Not everyone has an email address. No really, I’m serious. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that more than 4 billion people, mostly in developing countries, still don’t have access to the Internet.
Or if you do have an email address, there’s limitations about how companies can access that information. For anyone who’s used Speakap as their internal communications platform, you know that to activate your Speakap account, you typically needed an email address.
Today we’ve added a new Alternative Registration option for all those folks who want to get in on the internal communications action. Essentially, you can print out a physical invite that employees can then use to activate their Speakap accounts.
To give you some more flavor into this new feature and the impetus behind building it, I sat down for a chat with one of our product managers, Tom Kleijn.
Can you share a little bit more about the new feature and how it works?
Tom: The Alternative Registration (or Printable Invite) feature allows network administrators to invite employees to use Speakap without the use of an email address.
The invitation can then be printed out and handed to the employee. On this print-out, the employee can find a link to the correct web page, their username and a temporary password which can be used to activate their personal Speakap account.
To make it easy and efficient to use, we’ve created an option for administrators to manage these types of invitations and their details from both the network level, but also from the individual business unit and local department level. This allows administrators at all levels to quickly help their employees register their own Speakap accounts.
We wanted this to be as self-service and easy to use as possible. Any HR/internal communications administrator can set up and print out the physical invitation for those employees who need it (and search for those employees by name, rather than email address). The invite will include a URL, designated username (for that specific employee) and temporary password.
To make those employees who need to use this printable invite feel just as welcomed and loved by the organization, the Alternative Registration feature also lets the administrator include a personal message to the employee.
Last, but not least, the absence of an email address also meant that we had to rethink the password reset flow. Since we can no longer rely on an email address being available, we introduced the option to create a password reset letter. Once again, this can be printed out, handed to the employee and used to reset the password to their account.
What was the impetus behind developing this particular product feature?
Tom: In talking to companies in Belgium and France, for example, we kept hearing a recurring theme and challenge. Labor unions in Belgium, in particular, strictly limit employers from using the private email addresses of employees for work-related topics. They want to keep private and work separated for their employees. For that reason, many companies do not want to ask for private mail-addresses from their employees.
So only having an email registration option can cause employment/labor rights issues for such companies and limit their ability to implement the Speakap platform to drive more relevant, engaging communications for their non-desk employees. This is one of the main reasons our product team developed this new feature.
Finally, how does the product team decide what features to build into the product?
Tom: There are a few key factors that our product team takes into consideration. If you’re talking to our co-founder who works closely on the product, Patrick van der Mijl, he’s laser focused on the long-term vision of our product. How does the product help us scale as a business? Is it innovative enough to solve market and business problems? These are the types of questions he asks himself and the product team.
Another key factor is customer feedback because, well, our customers are our lifeline and our product is all about helping them reach, motivate and engage their frontline employees clearly and effectively. So we do a lot of listening. We ask questions, we ask for honest feedback and we listen some more.
Finally, we also need to think about things like stability of the platform, speed, data privacy and regulatory compliance. These areas cannot be ignored and tie back to the first two factors I mentioned – product vision and customer feedback.
Written by Ragini Bhalla
A veteran in B2B content and communications, Ragini lives and breathes for storytelling, traveling (up to over 50 countries and still so many more to explore) and trying out new foods.