Temporary Down: Lessons Learned Before #BIO2015 
Posted by Carlos on Jun 10, 2015

Grammar optional

 

OK, so the new One-on-One Partnering system has not had a stellar introduction.

We’re not here to complain about it, as this has been well covered on LinkedIn and elsewhere.

But our experience this past month has reminded us of three key lessons which are important in any industry.

Customers Rule

Let’s make this as clear as we can. 

Any product must have customer input and feedback during development, launch, marketing, and revision. 

Full stop. 

You can tell when a company does not include customer feedback when important features are removed, only to be returned after launch. 

We see this all the time in the software / IT world.

Apps frequently change or remove features which were loved by users.

Why do companies do this? 

Sometimes it is perfectly clear in their minds, and they are confident that users will adjust to the new product. 

And indeed, sometimes we do. We complain and lament lost features, but we continue to use the product or service due to habit, or a lack of a better alternative, or other switching cost. 

But, this does not make the overall experience for us as customers very positive in the long run. 

Under Pressure

SaaS, manufacturing plants, lawnmowers, operating systems…just about anything simply has to be tested under real-world, high volume conditions before launch. 

The idea of launching first, then fixing later has crept into our society because it is easy to make quick fixes to things like software. 

And it’s true that problems which do not surface under laboratory conditions will only surface during real-world conditions.

For example, the recent problems found with LightSail would never have been found if they did not actually launch and deploy it into space. 

But that is quite different, since it is difficult to mimic low orbit conditions in a lab.

Our suggestion to BIO would have been to pre-launch the new Partnering system to a select number of heavy users first, or in parallel to the old system, perhaps in exchange for a free pass to BIO2016.

Frustrating a few customers is far better than frustrating many.

They’ll Kill Us on Facebook

During a recent car purchase, our dealer made an interesting point.

To paraphrase,

We have to be perfect with customer service. One bad customer experience and they’ll kill us on Facebook.

How many of us have decided not to eat at a restaurant due to one bad review? Or shopped at another store or dealer due to one bad review? Or purchased another brand due to one bad review?

In his inelegance, our dealer said something very profound. 

He’s right. One bad experience (even if it’s not entirely accurate or even correct) can turn into a bad review which remains on the web essentially forever. 

And it’s not just Facebook. It’s not unthinkable that a bad experience with a CRO, for example, shows up on LinkedIn.

Is that CRO aware of this?

How do they respond publicly?

How much business is lost from one single bad review, even if it’s false or inaccurate?

Now I doubt anyone will decide not to attend BIO2016 simply due to the problems with the partnering system. 

In fact, we expect the partnering system for BIO2016 to be far better now that this real-world launch has taken place. 

But it’s not something anyone should take for granted, especially in other markets which are far more competitive. 

After all, there are many other, albeit smaller, conferences which could collectively serve a company’s purposes just fine… 

But no, I don’t anticipate attendance at future conventions will drop just because of this. 

See You in Philly

Regardless of all the problems, we’re still looking forward to a very busy four days in Philly. 

We still have a few meeting slots open. So look for us in One-on-One if you would like to meet.

Also check your email for our annual itinerary email.

You can also follow some of the action on Twitter via #BIO2015.

Safe travels, everyone.

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