Your best customers can also be your best marketers, best customer support resources, and best sources of input to your product roadmap—if you give them the right environment for engagement.
That was the driving idea behind WorkOutLoud, a secure customer collaboration tool that combines social media with customer support. It’s a customer engagement platform that enables the users of complex products to ask each other questions, share ideas, and form special-interest groups in a safe environment. It also includes features like event management, surveys, polls, and file sharing.
The company was founded by B2B software veterans Loring Kaveney and Eric Lopez to help the developers of complex product turn their customers into their “most competitive advantage and best feature,” by strengthening relationships and fostering innovation.
Here are Loring’s insights about inspiration, marketing, and entrepreneurial lessons learned.
WorkOutLoud hosts online communities connecting enterprise companies and their customers. WorkOutLoud enables community-wide collaboration around important topics, products, shared best practices that result in improved customer experience and low churn.
WorkOutLoud is a complete suite of online tools to help manage online communities in a few minutes by tailoring functions to be turned on or off based on requirements such as forums, surveys, online registration, instant messaging, email notifications and reports to support community activities.
Instead of relying on multiple resources, contracts, managing multiple online tools WorkOutLoud has one platform that offers what the community owner needs.
Year founded: 2015
Funding rounds: Bootstrapped
Current size: six employees, 40 customers
Other highlights, per Loring: Eric Lopez, CEO, my business partner met a colleague for lunch to catch-up and he was sharing with Eric the concept of “WorkOutLoud” instead of working alone, work with other to help come to conclusion faster by bringing multiple minds together. That night he went home and invested in the domain that would support our software vision of a secure community platform that would support WorkOutLoud. The rest is history.
We began our WorkOutLoud journey at COCO (now Fueled Collective), in the Minneapolis Grain Exchange Building—a magical co-working space where we met many people who inspired us to think differently when starting a software company. A few milestones:
- gBETA Cohort 2018
- MESA Alumni 2018 (Minnesota Emerging Software Advisory)
- Central CERT Certification Program, S/WBE Woman Business Enterprise
- Startup Grind Minneapolis Chapter Director 2015 -2018, 14 successful events focusing on Minneapolis. Tech Successful Entrepreneurs (check out past videos)
WorkOutLoud is featured in:
Webbiquity: What inspired you and Eric to work on a solution to this particular problem?
Loring Kaveney: We love connecting our customers to solve daily challenges by allow them to connect with each other by solving and simplifying collaboration in a secure online platform. We love exceeding our customer’s expectation with our technologies that continue to evolve to support best business practice in the enterprise space.
To make is simple…We love making our customers happy!
Webbiquity: What were the most effective channels or methods for you to get the word out to prospective customers when you first launched your product?
Loring Kaveney: Social media; digital marketing working with Augurian; and news media/press interviews, PR working with Schwegman Communications.
Webbiquity: Finish this sentence: “Knowing what I know now, if I were starting over today, what I would do differently is…”
Loring Kaveney: Ignore the negative noise that creates confusion on the direction the company needs to go to accomplish our goals.
Webbiquity: What’s the most important advice you could offer to an entrepreneur starting out today?
Loring Kaveney: Surround yourself with people who lift you up, not knock you down. Engage with people you trust, who are direct, and who will support you through thick and thin times because the journey as an entrepreneur has high highs and lower lows. Never give up, and take everything day by day as it may pay off in the long run.
Network, listen, smile, be mindful, and ask questions.
Find a partner who complements the traits that you may not have to help create a well-rounded team to help execute the vision and product offered to future consumers or customers.