Most of the time when companies launch their products with “beta “ attached to the logo they’ll say that it’s because the product is lacking features that they haven’t had time to build yet – but that the basic service is there for customers to use. It’s an opportunity for the company and its initial group of customers to “suck it and see” – and if there are a few unpleasant flavours, or it doesn’t taste good enough then there’s an opportunity to change the recipe.
If you take a step back and think about it, its quiet a brave thing for a company to do – its saying to customers “We haven’t finished what we’re doing yet, and it may not be perfect but we’d like you try it anyway”.
For giffgaff there were certainly some things we knew we wouldn’t have time to build – data charging and the website version of our Payback scheme for example – but there was a much more fundamental reason why we needed to launch in beta. In fact, many of the people reading this blog are the reason – our members who have been helping us improve the service over the last six months.
The thing that makes giffgaff different is that at the heart of our business is the principle of working with our members to make the company and products better – so how could we launch a product that was supposedly “finished” – our core principle demanded something different.
And the brilliant thing is that our members responded with great enthusiasm and brilliant ideas that the giffgaff you see today is very different from the beta version we launched in November last year – here’s a list of just a few of the things that our members thought up, changed for the better or helped us develop...
Goodybags – our minutes, texts and mobile internet bundles.
Cash top-up vouchers.
The pricing for our mobile internet charges (launching next month).
Roaming charges in Switzerland and other European Free Trade Association countries.
So when we were thinking about the strapline in our launch advertising and it was suggested that it should be “The mobile network, run by you” we thought yes, we can say that because we have a whole bag of examples to prove it.
And just because we’ve now launched “properly” it doesn’t mean we’ll stop listening – our ideas forum receives between 50 and 70 ideas a month from our members. Every month the management team sit down and review every one and typically we’re able to implement more than 25% of the suggestions.
So on this important day it’s the members who have helped us create giffgaff as it stands today to whom I offer my biggest big thank you – we literally couldn’t have done it without you.