Productivity Software for Optimized Workflow

The Origin Story of Enterprise Technology Startup Tango

Tango founders.

Onboarding new hires and teaching existing employees new procedures is never easy, but the COVID-19 pandemic made it much harder as everyone was forced to work remotely. While it’s certainly possible to compile and distribute lists of procedures to follow for specific tasks, these are time-consuming to create and can be misplaced or become outdated.

Tango, a free new extension for the Chrome web browser, can help by creating written, step-by-step procedural guides for the office, complete with screenshots. The guides can be used by operations, customer support, or any other team. Plus, they can easily be shared and updated as needed, and they last longer than video-based instructions. Tango’s overall mission is to provide employees and managers with “better access in terms of understanding how their teams work,” says CEO and co-founder Ken Babcock. Here’s how it accomplishes that mission.

Remote Management Challenges

As Babcock and his two co-founders (President Dan Giovacchini and CTO Brian Shultz) talked to business owners during the first half of 2020 when the pandemic started, they realized the huge difficulties that remote work presented for hiring and training. “Basically all of their pain points became way, way, way more pronounced,” he says. “They were remotely onboarding people for the first time, their teams had become distributed, and knowledge transfer was just becoming a challenge. That was kind of our big call to action."

So, they took the leap, launching a new product that they were pretty sure – but not certain – lots of people would find useful, even after the pandemic ended. As it happens, they were right. “The more we built it, the more we realized that documentation within organizations is this sort of like ... It's like this necessary evil,” he says. “You know you have to do it, it's kind of your second priority, and you're already busy ... We knew that if we could save time for these folks by delivering a great product, an awesome business could follow.”

Working With Tango

So how does Tango save time? It automatically creates written guides that lay out specific procedures step by step without the need for video recording. All a user has to do is perform a given process inside Chrome while Tango transcribes actions, URLs, and screenshots. The result is a how-to guide that can easily be edited, downloaded, shared with a link, and/or exported to commonly used knowledge bases and learning management systems. Guides can cover anything from onboarding to standard operating procedures and product release updates.

Tango “effectively allows you to create documentation of step-by-step processes while you work,” Babcock says. “So instead of going through those processes that you do every day and then taking some time aside to put it in your knowledge base, we actually create that knowledge base content automatically.”

Major Lesson: ‘Dog Food’ Your Product

One lesson Babcock and his team have learned from starting Tango is to constantly test and retest (“dog food”) a product, using it as a customer would. This is the best way to find areas for improvement. “It sounds really intuitive because you're in the weeds building it, but try to take a step back and be a user,” he says. “So we do this now on a weekly basis, where maybe it's not as an organized dogfooding session, but people are constantly in the app creating workflows, sharing them, testing different features and functionality, coming up with ideas. That one's an easy one to lose sight of, because you kind of feel like you're doing it all the time by building it, but you’ve got to make sure you also dedicate time to put yourself into the shoes of a user.”

Pleasing users is the company’s raison d'être. More than anything else, Tango wants to “delight the customer,” Babcock says. “We are constantly engaging with people to get qualitative feedback, looking at data to get more of that quantitative side to really deliver a product that's valuable to those end-users.”

In the near future, Tango expects to offer paid plans with additional features. Babcock also wants to provide products for those who view documentation as well as those who create it. “There are so many people in organizations that are learning and trying to uplevel,” he says. “Building for that person is going to be the next wave, and then eventually building for that team leader. How do you give them insights to be a better coach?”

But regardless of where Tango goes next, it will remain laser-focused on the customer experience. “Success for us is really defining what those needs are and delivering on them,” Babcock says. “It sounds very simple, but that customer focus has helped us a bunch in just defining what the product roadmap needs to be, checking our egos at the door, and just continuing to build.”

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