July 21, 2009

Let Your Customers Talk Back

Chris Savage

Founder, CEO

Last week, we sent out a customer survey asking a number of questions about what our customers like about Wistia, whether they would recommend it to colleagues, and what they want us to improve. We used survey.io, a collaboration of Kissmetrics and Sean Ellis, which is designed to aid the customer development process. We highly recommend giving it a try if you’re doing customer development. We received lots of useful feedback, but what we were really looking forward to was the responses to the "what can we improve" category.

As it turns out, a number of our customers wanted improvements in the same area: video still frames (a video still frame is the image which displays before a viewer hits the play button). We were pretty surprised. We’ve worked hard to provide a simple and elegant way to set a video’s still frame.Wistia let’s you select a still from any point in time in the video or upload your own image. We had spent time on this problem and we thought we had it all figured out.

But after some digging, we realized that it wasn’t the picking of the still frame that was the problem, it was the way the frames appeared on embedded videos that was causing issues. If you changed the size of the embedded video (i.e. made it smaller on your site than it is in Wistia), the still frame would appear jagged and pixelated, while the video itself would remain nice and crisp.

quick side note, the quality of a still frame is not a minor detail. It has significant ramifications. The still frame is a major piece of the equation a viewer uses to decide whether they are going to play a video. A good still frame can dramatically improve the percentage of people that actually press the play. And of course, if you can improve the number of people who click play, you’ll better educate your audience and hopefully spur more people into action.

We had no idea how much pain this was causing our users. As a result, we worked up a solution and re-prioritized the week’s work. We are proud to report that today we have pushed out a new version of the video player that displays the video still frames with higher quality. Here is a before and after shot illustrating the improvement.

To see the difference on your own videos, flush your browser cache, delete your offline website data, and then reload a page containing one of your embedded Wistia videos. Voilà!

Giving your customers an easy way to talk back and provide feedback is really important, and that goes doubly so if you’re a software company with a self-service billing model. That sounds obvious, but it’s easy to find excuses to avoid talking to customers and it’s easy to fall into a trap where you think you know best. The customer is always right.

So thanks to all of you who took our survey. We know you’re busy and it really means a lot to us.

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