It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost over! The year has flown by, and it’s a good time for me to reflect on what we’ve done this year.
First, thanks to all of our customers, partners, and the folks who work at Moraware. I feel lucky to be surrounded by such a great group, every day.
Behind The Scenes
We spent a ton of effort this year on making Moraware run better. And by Moraware, I mean both our company and our software.
One of the big things that was keeping me (and Ted, who’s basically “on call” for any IT problem) awake at night was our server infrastructure. Although we didn’t have any serious unplanned downtime in 2014, we want to keep reducing the risk of problems.
So, this year, we made lots of changes so we can have multiple data centers and easily switch between them. Right now, we’ve got servers in the Midwest and on the East Coast, both in really beefy data centers with lots of backups and multiple connections to the internet.
You’ll notice that our status page is pretty darn boring, which is how we like it.
We also did a major technology migration (for you nerds, we’re still in .NET, but now using C#). Being on a more modern platform will help us with future development, but more importantly, it helps us attract more developers to our team. One thing I’ve learned is that, of everything we do, who we hire has the biggest impact on our business.
Another biggie is that we keep finding and fixing bugs, usually before anybody tells us about them. Since so many businesses rely on our software, we can’t afford to have it to have errors or crashes. A surprising large amount of time is spent on that, but it’s totally worth it to make sure our software quality is high.
Even though we spent most of our development effort on making things better, we keep adding more features based on our customers’s requests. Probably the biggest ones in 2015 were adding much more flexibility to notches and bump-outs in CounterGo. For example, adding splashes to bump-outs, or unfinished edges to notches.
And in JobTracker, we updated some calendar views to take advantage of wider computer screens.
More folks keep using our software! Last year, I said we’d passed 1000 “companies using our software“… I was a little cagey with the language, because we didn’t have a great definition for “who’s a customer?“. And, we didn’t have the internal tools for easily reporting it. Well, that changed in 2015.
Based on how we’re measuring it now, we passed 1000 customers early this year. Although it’s just a number, it’s a nice big round number, and I’m really proud of it. Thanks again for your support! I hope we can keep making your business more successful.
I get asked about geographic and demographic trends based on what our customers are doing, and I think there’s a future blog post about that, once I crunch the numbers.
What’s the most awesome and possibly intimidating is the number of transactions that flow through our software.
In 2015, over a million jobs were created in JobTracker, and over half a million quotes were created in CounterGo.
On the support side of things, we’ve also made some changes.
We’ve made some dramatic changes to our “on-boarding” process – hopefully it’s easier than ever to get started. We’re never done trying to improve that first experience, but with a combination of more help, better help, and an easier starting point, newer customers seem to be more successful, faster than before. In addition to helping our newest customers, we started doing webinars to cover more advanced topics for some of our longer-time users.
We also added a receptionist to our team – actually it’s a service, so we got several receptionists who cover for each other. Some time in the last year or two, it became impossible to answer every call as it came in. And, our customers were getting frustrated because they were going to voicemail right away.
So, during Eastern time-zone working hours, any call that’s not answered directly by our support team gets answered by a human being. This has been great, because it turns out that many of the simple questions (billing or log-in related, for example) can be answered right away. And, by getting more details than a voicemail message, we can respond faster and more appropriately than we did before.
Along those lines, another big change we made was allowing our customers to update their own billing information. We were spending a silly amount of time on phone-tag to get updated card info. I assume we’ve saved a week’s worth of our customers’ total time since we rolled that out in August.
Sales and Marketing
For those of you interested in sales an marketing, we also added more places to enter an email address on our website, and when folks enter their emails, they get a very useful sequence of emails from us. If you’re not automating some of your customer outreach, you really should… in some future blog posts, we’ll also highlight what we’ve done and some of the results.
We’re also continuing to experiment with different and more marketing channels. We’re doing some Google and Facebook ads, direct mail, and in-person events. I enjoy participating (and sponsoring) smaller, local gatherings of fabricators. I strongly feel that if we can help countertop fabricators be more successful businesses, that ultimately helps us, too.
Our countertop-industry podcast is rolling along. If you’d like to share your stories, we’d love to have you as a guest on StoneTalk.
Plans for 2016
I’ve never been a great planner, but I’m really excited about what we accomplished in the last year, and I’m looking forward to more in 2016!
As usual, the plan is “full steam ahead!“. We’ll continue to add more customers, make the experience better for our users, and keep making the software better, faster, and even more reliable.
Thanks again for the great year!