(Every week, Rocksauce Studios CEO Q Manning will answer your questions about app design, app development and the mobile industry.)
Can you describe a healthy customer relationship? An unhealthy one?
A healthy customer relationship at Rocksauce Studios is one where we’re both mutually beneficial, both respectful of each other’s ideas and one where we are deferred to as the expert in what we’re good at, which is app design and mobile development. The customer is looked at as the owner and master in regards to their own industry (which the app is built to work with and for, of course). A good client will give us the feedback we need right away and let us know any specific details that we need to know about the project. For example, if we were designing an app for pilots, they’d supply us with information about FAA regulations, where to find certain documentation and what rules there are and what rules there aren’t.
Conversely, a bad customer relationship is one where they don’t provide anything for us, where they don’t respect the way we work, where they don’t respect what we bring to the table and where they’re very poor with providing us with the required context to understand their industry. When we’re working on an app, the customer needs to focus as much attention as possible on it. It’s their industry. It’s their baby. They need to love it as much as they want us to love it. They need to act as a partner and a resource if they want us to deliver their ideal product.
How does your sales team seek out customers without becoming the stereotypical obnoxious salesperson?
Most of our customers come to us, actually. We don’t do a whole lot of outbound stuff. We have some relationships in the community that bring us leads, so we usually capitalize on that. When a client comes to Rocksauce, they’re usually ready to work with us, rather than us going to them and trying to convince them to make an app. They have a good idea, they know what the app stores are capable of, what smartphones are capable of and they’re just looking for us to fill in the gaps and make the best app that we can.
Is app design and development an actual industry yet or is it still very much the wild west?
The entire app game has become a lot more defined. There are a lot of companies out there offering various levels of design and development. Rocksauce is pretty distinct in that we’re a company that focuses on the market and how to make the best app possible instead of just doing exactly what we’re told and getting paid for a weak product. The app sector is one of the few industries actually growing right now and is acting as a major employer for tech people. It’s replaced web in a big way! That said, there are still a whole bunch of question marks up in the air. Platforms and technology are constantly changing and because of that, you see people fall by the wayside because they can’t keep up to date. To be an app company, you’ve got to be ready to go with the flow and roll with the punches. If Apple decides to change up everything, you’ve got to be ready to do that as well.