There and Back Again - A Retention Story
Recently, an advisor asked me a simple question: "What's Bendyworks' customer retention over the past 18 months?" Truth to tell, I really didn't know, so I decided to go look, expecting a mix. I was surprised to find that every single project was either a repeat engagement, or a significantly extended engagement beyond the original. This was true across the board, whether we were working with tech startups like Vineti and AkitaBox, or Fortune 500 companies like Disney and American Family Insurance.
What does this mean, and how did it happen? We knew we had solid and lasting relationships with many former clients, but this measurement was even higher than expected. This insight causes me to reflect and want to delve deeper into the reasons why. What's our 'secret sauce'?
We founded Bendyworks out of passion for building software "right" - through high levels of professionalism, mixed with an enthusiasm for agile development and deep expertise in the chosen tools of our craft.
Now, over eleven years in, a key part of our success is successful and happy customers. We've benefited from a great reputation, word of mouth recommendations, and even simple repeat engagements to such a degree that we're still naive on so many marketing fronts. This has happened because we specifically aim for customer success.
Despite sounding simple, and a bit like a platitude, customer success is complex. Clients returning again and again doesn't happen simply because of technical skills. Technical skills are the table stakes here. Above the technical, our overall goal is to make our clients successful at every level. In addition to the project we're asked to focus on, we strive to make the client company as a whole; our sponsor; and everyone we engage with at the customer company more successful through thoughtful attention, empathy and communication. We consider our client's success as important as our own.
We pursue customer success through an opinionated process that puts integrity and reputation over short term gain. We start by making sure projects are a fit. We turn away projects where the best tech choice for you isn't one of our strengths. Great software can be written with many different languages, frameworks and ecosystems. If you're already invested in one that's not one of our strengths, and don't have a special reason to want to switch, that's a good reason for you to find a team that does specialize in your ecosystem. We'll also advise customers when a different technical solution than we can provide is in their best interest. It's important to us that we engage projects that are in your best interest, not just ours.
We share knowledge and love leveling up your team. In many projects, this is one of your key business goals. In those situations, we celebrate the success of hearing that you can now scale back your engagement with us, and ultimately take us off the project entirely. You can always reach out again when the need arises. We'd rather have a shorter engagement that's more clearly valuable to your success than a longer, more questionable one.
Software's a team sport, and the best software is written when growing the team in parallel with the software. To this end, we try to freely and smoothly share our knowledge and insights with you and others. We grow more through a spirit of collaboration than we ever would by possessively guarding our knowledge and skills.
"Bendyworks has been a great partner for EverlyWell. From building our first MVP from scratch to helping us scale as traction grew, we couldn't have picked a better technology partner to help us make our vision a reality. They work well with technical and non-technical team members, and they were able to seamlessly integrate into our team as we hired full-time engineering roles in-house. In addition, they went above and beyond to ramp up on very short timelines when we needed them. We'd highly recommend them for any type of project, large or small. - Julia Cheek, CEO
Sometimes you need our expertise more directly to achieve your business goals. We're committed to longer term engagements; take seriously our obligation to you and your reliance on us. We look to be your dependable partner, making your business succeed through software.
We're also highly focused on communication.
We've learned from over two hundred projects that developing good software is more than just technology. It requires excellent communication.
We listen. We collaborate. We empathize. We're really good at understanding your pain points and what you're trying to accomplish.
After reflecting on all the ways we put your success first, seeing such a strong return and extended engagement measurement feels great and confirms that our priorities are in a good place.