Do you ever get the feeling that most technology is created for problems that don’t exist? “That shiny new toy is awesome,” you say, “but what I really need help is with is … ”

On the other hand, sometimes it takes a shiny new toy to uncover a need no one knew they had. Case in point: the iPod. Apple changed the way people listen to music, which made them realize their music experiences could be vastly improved.

So which is best? Solving for the problems customers tell you they have? Or solving for problems the customer doesn’t know they have?

How about both?

135 Years of Small Business Solutions

Identifying the challenges small business owners face is something Thryv has been doing for more than a century. Our history of creating solutions for small businesses goes back to our origins as the Yellow Pages.

Throughout that time, our goal has stayed consistent — helping small businesses compete and win.

Likewise, over that time, we’ve heard from hundreds of thousands of small businesses about their challenges.

And in recent years, customers have struggled to manage the many applications required to run a healthy, modern business. They had to research multiple vendors for multiple technology needs to arrive at multiple solutions.

And none of those tools worked with the others to provide a clear line of sight across their business’s customer experience. It was complicated, costly and it wasted time.

Because we’ve helped small businesses with print advertising and marketing since 1886, it was only natural to help with digital advertising and marketing moving forward. We considered ourselves best suited to create a do-it-all system for small business solutions.

Belt and Suspenders

These days, decisions about how Thryv evolves take a best-of-both approach.

Thryv’s business management software has an in-app feedback feature where clients can send ideas directly to our product team as they come to mind.

Additionally, our High-Thryvers Facebook group was created as a community of Thryv users who help each other get the most out of Thryv. Primarily a support system for small business owners, the group provides a wealth of knowledge about how the Thryv system works — or doesn’t work — for our clients.

We also host conferences to bring Thryv small business users together to network and share Thryv best practices and ideas.

Our users submit ideas through these various avenues, which are sent to the Thryv user base to vote on for development.

In 2021, we introduced eight of the top 10 ideas submitted. Our top 10 list is constantly updated as new features roll out, so we’re always implementing or improving features that have been submitted by our user base.

Before we choose which improvement to develop, we dissect them from our clients’ perspective. Not every idea can be accelerated to the next level, so we narrow our selection by asking: Will all Thryv clients get something out of the idea? Does it add to the value Thryv provides?

After that, we build out use cases for each feature and continue asking questions. Will dog groomers find this improvement helpful? How about roofers? Accountants?

If all signs point to yes, or if we feel a good portion of the industries we support can use it, then we proceed.

Don’t Keep ’Em Waiting

Many software companies hold to release schedules — a specific timeframe when they push out new improvements. We don’t.

As soon as a new development completes its testing process — which can include customer-tested pilot programs in what is called “beta” testing or an “early adopters program” — Thryv turns it on for everyone. We want our users to get the benefits of new features as soon as possible.

We also account for busy times like Mondays or the holiday season so as to not interrupt our users’ work patterns. And of course, the access to new features isn’t restrictive based on subscription level.

Improve, Improve and Improve Some More

A good example of this process is the recent Centralized Inbox improvements. Our clients were struggling to keep up with customer communication across various platforms. Having to log into several tools and keep every conversation straight was a nightmare.

Centralized InboxNo one said we should create an inbox to accommodate multiple communication streams, but our clients were telling us about common problems that led us to create a solution. And voilà. Centralized Inbox was created.

Thryv users now have one place to go that collects and stores every message from customers — no matter how the message was sent.

From the Centralized Inbox, users can see real-time messages, where they came from and a neatly organized conversation history.

Another example of a client-led improvement is how we helped our clients keep information on multiple jobs performed for one person or entity. If they do multiple pieces of work for one customer, they can bundle the details of each job under one customer name.

For instance, an auto body shop can gather details for multiple jobs involving several cars belonging to one owner.

How Thryv Evolves — Not Just One Way

The other way we make improvements is by identifying advances in technology. These ideas take shape when we ask how Thryv can evolve to help our clients get ahead of other problems they haven’t asked us to solve.

Take, for example, ThryvPay. As a payment gateway, Thryv had been helping our clients get paid for years. But we’d also noticed the pain our small business customers experienced when trying to process payments.

At the same time, we’d been watching the growth of the payment processing technology landscape. We discovered payment processing technology was either inefficiently priced or not specifically designed for service providers.

So we thought, “What if we could make this easier — and cheaper — for our clients?”

We asked clients what they liked and disliked about how they got paid. What stood in their way? Where were the hurdles and potholes?

That’s how ThryvPay was born. We started with a problem we’d noticed and technology we knew existed, and then used client input to design a solution. And even better, it offers them significant savings.

A Promise to Make Things Easier

Both of these improvement methods rely heavily on the knowledge our clients share with us. They share the struggles that come with doing business, and we commit our resources to help solve their issues.

That’s the promise Thryv makes to its clients — we will always be focused on making your day-to-day business operations easier. Using your feedback and technological innovation, we’re ready to go where your customers take you.