As an organization which relies heavily on technology to provide the highest quality transportation service to its customers, Go360 has the following priorities:
- The first and foremost is to always provide the best in class experience for all our customers.
- Provide customers with a great value
- Create an environment which attracts and nurtures the best of the best individuals and align their individual goals with the above organizational priorities.
To meet the goals above, we need to define a strong culture that sets up the DNA of the company and execute these core values in everything we do.
Customer First, It’s not about Competitors its about Customers.
Customer satisfaction is the most important matrix for our company to track through our sales, marketing, and support teams. These departments are the channels to solicit customer feedback and share it with product and engineering. In Go360, all our departments and even individuals have customer satisfaction as a key index. Even departments like engineering, HR, and accounting which are assumed to be not directly interacting with the customers have customer-centric goals and we evaluate how they are impacting our customers.
My experience managing different cross-functional teams tells me that if you want to maximize customer happiness, your focus should be to align the company goals towards your customer’s goal.
For example, if you set the matrix for two teams as follows
QA: Report the most number of bugs
Developer: Reduce the number of open bugs
Their goals do not align and are opposites. They might be able to achieve their individual targets but that doesn’t guarantee a positive impact on your customer experience. A more collaborative metric would be:
“Increase the customer satisfaction index by 20% and reduce the bug escape rate by 30%”(bugs bypassing internal QA and reaching to the customers). You are not only aligning the goals of QA and engineering but are also making sure that it will result in a quantifiable positive experience for your customers.
Excellence, Achieving perfection is a myth and that’s why we focus on excellence in everything we do, every time.
Getting to perfection can inhibit your ability to deploy a product to customers. It is an unobtainable goal and rather if we focus on iterative improvements and work diligently on being better, we can achieve a level of excellence that is close to perfection. Our value proposition is to provide the highest quality customer experience. So it’s very important that we set the gold standard on that means and we have to define it independently from the customer due to high variance in expectations. That is why our scale doesn’t have vague milestones like ‘Bad’, ‘Good’, ‘Best’ or ‘Great’ but it’s more quantifiable data points like increase X% in the tip given to our drivers, or Y% decrease in our average ETA, or Z% decrease in the commute time of the passengers.
Technology is a field that is ever-evolving and building teams that can excel in technology advancement is made possible with a well defined culture where individuals compete with themselves. We encourage our employees to push their boundaries and compete with yesterday’s version of themself everyday. I believe in investing in individual’s vertical growth and training rather scaling the team too aggressively or making top heavy hires.
Process Innovation, If a change is not repeatable, it doesn’t add value to the organization.
Respecting process is nothing but a systematic way of achieving positive results. When you strive to achieve a high-quality customer experience, consistency plays an equally important role as quality. And we believe anything which depends on non-repeatable results can and will lead to inconsistent customer experience. So whenever we do something new, a feature, any optimization, a marketing experiment, we first make it repeatable using automation and then try to improve upon it by repeating the exercise until we get the desired outcome.
The best example that I can think of is a football team. How close the players reach to other team’s goalpost doesn’t matter, what matters is how close the ball is. In this case, the ball is the organization. Your goal is to move the organization forward and for that, it’s very important whatever results you achieve must be reproducible by other teammates, otherwise, you will become the bottleneck. With repeatability, an organization can scale effectively. In the context of customer experience, consistent high quality customer experience is what enables Go360 to scale and grow the customer base. We want to minimize churn and maximize customer satisfaction. So I set the rule of thumb as “first make it reproducible either through automation, documentation, etc and then try to work on improving the quality of the result.”
Move Fast, Sometimes you gotta RUN before you walk — Tony Stark
We are a small team of highly talented individuals from Marketing, Engineering, Product, and Operations. And ‘small’ is the leverage we have over our competitors for the following reasons.
a. It makes us fast and swift.
b. It enables us to operate in the most efficient way. If you know Price’s Law you will agree small = efficient.
Time is the most precious asset we have and we use it wisely. So anything that allows us to accelerate we add it to our stack. Sure when you move fast, you break a thing or two and that’s perfectly ok if you have automation and testing. This decouples the engineer’s ability to build functionality from the stability of the stack. It removes the fear from committing code because the infrastructure provides the prerequisite feedback to maintain the consistent customer experience. “If you’re not breaking things you’re not moving fast enough.” is good but “You are moving fast and can’t break things” is better.
My experience working with nimble startups and big MNCs taught me that speed and flexibility are the ultimate edges a startup has over it’s larger competitors and one should make the most out of it. There are a number of nobs you can turn to increase the speed, the ones I choose are as follows.
1. Communication: Use chat over email, set and share the meeting agenda with the attendees in advance. Time limit your meetings to 15 min. If a meeting is not relevant, skip it.
2. Hire Slow, Fire Fast: Hire the best quality talent and then invest in their vertical growth rather than horizontally scaling your team too quickly. Part ways with disruptive non productive employees. The best people leave when the quality of the team goes down.
3. Do one thing at a time: Instead of doing N things in parallel, one should do one thing end to end completely before switching to the next task.
Have Fun, Why so serious — Joker
And last but certainly not least, you should enjoy doing all of the above. The values we mentioned above, we practice every day in every single thing we do and trust me it’s not easy. So as an employee it’s very important.
a. One should understand and respect these.
b. One shouldn’t exhaust themself doing these.
If either one is not met, our employee won’t be able to sustain their journey. So I only hire people with a very high caliber emotional intelligence; people who understand and align with our values. I believe exhausting an individual to get the results is not scalable. We rather spend more cycles hiring correctly and identify people who are comfortable with speeding up and slowing down and working out of their comfort zone. Let me share some examples of how we practice our core values in our business life.
- We keep one chair dedicated to our Customer Persona in all our meetings. We call it `C Chair`. If the person sitting on that chair is not getting value from the proposal, that’s not gonna make it to the next level. #CustomerFirst
- Any feature request needs to explain how it’s going to enhance the customer experience with data points. #CustomerFirst
- We have a CI/CD infrastructure set up even before we wrote a single line of code. #ProcessInnovation, #MoveFast
- We have the coding guidelines embedded in our IDE and CI/CD. We treat even style warnings as a blocker to move forward. #Excellence, #Consistency
- We have automated tests running on each commit to reject the build on any breaking changes. #Quality, #ProcessInnovation
- We design our complete infrastructure as code in the form of a terraform script. #ProcessInnovation
- We all work on a single development branch. No feature or developer specific branches. #MoveFast
- We party 3 times a month. No exceptions. #HaveFun
At Go360 we believe any difference in the business strategy, product, innovation or messaging ultimately boils down to the cultural values of the Company. So if you want to do all these right you need to define a very strong culture and the rest of the things will automatically fall in place.
Parag Radke — Director of Engineering