How many companies can you think of where, within the course of one day, the Founder & CEO welcomes over 80 attendees to their first-ever users conference, goes and takes a seat in the back of a conference room to support his employees while they lead a session on email templates, somehow finds the time to personally talk with everyone at some point, then invites all the attendees outside at the end of the day for a fly-fishing lesson?
Not that many, I’m guessing.
But that’s what makes Foundant different, and what made their first users conference, held in beautiful Big Sky, Montana, such a success. For all the emphasis that different companies place on “customer service” these days, Foundant sets an example that I imagine few companies could actually live up to. From the information sent out beforehand, to the registration, communal meals, classes, and after-hours socializing, the employees at Foundant really proved that they “walk the walk” when it comes to getting to know and listening to their clients. While my organization is a relatively new company, there’s nothing in my interactions with them so far that makes me think they are planning on changing that aspect of the company anytime soon.
Over the course of 2 days, I and the rest of the clients in attendance were given a combination of in-depth instruction and explanations in how GLM works, how to take advantage of all its features, cool tricks and tips for using the software, plus the chance to actually meet and converse with the Development team (a.k.a. – the guys that actually write the programs that make the software behave). Chris Dahl and his development team not only conducted sessions on up-and-coming features of GLM, but also asked for feedback on previous updates and new ideas for future updates from all assembled – and every idea was given ample consideration and thought.
The best part of the Summit? While getting to talk to the Development team comes pretty close, the best aspect was getting to meet and interact with a very diverse group of clients from all over the nation. Although there are many things that a Health-Services family foundation based in Iowa does differently than an Arts Council in Texas, the fact that we are all using GLM to make our lives easier led to some pretty enlightening ideas all around on how best to do so. I was able to go back to Fort Worth with a number of new tricks for using the software, plus some great time- and labor-saving ideas on grant follow-ups and reporting methods. Most importantly, I left having met some great people, both clients of Foundant and the employees themselves, and I can’t wait to see them all again next year.
Although I probably won’t need bear spray on the East coast…