End-users are not customers. There’s a great article by Adam Berrey in his Startup Blender blog describing the difference between the two. End-users get value from the information provided through Scorebeam but customers pay for it because they save money and/or make money. For Scorebeam this is a very important distinction. Every week thousands of people use Scorebeam. Fans across the country check lives scores and follow games that they are passionate about. These people are our end-users. We need to make them happy. It’s important for us to make their experience intuitive and inviting. When we talk about user experience or UX, these are the people we’re thinking about.
But our customers are different. They see a whole different side of Scorebeam that’s not evident to end-users. And they have a whole different set of needs. Our customers are media companies, leagues, schools and teams who want to provide a valuable service to their fans by using Scorebeam. As we’ve built Scorebeam we’ve invested a lot in the Admin tools that our customers use. To fit with the existing editorial workflow of these publishers, we needed to create an efficient way to set up games, assign reporters, and group games so they can be embedded in specific sections of the web site. The overriding goal is to leverage the distributed reporting features of Scorebeam while enabling our customers to maintain editorial control and cost-effectively drive a lot of traffic to their web sites. The more traffic Scorebeam creates, the happier our customers are. And happy customers most often lead to other happy customers.
Within Scorebeam’s Admin Console there are three primary modes. These include a listing of all games, the grouping of games by date, sport, region or league, and the default settings for the editorial staff.
Here are a couple of screenshots showing the Admin view of Scorebeam.
The first screenshot shows how the game time, teams, and reporting staff can be set on a game-by-game basis. You’ll notice that the reporters are identified by their Twitter IDs.
The second screenshot show how games can be grouped by date and region. These “groupings” include special embed codes that can be added to any web page. They also include the URL for the page that end-users connect to when they click on the Scorebeam updates/tweets. This is the key tool for driving traffic from Twitter back to our customers’ web sites.
You can also see that the scores for each of the games within the group scroll across the top. This presentation enables the Admin to click on a scoreboard at any time to change the period, score, or submit a comment. It’s a live view with all of the scores and updates flowing in from reporters.
The bottom line is that user experience matters a lot, but it’s the behind the scenes features designed for Scorebeam customers that creates unique business value.
Footnote on terminology: I’ve worked with a few people who tried to banish the word “users” from our vocabulary. It makes sense. Users is a cold, non welcoming term. The problem is there’s not a reasonable substitute. When I was with Delphi Internet, we called end-users “members” which worked well because most of the people using the service had to join. The other option for media services is to call users “readers”. Similarly customers can also be called “clients” — this is especially true for B2B companies. It’s worth thinking about what term works best for your company but don’t lose track of who’s paying the bills and who’s simply getting value from the experience your product or service creates.