Today Proxyclick is a profitable company. We are a B2B SaaS business which was built from the ground up. Our success is the result of our clients' trust and appreciation—the innovators and early adopters.
We want to pay tribute to those who believed in our product before the market did. Innovators are not afraid to try and test a new technology. They're open to change, something even if 'everything works fine today'.
Back in 2010, our first tagline was "Office Life, Simplified." We were bugged by the widespread use of old-fashioned technology in large corporations despite the cool applications available for consumers all over the world, aimed at evening that gap.
Our first step was a website to allow employees to order their lunch online at local restaurants!
While promoting the service in corporate lobbies, I realized that Excel and paper were still the most used Office Management 'technologies'. Most importantly, there was some serious progress to be done in the way visitors are welcomed:
'One moment, please'
'What's your name again?'
'Show me your ID'
'Have you been here before?'
'He is not answering his phone, let me try his assistant for you'
... and when I was finally handed out a badge, my name was often misspelled.
Things had to change
We needed to transform this boring process into a cool experience for all parties involved. Interactions between hosts, receptionists, security guards and visitors should be about the experience, with the process moving into mere background.
We developed the first version of our visitor screen in a browser, before the iPad was launched. Here is the tech story and the hard choices we had to make.
The first visitor who checked in was Thierry who checked in at Yara on 21 May 2010. Four months before, Steve Jobs had announced the iPad.
We actually deconstructed the complete visitor journey, from the invitation to a meeting to the trip back home. Next to the check-in itself, the two first 'moments' we improved were:
The invitation to the visitor
'Why can't the invitation look nice' we thought? Why does it just need to be a slot booked in a calendar?
The first version of the email showed the direction we wanted to take:
Today's invitation is much richer, you can test it on our features page. We are working on a 3rd version which we'd like to make even more valuable to the visitor.
The notification to the host that their visitor has arrived
We started with a plain text email which looked like that:
We upgraded this notification two years ago with the help of our design team (they wrote an article about this here). Our 3rd version coming soon will be even more interactive.
Innovators, early adopters and risk takers
We were early on the market.
To be honest, before an actual market and the required technology for cloud-based visitor management even existed. These were difficult times.
Believing that funding and success are two different things, we chose to raise money from our customers, bootstrapping Proxyclick by listening to market needs.
Finding the innovators in the office management world was our first accomplished task, first in our own country and then abroad.
Thank you Hilde, Patrick - we used to call you Saint Patrick in the office :-) - Florence, Hulda, Jeff, Marisa, Art, Steve, Geoff, Quentin.... and more recently Costas, Carl, Tom, Frank, Kacie.... for embracing change early on.
And to all the other potential innovators out there: startups need people like you to thrive. If you ever receive a call about a new technology... think twice before saying no. Your support can make all the difference.