Are you having trouble with QuickBase Commitment?

 

What does it mean to be a committed user?

Commitment (Com·mit·ment |noun| [kuh-mit-muh nt]) The act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself.

Commitment is a word that’s used daily here at QuickBase. Commitment to the success of our customers, to the quality of our product, to delivering value for Intuit shareholders, to continuous growth and improvement… the list goes on and on.

This post is about another dimension of commitment. “How committed are QuickBase customers?” is a question we ask ourselves every day. 

Here at QuickBase, we can say with confidence that we are ‘committed’ QuickBase users. QuickBase applications perform (this is an educated guess) 90% or more of our Mission Critical Functions. We use it every day, on every team, for critical aspects of our business. We use it to manage sales, support, marketing, product development, engineering, human resources, and a thousand other things… even lunch runs, and who owes whom for said lunch runs. The point is: We don’t want another solution. We’re so engaged, so pledged, so committed to using our QuickBase applications that switching to another solution would be unthinkable and probably impossible.

We know that not all of our customers are in the same boat. There are countless differences between our business and your business. What we have in common, however, is that we all decided at one point that QuickBase could probably solve one or more of our business processes better than “the spreadsheet shuffle” or another system.

Once that decision was made, the real work began. The moment you decided to give QuickBase a try you took the first step of a journey. That journey probably had more than a few barriers and roadblocks to be overcome. 

One of my top priorities this year is to gain a deep understanding of the barriers our customers face on their journey to commitment, and find ways to knock them down.

Why am I curious about your experience?

Why am I trying to learn more about the barriers our customers face on their journey to commitment? The simple truth is that I want our customers to succeed. I remember interviewing for the first Customer Advocate position here. I signed up for a trial account to research the product beforehand, and quickly realized that I didn’t know what to do with this thing. It took me about 6 months of heavy immersion in the product to get to a point where I could say that I understood how to build a decent application and actually solve some business problems with it… and that was only the beginning.  I empathize with all of our new application creators and I remember what it felt like to try to learn this product while still having to do my “day job.” 

Here on the Support team, we see many customers who struggle to learn the product and apply that knowledge to create and deploy great applications for their teams. We have some sense of the common barriers new customers face, but I don’t think we know enough to put together a strong plan to radically improve the experience. We need to know more, and that’s where you come in. 

What are we trying to learn?

We’re trying to learn more about the potholes, roadblocks, gotchas, and other problems you encountered as a new QuickBase customer on your journey to commitment. Was thinking about your business problem in terms of the data that drives it a problem? Was it a lack of understanding around a feature or piece of functionality that stumped you? Was it the fact that building an application was more time consuming than you’d imagined, and if so what took the most time? Was it the fact that your users didn’t adopt your application or use it like you assumed they would? Did you have a plan for how you’d roll the application out to your audience? These are the kinds of things we suspect are tripping our new customers up, but we’d love to hear it straight from you.

What are we doing to learn more?

One thing my team is already doing to learn more is reaching out to customers who have signed up in the past six months and offering help. We’re proactively calling accounts that have little or no usage and trying to get a better understanding about what may be standing in their way. While we’re at it, we’d like to help you over those hurdles and get you that much closer to a successful application that’ll really make a difference for your business. And then we want to help you do it again, and again, until you find that QuickBase can make a world of difference in many of the processes that your business relies on.

Call to action

So, how can you help us help you? You can help by telling us your story. If you’re one of the customers that receive a call from us out of the blue, offering help, take us up on the offer! Spend some time venting, telling your story, sharing your frustrations, and I promise you we’ll find a way to help you. If you’re still reading this post, leave a comment and tell me about your journey to ‘commitment.’ Don’t be shy – let it all hang out – and tell me what the most difficult step along the way was. Leave us feedback on our website. Above all, know that we’re trying very hard to make improvements to the product and the way we help customers, because we want you to succeed. 

Thanks for reading,

Dave McCormick | Group Manager, Customer Support

 

Dave McCormick

As a Sales Engineer at QuickBase I’m focused on helping customers get the most out of this incredible tool. I’m a “right brain” guy doing a “left brain” job for a “whole brain” company. It’s perfect! I’m married with two daughters and live in sunny New Hampshire where I was born and raised.

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  • http://www.brofort.com/ Rick Whitley

    When I first signed up for my trial 3 years ago, support was awesome. I had someone walk me through my problems, help me understand the ins and outs etc. Until I actually converted from a trial to a subscription….then that person disappear and I really struggled.

    However Quickbase is a great product and I perservered with lots of searching in the community forum and lots of help from people there. I grew our application to the point that everyone (50+) people use it absolutely every day and for most of what we do. I also found opportunities with our customers and a large group of people (100+) from Best Buy Canada use a Quickbase that I designed for them to follow up on New Store Opening and Project issues everyday.

    But I feel like I have done this with no support from Intuit. I recently upgraded to the enterprise edition and I really thought support would increase, the salesman did a good job of convincing me of that. Unfortunately the opposite is true. As a simple example the Quickbase manuals that you receive when you upgrade I still have not received months and many emails later.

    Currently your support cases do not work properly as there is no way to update. My experience on support cases is that the techs are more concerned with closing the case than fixing the problem.

    Through all of this my commitment to Quickbase has been solid, I still believe the value proposition is excellent. But I can guarantee you that had you supported me with follow up calls and help, you could have grown my account 5 fold. And this my friends would have taken you a much smaller investment than converting 5 new customers to my account size.

    Put your money with your current customes, not the ones you hope come your way.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.brofort.com Rick Whitley

    When I first signed up for my trial 3 years ago, support was awesome. I had someone walk me through my problems, help me understand the ins and outs etc. Until I actually converted from a trial to a subscription….then that person disappear and I really struggled.

    However Quickbase is a great product and I perservered with lots of searching in the community forum and lots of help from people there. I grew our application to the point that everyone (50+) people use it absolutely every day and for most of what we do. I also found opportunities with our customers and a large group of people (100+) from Best Buy Canada use a Quickbase that I designed for them to follow up on New Store Opening and Project issues everyday.

    But I feel like I have done this with no support from Intuit. I recently upgraded to the enterprise edition and I really thought support would increase, the salesman did a good job of convincing me of that. Unfortunately the opposite is true. As a simple example the Quickbase manuals that you receive when you upgrade I still have not received months and many emails later.

    Currently your support cases do not work properly as there is no way to update. My experience on support cases is that the techs are more concerned with closing the case than fixing the problem.

    Through all of this my commitment to Quickbase has been solid, I still believe the value proposition is excellent. But I can guarantee you that had you supported me with follow up calls and help, you could have grown my account 5 fold. And this my friends would have taken you a much smaller investment than converting 5 new customers to my account size.

    Put your money with your current customes, not the ones you hope come your way.

    [Reply]

  • Dave McCormick

    Rick, Thank you very much for your straightforward comments. I’m sorry to hear about the problems you’ve experienced and I’ve already started looking into them. I’ll reach out to you today with answers. Please feel free to keep the lines of communication open and know that you can call me anytime to talk about the support you receive from QuickBase. My office number is 781-370-4437. Dave

    [Reply]

  • Dave McCormick

    Rick, Thank you very much for your straightforward comments. I’m sorry to hear about the problems you’ve experienced and I’ve already started looking into them. I’ll reach out to you today with answers. Please feel free to keep the lines of communication open and know that you can call me anytime to talk about the support you receive from QuickBase. My office number is 781-370-4437. Dave

    [Reply]

  • http://webappsatwork.blogspot.com/ Jane McCarty

    I can define my experience with Quickbase support as pretty good. While trialing and testing the product these guys were there to assist me in my app roll-out. This is my coverage of how I eventually managed to try the program viability http://webappsatwork.blogspot.com/search/label/Quickbase .

    I can’t state, of course, that their support is so powerful along the whole way of app utilization for I don’t have such an experience as Rick does, but I happen to have a good service yet.

    [Reply]

  • http://webappsatwork.blogspot.com Jane McCarty

    I can define my experience with Quickbase support as pretty good. While trialing and testing the product these guys were there to assist me in my app roll-out. This is my coverage of how I eventually managed to try the program viability http://webappsatwork.blogspot.com/search/label/Quickbase .

    I can’t state, of course, that their support is so powerful along the whole way of app utilization for I don’t have such an experience as Rick does, but I happen to have a good service yet.

    [Reply]

  • Mike Chatelain

    QuickBase is an outstanding service that has improved the performance of my company. As a non-programmer, it was tough for me to learn, but after several months, it’s now easy to use. It’s a do-it-yourselfer’s dream!

    I think the biggest commitment problem stems from the QuickBase’s customers’ final users. QuickBase is functional, but ugly. The final end user does not get a cool experience that he or she can brag about.

    The administrator cannot hide certain buttons; cannot change colors or fonts; can only control part of the views and the dashboards are limited. Giving us the ability to hide everything that is not necessary would simplify the users’ experiences (buttons like “Email,” “New!” “UPDT” or the “New Question” and “Actions” menu in Grid Edit).

    The charts are also limited. For example, you can’t change the y-axis scale of line charts nor can you control all of the words on the charts. For example, “–Sum” gets added to the legend label causing us to have to explain to users that “–Sum” is a summary which means… (etc.).

    Most of my users (physicians and dentists) do not use their computers very often. If just one thing is confusing to them, they quit. Even when they understand how to use the forms or tables, they do not get excited.

    If I could present an executive dashboard like the one in this link, I believe I could add hundreds, if not thousands, of new committed users in the next few years: http://examples.idashboards.com/idashboards/?guestuser=wphea3

    I’ve concluded my only solution is to learn Flex to solve this problem. I signed up as a developer, bought a couple Flex books and try to get through a few pages each week. But it’s a very long road ahead with very little instruction material available from QuickBase (that I can understand anyway). More assistance from QB for the new Flex programmer would help, but I’d rather native QuickBase could meet my needs. I hope the next QB update will allow me to abandon my Flex solution,

    The weakest commitment comes from the lowest level user (our customers). The next weakest is the new application managers (QuickBase’s customers). The end user is the power of all businesses.

    We all want to create incredible, beautiful aps that amaze and hook people. We want to do it ourselves and let QuickBase do all the hard work. I think a flashier light at the end of the tunnel would be highly motivating.

    Perhaps it’s too much to ask, but if you help us make the aps easier, friendlier and more exciting for OUR users, I think you’ll see more commitment from everyone.

    [Reply]

  • Mike Chatelain

    QuickBase is an outstanding service that has improved the performance of my company. As a non-programmer, it was tough for me to learn, but after several months, it’s now easy to use. It’s a do-it-yourselfer’s dream!

    I think the biggest commitment problem stems from the QuickBase’s customers’ final users. QuickBase is functional, but ugly. The final end user does not get a cool experience that he or she can brag about.

    The administrator cannot hide certain buttons; cannot change colors or fonts; can only control part of the views and the dashboards are limited. Giving us the ability to hide everything that is not necessary would simplify the users’ experiences (buttons like “Email,” “New!” “UPDT” or the “New Question” and “Actions” menu in Grid Edit).

    The charts are also limited. For example, you can’t change the y-axis scale of line charts nor can you control all of the words on the charts. For example, “–Sum” gets added to the legend label causing us to have to explain to users that “–Sum” is a summary which means… (etc.).

    Most of my users (physicians and dentists) do not use their computers very often. If just one thing is confusing to them, they quit. Even when they understand how to use the forms or tables, they do not get excited.

    If I could present an executive dashboard like the one in this link, I believe I could add hundreds, if not thousands, of new committed users in the next few years: http://examples.idashboards.com/idashboards/?guestuser=wphea3

    I’ve concluded my only solution is to learn Flex to solve this problem. I signed up as a developer, bought a couple Flex books and try to get through a few pages each week. But it’s a very long road ahead with very little instruction material available from QuickBase (that I can understand anyway). More assistance from QB for the new Flex programmer would help, but I’d rather native QuickBase could meet my needs. I hope the next QB update will allow me to abandon my Flex solution,

    The weakest commitment comes from the lowest level user (our customers). The next weakest is the new application managers (QuickBase’s customers). The end user is the power of all businesses.

    We all want to create incredible, beautiful aps that amaze and hook people. We want to do it ourselves and let QuickBase do all the hard work. I think a flashier light at the end of the tunnel would be highly motivating.

    Perhaps it’s too much to ask, but if you help us make the aps easier, friendlier and more exciting for OUR users, I think you’ll see more commitment from everyone.

    [Reply]

  • ken

    I agree that QB is an outstanding platform, and also that allowing administrators to hide buttons/actions from the end user would greatly enhance the product.

    As stated above, many end users are not “computer people”, and when trying to “Customize this Report” many problems inevitably arise. Problems which could easily be avoided simply with the admin ability to turn off a feature.

    We will soon have to make the decision whether to continue as is, or look for (or have built) a friendlier app. With 5+ years invested in QB, we hope to be able to continue.

    We also miss the more frequent updates.

    [Reply]

  • ken

    I agree that QB is an outstanding platform, and also that allowing administrators to hide buttons/actions from the end user would greatly enhance the product.

    As stated above, many end users are not “computer people”, and when trying to “Customize this Report” many problems inevitably arise. Problems which could easily be avoided simply with the admin ability to turn off a feature.

    We will soon have to make the decision whether to continue as is, or look for (or have built) a friendlier app. With 5+ years invested in QB, we hope to be able to continue.

    We also miss the more frequent updates.

    [Reply]

  • al clawson

    Our office has been using QB for well over 5+ years but the number one issue – performance speed – still hasn’t been addressed. There have been a few half-hearted attempts to resolve the problem, but nothing significant.

    It usually takes up to 10-15 seconds (and sometimes as long as 20) for a report to load. Basic searches typically take 5 seconds to complete. When the entire office revolves around QB this time adds up – at one point I calculated that at least 15-20 man-hours in the office were spent each week doing nothing but waiting for QB to display or save the data.

    Also, the lack of transitive relationships is one of the most baffling, inexplicable flaws I have ever seen in a relational database. If table A is a parent of B, and B is a parent of C, then C should be able to look up data from A. QB is the ~only~ relational database system I have ever encountered that doesn’t allow this basic, obvious and glaringly critical feature. The only workaround is to copy pretty much the entire record from A into B using a large number of lookups, then a 2nd lookup so that C can see the mirror of A’s data in B. I requested this several years ago and the request was completely ignored.

    [Reply]

  • al clawson

    Our office has been using QB for well over 5+ years but the number one issue – performance speed – still hasn’t been addressed. There have been a few half-hearted attempts to resolve the problem, but nothing significant.

    It usually takes up to 10-15 seconds (and sometimes as long as 20) for a report to load. Basic searches typically take 5 seconds to complete. When the entire office revolves around QB this time adds up – at one point I calculated that at least 15-20 man-hours in the office were spent each week doing nothing but waiting for QB to display or save the data.

    Also, the lack of transitive relationships is one of the most baffling, inexplicable flaws I have ever seen in a relational database. If table A is a parent of B, and B is a parent of C, then C should be able to look up data from A. QB is the ~only~ relational database system I have ever encountered that doesn’t allow this basic, obvious and glaringly critical feature. The only workaround is to copy pretty much the entire record from A into B using a large number of lookups, then a 2nd lookup so that C can see the mirror of A’s data in B. I requested this several years ago and the request was completely ignored.

    [Reply]

  • Ton Jense

    I relatively new to Quickbase. I’ve used it for a year now.
    I like the concept of Quickbase. It’s reliable, flexible and inexpensive. But on the other hand: There are quite a few shortcomings and bugs in Quickbase. I’ve reported about these things to the supportdesk and always got a thank-you note and a promise it would be attented by the development team.
    So am I committed to Quickbase? Yes, but not unconditionally. I think Intuit could improve both Quickbase AND the communication on what has been (or better: will be) done with the input from committed users. I really miss a roadmap/releaseplan, so I can inform my users on what to expect from future releases. How can you expect your users to be (and stay) committed and not let them know when to expect what from you ?

    [Reply]

  • Ton Jense

    I relatively new to Quickbase. I’ve used it for a year now.
    I like the concept of Quickbase. It’s reliable, flexible and inexpensive. But on the other hand: There are quite a few shortcomings and bugs in Quickbase. I’ve reported about these things to the supportdesk and always got a thank-you note and a promise it would be attented by the development team.
    So am I committed to Quickbase? Yes, but not unconditionally. I think Intuit could improve both Quickbase AND the communication on what has been (or better: will be) done with the input from committed users. I really miss a roadmap/releaseplan, so I can inform my users on what to expect from future releases. How can you expect your users to be (and stay) committed and not let them know when to expect what from you ?

    [Reply]

  • Andrew P

    We’ve deployed over 20 applications with a total of around 1200 users at the organization I’m with. Most are fairly simple but there are a few very complicated ones. There are two big frustrations I regularly encounter with Quickbase.

    The first is that there’s no way to do an arbitrary join. Ie, we can only create relationships using the key field. It would be nice if we could at least create reports based on joining tables on their non-key fields even if we couldn’t create a formal relationship.

    The second big frustration is getting data into and out of Quickbase. It makes no sense that you can create an application directly from a spreadsheet but you can’t create a table in an existing application directly from a spreadsheet. Instead you have to create all the fields and then import.

    It would also be nice if there was a way to connect to a live external database. We have a lot of existing databases which are continually upadated(ie address information for example). To get updated data into QB, we have to export and import csv files. It would be much more useful if we could have a “linked table” concept as they do in MS Access. Even if all you could do is pull data for shared drop down fields from these linked tables, that would be better than nothing.

    I’m trying to create something with the Quickbase API but this is a custom solution that’s not well integrated with QB reporting.

    If these two things were solved, especially the second one, we could exponentially grow instead of arithmetically as we are.

    [Reply]

  • Andrew P

    We’ve deployed over 20 applications with a total of around 1200 users at the organization I’m with. Most are fairly simple but there are a few very complicated ones. There are two big frustrations I regularly encounter with Quickbase.

    The first is that there’s no way to do an arbitrary join. Ie, we can only create relationships using the key field. It would be nice if we could at least create reports based on joining tables on their non-key fields even if we couldn’t create a formal relationship.

    The second big frustration is getting data into and out of Quickbase. It makes no sense that you can create an application directly from a spreadsheet but you can’t create a table in an existing application directly from a spreadsheet. Instead you have to create all the fields and then import.

    It would also be nice if there was a way to connect to a live external database. We have a lot of existing databases which are continually upadated(ie address information for example). To get updated data into QB, we have to export and import csv files. It would be much more useful if we could have a “linked table” concept as they do in MS Access. Even if all you could do is pull data for shared drop down fields from these linked tables, that would be better than nothing.

    I’m trying to create something with the Quickbase API but this is a custom solution that’s not well integrated with QB reporting.

    If these two things were solved, especially the second one, we could exponentially grow instead of arithmetically as we are.

    [Reply]

  • Philip Gross

    Andrew,
    Have you considered looking at Report Link fields? I’m not sure that it gets you everything you want, but it allows you to create linkages between two tables not based on the primary key.

    For example, in Manage Your Sales Team (a CRM app in the App Library), I have a report link that looks for all other contacts with the same email domain. You can match based on exact match or substring, and it is great for building reports on those linkages that aren’t as hard and fast as relationships.

    [Reply]

  • Philip Gross

    Andrew,
    Have you considered looking at Report Link fields? I’m not sure that it gets you everything you want, but it allows you to create linkages between two tables not based on the primary key.

    For example, in Manage Your Sales Team (a CRM app in the App Library), I have a report link that looks for all other contacts with the same email domain. You can match based on exact match or substring, and it is great for building reports on those linkages that aren’t as hard and fast as relationships.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.tower-defense-game.com/ Tower Defense

    I think Intuit could improve both Quickbase and the communication on what has been done with the input from committed users.
    I really miss a roadmap or releaseplan, so I can inform my users on what to expect from future releases.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.tower-defense-game.com/ Tower Defense

    I think Intuit could improve both Quickbase and the communication on what has been done with the input from committed users.
    I really miss a roadmap or releaseplan, so I can inform my users on what to expect from future releases.

    [Reply]