Growing by fostering the right culture

Today is a special day at Acquia: customer service day. We grew so quickly that our support team often find themselves working until after midnight to meet customer demands. Everybody in the company, from sales to engineering, including myself, will be helping in support today. Talking to customers, helping them where we can to make sure they are successful with Drupal.

With products like Acquia Hosting, Acquia Search and Drupal Gardens, Acquia is very much a technology start-up. And yet, when we launched the company, the first thing we focused on was building our support organization and releasing a support product, rather than building technology products like Acquia Hosting, Acquia Search or Drupal Gardens. There are a number of reasons for that, but one of them is that we wanted support to be a core part of Acquia's DNA. Support is crucial for everything we do; from supporting Drupal sites that are hosted outside of Acquia, to supporting customers that are hosted on Drupal Gardens or Acquia Hosting. And it is working. Our support business is our main source of revenue, and it has taken off better than expected.

Tom and myself very much want to grow Acquia through a customer-focused culture. It is a lesson that I've learned through Drupal, and a lesson that Tom brings from previous experience. There is a lot of power in fostering the right culture. It manifest itself in the Drupal community. The culture of Drupal is at the heart of why Drupal is winning. It is why so many of us can be fanatical about making Drupal better, and it leads to a lot of word of mouth marketing and recommendations. If you are serious about building something big and changing the game, you better get the culture of the team right. Culture enables passion, and passion can even make the impossible, possible.

So today we have an all-company customer service day at Acquia because we grew so quickly, but also because we want our whole team to be absolutely committed to making our customers successful with Drupal. And in doing so, we build the right culture -- a culture that is built on supporting the customer.

Comments

joshmiller (not verified):

Part of customer service is making sure you "connect" with your client base. Thank you, Dries, for calling me up this morning as a part of this special day at Acquia. I genuinely feel VERY appreciated.

My clients are about to get a fresh dose of "We have a great long-term support service."

Josh

November 13, 2009
David Clark (not verified):

Dries,

I did support for many years in the 90s for a web service called Bobby - the first tool to assess web content for accessibility
I really enjoy support - it's solving puzzles -- something I do every day.
I know that I have inquired about opportunities at Acquia before, but I really believe I just have to get in front of the right person.

November 13, 2009
Tom Geller (not verified):

I would suggest that Acquia is a service organization *first*, before being a "technology start-up". I suspect that people turn to Acquia because they want handholding, not technological brilliance or innovation. (Of course, that assumes at least technical *competence*.)

Ramblingly,

--Tom

November 13, 2009
LenZ (not verified):

I think this is a very good idea. When I joined SuSE Linux in 1998, every new developer had to go through doing customer support via phone and email for at least 3 months. This gives you very direct feedback about what kind of problems your users have and how even simple or trivial "fixes" on your end may affect a large number people :)

I've been picking up this thought in my recent blog post as well. I think it's essential for an Open Source company that doing "community work" is everybody's job (and not just the task of a few selected people). Paying customers are an essential and influential part of your community, too!

November 14, 2009

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