible, it can cause vertigo when developers are trying to figure out who to please.

When everyone’s a user, who wins when the tradeoffs have to be made?

The opinion of our software, is that the studio owner is always the customer. This is why we embed our calendar inside our customer’s site. It is so disrespectful, for example, to take a studio’s visitors away from their site for any reason – but especially to get their class schedule.

Likewise, our software is of the opinion that small studio owners should focus on cultivating a sense of community and creating lasting relationships with their students. This is why we have built a way to easily create recurring monthly memberships, but we have not built a way for people to pre-register for oversold classes because a studio sold too many Groupons. We’re of the opinion that you shouldn’t do that, and so we don’t even try to handle that use case.

If you own a yoga studio, think about how your software is treating you. Are they treating you like your the customer? Or are they servings someone else?