The CoachAccountable Blog

What's new with the CA platform, tutorials on using it, and customer spotlights.

Archive for February, 2014

Metric Progress Now Visible via Email

This is one I’m excited about.

One of the serious wins of Metrics is that they makes progress evident: they turn a set of numbers into a tangible experience of how things are going, with a satisfying visualization of results relative to a target.

One of the other serious wins of Metrics is that they make it dead simple for your clients to track that progress at regular intervals, thus eliminating much of the tendency to forget as well as keeping goals regularly within their awareness between coaching sessions.

Those two major wins have been combined: now when your client replies to a Metric reminder email with their number for the day, they’ll get back an email response which shows them their freshly-updated progress in graph form, like so:

Visual feedback comes right back to your client when they report progress via email.

Visual feedback comes right back to your client when they report progress via email.

It’s an effect that I’ve already enjoyed while testing, and one which I think many clients will benefit from.

Why?  Because it’s satisfying to get that feedback right away, and that satisfaction motivates further effort towards next data point.

Billing Mega Remix

There was a time, late last April, when I received some feedback about CoachAccountable’s system for client invoicing.

It was critical but fair, and pointed to a lot of the shortcomings one is bound to find in a system that presents itself as purposefully lean and minimal.  It was a reminder of a fact that I well knew but resisted: CoachAccountable client invoicing was a far cry from the level of polish and quality found everywhere else in the system.

To explain why, we need just a little historical perspective.  Client invoicing was truly the bastard step-child of the system, left over from the 1.0 days and never really given the sort of love of a re-write which most of the rest of CA received when I created version 2.  Prior to launch it was never important enough to prioritize among so much else to work on, and I was perhaps too sentimental to axe it completely.  In the FAQ’s I gave a small apology on the matter: in response to the hypothetical question “What about invoices with broken-out line items? Or taxes? Or reports for my accountant?” I wrote the following:

Sorry, the billing setup of CoachAccountable is deliberately lean and mean, and indeed will probably fall short for more complex scenarios.  CoachAccountable is not meant to be a full on invoice and accounting solution, so if these tools fall sort there are other great online options that do it better than CA ever could.  I’m a fan of Freshbooks myself.

Content as I was to not reinvent the invoicing wheel, I still found this particular earnest criticism of the neglected feature really cut home:

I understand the desire for the lean mean look, it’s strange but when people are spending top dollar for coaching, I like my invoice to reflect some care… just a thought.

CA invoices didn’t reflect any care?  “Holy moly he’s right” I lamented to myself.  I resolved that I needed to remove billing if this is what it’s like.  Then I looked into how many coaches were actively using it: about 30% of my then modest collection of customers.

» Continue reading “Billing Mega Remix”

Formatting Messages

There’s a new goodie for CoachAccountable client and group messaging today: the ability to add HTML formatting.

Previously messaging was constrained to just plain text.  This is generally sufficient and right in line with how most email messages are composed.  Starting today however coaches can opt to add rich text formatting to messages sent through the system:

Just on click turns a plain text area into...

Just one click turns a plain text area into…

...a WYSIWYG editor, ripe for making a formatted message.

…a WYSIWYG area, ripe for making a formatted message.

All told, this new ability applies to messaging a single client, bulk messaging some or all clients, group messages, and group private messages.

It’s nothing revolutionary, but kinda nice.

Ode to Squeaky Wheels

I got a bit of feedback recently regarding the management of Groups, in particular managing a large number of them.  As of about a week ago Groups were listed in the order in which you created them, and one of my customers suggested it might be nice to have the most recently created on the top of the page, rather than at the bottom.

I thought about it for a minute and realized this was worth handling quickly.  To her I said:

Hmm…

Good call!  Perhaps I need to add the ability to sort groups so you’ve got total control.  Give me a minute! :)

John

Perhaps most important in this communication wast the postscript:

PS: I love that you guys, as power users, are so up on giving me feedback.  CoachAccountable is better for it!

Her reply:

Thanks! Glad you are cool with it :) Some time I feel like a pain…

A pain?  I quickly wrote back to set the record straight, for her and now here on the blog for everyone else:

Nope,

I totally love it: customers who might be conventionally categorized as a pain are my favorite, because y’all challenge and demand of me to make a system that JUST SINGS.  When I nail it for you guys, I nail it for a lot of other people who might not feel so free to be as vocal in demanding perfection.

The end result is a really sharp system that people are all the more apt to fall in love with, which, as you might imagine, is good for business! :)