Living in the purple: the evolution of the AskNicely values

AskNicely Team

Here at AskNicely, we pledge to “Live in The Purple''… you may be wondering what that means? Well, it all starts with our values which define the way we build our team, organizational approach and support our customers. Our CEO Kirsten and co-founder Aaron agree that establishing your values (and vibe-checking them as you grow) is all about ‘putting thoughtful language behind the type of business we want to be’. The values laid out at the very founding of AskNicely in 2014 have evolved, adapted and grown new meanings over time. Ten years on, we’re making proactive changes to evolve our values and explore an interesting crossover in what Living in the Purple means and how we help our customers deliver on their own service promises. 

The OGs: Our Original Values

The founding values of AskNicely – Simple, Responsive, Personal and Curious– set us up to disrupt the norms of the competitive market and introduce innovations that focus on delivering a world-class customer experience product. 

The founding team looked at the market and thought; 

  1. The customer experience software space is overwhelming, confusing and hard to understand. Let’s provide a simple solution that’s free of jargon, accessible to all, and provides maximum impact in the simplest and most effective way. – (SIMPLE). 
  1. The tech out there is clunky and slow. Let’s create a software that’s responsive, intuitive and satisfying for managers, employees and customers to use – (RESPONSIVE).

  2. The industry is all about numbers, stats and buzzwords, but customer experience is all about people. Let’s build a customer experience platform that puts people at the forefront – (PERSONAL).

  3. Everyone’s talking like they know everything, but no one does. Let’s build a company committed to curiosity, continuous learning and growth – (CURIOUS). 

Alongside these founding values which set our product and organization apart, we wanted to develop cultural pillars that spoke more specifically to what it's like to be part of Team Purple. 

These cultural pillars have organically grown since day one – they were not dictated, but emerged as natural expressions of our collective ethos, i.e things we were already doing and were getting recognized for. These original cultural pillars have remained relevant and have heavily inspired our values today. 

  1. Be Nice – our people quickly became known for their caring, down-to-earth and welcoming nature.

  2. Love Your Feedback – The DNA of our company culture and product is centered around collecting and sharing feedback.

  3. Play to Win – We bring our A game every time. We have high standards but always favor speed over perfection.

As Kirsten Newbold-Knipp was appointed as CEO in 2023, the AskNicely team took the opportunity to reflect on the foundational values, gather feedback from throughout the company, and identify areas of evolution. The results are subtle adaptations of each value that more accurately reflect the type of organization we are today, and strive to be as we grow and empower even more customers. 

The Evolution: 

First, we learned that there are several elements, especially in our pillars, that the team really loved and wanted to expand on. We also found that the combination of values and pillars as distinct concepts was more confusing than it was helpful. As we got bigger, we also found that more clarity on what it means to live the values was needed. That led us to a simplification to just the three main pillars which include a handful of supporting concepts – many that harken back to the OG list.

Play to Win - Own it, Keep it Simple

"Play to Win" has evolved to emphasize collective victory and ownership, along with a commitment to simplicity not only in our product but in our methods, communications, and overall approach. This value underscores the importance of collaboration and clarity in pursuit of excellence. 

Play to Win in action: 

  • We think about the business outcome, not just the task at hand, to build the best solution for our business, our customers and our teams.

  • When confronted with a challenge, we think about the root cause and bring proposals instead of problems.

  • We balance speed with thoughtfulness. We’re fast with quick questions and help. But, for bigger topics, responsiveness can look like ‘Can I get back to you in an agreed timeframe’ instead of interrupting flow to get a fast, and possibly incomplete answer. We always close the loop.

Love Your Feedback - Stay Curious, Share Often

Some things never change: We’re in the business of feedback. We model transparency, curiosity and getting and giving feedback to keep improving. The principle of "Love Your Feedback" encourages us to share insights frequently within teams and with customers, fostering alignment and a culture of continuous improvement. 

Love Your Feedback in action: 

  • We communicate early and often, sharing data and insights we’ve learned to bring our teams on the journey with us and avoid making decisions based on gut alone. We value customer feedback like it’s gold.

  • We craft our business objectives cross-functionally because silos slow things down and we each bring unique skills to bear.

  • We ask for input and close the loop with our peers and customers when we’ve made changes or improvements based on that input.

Be Nice - Kind is Nice

We've refined "Be Nice" to mean more than superficial niceness—it’s about being genuinely kind, which is constructive and catalyzes growth. A simple analogy is a scenario we've all experienced: imagine  telling someone you just met at a party that they have food in their teeth: it might be uncomfortable at first, but it’s kinder to tell them than to let them remain unaware. Plus once the ice is broken, you’ll be closer because they had your back. This simple example illuminates our view on feedback—it should be timely, honest, and ultimately supportive.

Be Nice in action: 

  • We take the time, in real time, to give deep feedback that might be tough to hear sometimes but needs to be shared. We don’t wait for a ‘review’ and we collaborate on how to grow.
  • We celebrate everyone as a unique and delightful individual. Bring your quirks to work and share your humanity.

A Perfect Purple Trifecta 

The synergy of these values forms a perfect trifecta. All three must be in action. One does not work without the other, for example, if you’re playing to win but you’re not being nice – you’re not Living in the Purple.

The Customer Crossover 

As we evolved our values, our leadership team noted that what AskNicely is aiming to do with our own teams has real crossover with how we aim to help our customers: 

  • Play to Win: We help our customers understand what great looks like and get ahead of their competitors by delivering consistently awesome experiences.

  • Love Your Feedback: We empower all teams in service companies with customer feedback as a critical method for improvement. We help our customers celebrate their teams, pinpoint areas of improvement and build a culture of continuous improvement. As a cherished leader once said, "Feedback is the breakfast of champions"—a mantra that continues to inspire our work with our customers today.

  • Be Nice: This translates into fostering a culture of self-improvement, accountability, autonomy, and positivity for our customers. Our platform encourages recognition through shout-outs and high-fives, making it easier for teams to support each other and thrive, sharing the positive and the constructive to grow.

"Living in the Purple" at AskNicely is more than just a colorful phrase—it embodies the dynamic and evolving journey of a company deeply committed to its people, product and customers. As we evolve and grow, we’ll continue to check ourselves against these foundational pillars, and use them not just as guidelines for conducting business, but as standards that improve everything we touch, from internal operations to the interactions we have with our customers, leaving a trail of purple dust in our wake. 

Learn more about Living in the Purple here. 

AskNicely Team
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AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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