Cage Free Customers

The best thing about making software is that you can share your opinions, worldview, and philosophy with others through your work. Though, I suppose this is true of most any creative venture and not just software. But for us, it's through various features, functionality and design elements that we're really able to show people what we're all about.  With this in mind I wanted to write about a new feature we've just released.

Over the past few months we've been getting more and more people inquiring about moving to us from other systems that aren't serving them as well as they'd like. We're always happy to have new people join us, but the one thing we've noticed is that in almost every single case these potential customers feel locked into their current systems.

And the reason they FEEL locked into these systems is because they ARE locked into these systems. There's literally no way for them to easily export all their data. In some cases we've had to help people enter in hundreds of students by hand because it was the fastest way to help them.

Locking customers, and locking in their data in particular,  is something I am fundamentally against as a software developer.  It is not right and any company that keeps their customers by locking them in displays a lack of confidence in their product.

We of course always want our customers to stay with us, but we want them to stay with us because they love our software, not because we've caged them in. After all, if our customers aren't free to leave us, how can we know if they truly love us?

Effective today, with a single click, all of our customers can export their most important studio information. This includes the name, email address, phone number, # of credits remaining, the expiration date of those credits, and the customer ID of our payment processor (which ties to customer credit card data) for every person in your system.

Yes, you read that correctly, if any of our customers want to leave us they can get ALL their most important data, including credit card data. The data in our system is our customer's data, not ours.

The only reason we hadn't built this in earlier is we didn't really think about it. We had always made it easy for people to export the names and email addresses of everyone inside Tula, and so this just takes that a step further.

While we hope our customers never have to use this feature, we think it will give them the confidence they deserve that they're always free to do what they like with their data - even if that means leaving us.