Hi everyone, Paul here from OwnerRez! From time to time, I feel like there is something in the air that I need to sit down and discuss with you directly. 🧘♂️
Lately, there's been a lot of buzz in the air about OwnerRez's size, specifically about our ability to keep up. You're not wrong - we are growing hand over fist and have been for a long time.
Over the past year, that growth has not let up; in fact, it's increased! This is the part where I usually like to go down a rabbit trail explaining why we've grown so much, pointing out our trophies and medals, but I'll resist that urge and focus on what we're doing to address the growth.
Expanding The Team
First, as our Careers page shows, we are continuing to hire across multiple areas of the company. Our Customer Success position has never come down - we read resumes, ask questions, and conduct interviews on a constant basis. That has been a constant state of affairs for almost a year.
However, we are slow and deliberate with who we hire because we want our People-First culture to be preserved as we grow. The longevity and happiness of our team matters as much as the happiness of our customers.
Baja Fresh (are those still around?) used to have a sign on the wall that said: "good food cannot be made at microwave speed". Some of our competitors have built their teams at microwave speed, and the results are clear. We are working to expand the team quickly, but not at the expense of what matters to us.
We also examine and reorganize our team, based on company needs and team members' strengths, every so often. You'll note that we're also looking for a back-office administrator, and that's because our current guy (Michael, who is awesome!) is moving into data analysis to help our engineering, sales, and marketing teams with their data needs. Michael is knowledgeable on many fronts, so we're going to let him focus on more advanced areas and hire someone else to do the back-office stuff. This kind of role change has happened several times over the past couple of years.
...But Staying Financially Responsible
Last year when our pricing increased, I shared how being Financially Responsible is a core part of our company values.
Not a week goes by when I am not hounded by outside investors wanting in, promising big pots of gold and guidance on how to travel the yellow brick road. Chris and I do not want that kind of future and have taken steps to avoid it.
One of those steps is to make sure we hire for pain points, not as a projection of future growth. Investor-led companies hire to meet the needs of where they want the company to be, at some point in the future, which means they "hire ahead". They build up teams and then give those teams missions, and hopefully, it all pays off. The strategy is growth at all costs. Bigger teams, more leads, more sign-ups, project a giant image, then cash out based on that image.
While we certainly spend time looking ahead, we make sure to hire only where pain points are beginning to emerge, and only after we (the OwnerRez leadership) have been directly part of managing that pain ourselves. That's why Chris and I continue to answer tickets on a regular basis, post in the forums, design new features, and meet with our onboarding team about pain points. This creates a much higher rate of success with new hires, while also being careful to consider the current and future needs of our existing team.
Investing In Support
Expanding the team is not the only way to strengthen our support. We've recently focused a lot of engineering time on creating better internal support tools so that we can track, measure, and become more efficient at the support process itself.
We recently built an internal interface that shows ProConnect status to our new users what their status is, in detail, while allowing them to submit files and comment on the work being done. Instead of sending giant emails back and forth, we've built a process specific to the needs of ProConnect. We are about ready to release several updates that will increase this functionality once again, including showing our "queued" ProConnect users where they are in the pipeline to get them ready.
We are expanding our phone support as well by engaging in a wider degree of phone calls and measuring the time required and the needs of the team members who do those calls. This was just started a few weeks ago and we're already seeing interesting results. Again, our engineering team has spent time helping us track those calls, in and out, and see where the needs are strongest.
We are also working on dozens of other internal tasks to streamline support and create happiness, both for our team and customers alike.
Investing in Infrastructure
As our systems (the actual app and databases and supporting technology) expand to deal with the growth, we've had to take a step back and make sure those systems are designed correctly for the future.
Over the past year, our monitoring tools have turned into fire hoses, blasting us with information. We've had to re-design some of those monitoring processes to help us increase transparency while not being distracted by all the noise. This has taken extra time, but we are committed to making it work correctly so that our engineers are not overburdened but have exactly what they need to make good decisions.
While doing that, we've noticed places where we can extend additional transparency to users (you!) so that you can make use of some of the same tools we use. Again, this has taken extra time, but we are committed to getting it right.
Adding Video and Webinars
We now have more than 50 support videos in our Video Center and are continuing to add more each month. At the beginning of 2022, we freed up some team resources so that we could double our efforts on making videos throughout the coming year. As I write this, there are more than a dozen new videos that have been scheduled to be worked on.
Our Weekly Demo webinar has been a big success. We started that last year and went from a dozen attendees to now around 30-40 attendees every week. Some weeks, we have more than 50. For our existing veteran users, we have added a Live Q&A webinar that will be one or two times per month. You can use the Live Q&A to ask any question about OwnerRez you want. As always, check out our webinars page to stay up to date.
Evolution = Success
In all of this, there is a consistent theme - the willingness to evolve so that our values remain strong.
Our People-First philosophy itself has not changed, but everything we do (hiring, tooling, webinar'ing) is constantly evolving to meet the needs of that philosophy. We believe that evolution is a key ingredient to success, and so we are committed to changing even if that change makes us temporarily uncomfortable.
Could you do me a favor? If you feel like OwnerRez is not the company it once was, check in with us and get a fresh look. Reach out and talk to us. Attend a webinar, and ask questions. Meet us in person at an upcoming conference. We know that rumors will swirl from time to time, but internally, we are as committed as ever to building the same quality product with the same quality support as we always have been.