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Weekly Byte: How An Insult Turned a Frown Upside Down
Once upon a blogging time, I wrote about the importance of developers actually meeting with their customers face to face. It’s important to see firsthand if what you've created is working out, what's wrong, and what can be better. You don't have to rely on third party accounts for feedback, which can often become a game of telephone. On a recent trip to Texas to work with a gastroenterology group, this was no exception. However, rather than a story of watching and learning about areas I could fine tune or fix, this is a story of satisfaction.

I was warned that the doctor I was about to train was likely going to be a handful. He was notoriously late with his charges because he just didn't care. Billing was a time-consuming pain in the butt and he'd seen enough software products/vendors that he was skeptical of everything. This was going to be a fun one. He was late of course, spending extra time with the patient before our training. The receptionist was really nice and let me in on his little secret of making vendors wait, but she reassured me that he would be fine.

When we finally got started after the initial pleasantries, Dr. A, as we’ll call him here, said something to the extent of "OK I'm going to tell you now that if this isn't faster than me jotting something down on paper, I'm not doing it." Pretty deflating start for sure. As we got into the training, I could see he was OK with everything, but not impressed. The software is easy to use, but his lack of excitement concerned me. He could just as easily go back to his old ways and ignore everything we were doing. We were about halfway through the training when we heard an alert sound coming from his phone. Looking for any reason to do anything except the training, Dr. A started searching for the source of the sound. 30 miles away at another site, my colleague Jen was in the middle of training one of his partners. Jen was covering our secure text messaging feature and they had just sent my doctor a message saying, "I bet I’m better at this than you!" Something clicked with my doctor - the game was on. They volleyed light-hearted insults back and forth through our secure messaging system and it was in this moment my doc realized that this wasn't just some stale program that "captured charges." The entire system was real-time; it was fast, and it was now! This was an amusing moment and was the turning point in our training. Dr. A was excited, and the training turned into a session of "Where else can pMD help us?"

Outside of the obvious big deal this was, a key takeaway for me was how a simple message sparked some ho-hum enthusiasm into a pMD advocate. This wouldn't have happened if the charge capture and secure messaging system we built wasn't rock solid!

It's important for developers to get out there. Meet your customers, get firsthand feedback on what to improve, and also get the rewarding firsthand Eureka! moments. I'm glad to be working for a company like pMD where my dev team constantly pumps out quality products, and where we travel to these places to enjoy these moments.
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