Happy Monday everyone!
Today we have two new stories for you:
1. How Quipu kept churn rates under one percent ever since their launch
2. User Research on the Human Body for New Users
Have a great week!
Happy Monday everyone!
Today we have two new stories for you:
Have a great week!
Going into its fourth year, one of the things the Quipu team and its CEO Roger Dobaño are proud of is their low churn rate.
Quipu is an online billing software that solves your daily administrative tasks. And as with any SaaS product, churn is a number they keep close track on, says Dobaño:
I’m in touch with the churn numbers daily, but we measure it monthly, like most startups.
A low churn percentage is not only validating that they’ve built a product people like, but keeping the rate down over years has also taught them a lot about how their customers think and act, according to the CEO:
For a B2B SaaS company, it’s often quite expensive to acquire new users, so we’re very proud that we’ve been able to hold churn under one percent from the start.
It’s not rocket science, with more customers come more responsibilities, and that means a higher demand for service.
As you’re scaling your customer base, one of the most important things you need to do is to make sure your customer service team scales together with your customers. The easiest way to keep churn down, is to have someone that really understands the product and cares about the customers.
Even though many of your customers never need any help with the product, it’s part of the trust relationship you build, as the customers know that there are humans to talk to at the other end of the software.
The first 12 months Quipu didn’t hire customer care people says the CEO:
For the first year of our business, I did all the customer support myself. Not only because the team was small, but so that I always knew what our customers thought about our product.
He says he’s still in touch with the customer service team, as it’s one of the best ways to know how to develop and improve the product.
He explains that the way customer service agents should attend struggling users could be an article in itself. The baseline is to listen a lot, be understanding, patient and get to the core of what kind of problem the user is facing. There’s usually always a way to fix it.
It’s not about making it hard for customers to unsubscribe, according to Roger, but it’s about understanding why they want to leave.
If you want to unsubscribe, we’ll get notified when you push the button, and we’ll get in touch. Their reason for unsubscribing is often connected to a task we can help them achieve very easily, preventing them from leaving and making them happy again.
And if the customer has decided to leave anyway, you’ll at least have the data on why, if you actually talk to them. It’s also for security reasons, as people’s financial data has to be treated carefully.
When you’ve grown a significant amount of customers or users you should also consider measuring CSAT and NPS metrics.
Apart from great service, upselling is another way to prevent customers from choosing another product. The more ways people use your product, the lesser is the chance of the person leaving you.
With a very low churn rate, you’re actually able to reach negative churn, if you’re able to upsell enough.
When you have a payback period of one year, which is normal in SaaS companies, you need to know that people are happy especially in the beginning to keep the retention rate high.
Apart from speaking with the customers, tracking their movements and tasks inside the product is a very good way of seeing where it goes right and wrong.
For example, in Quipu one of our services is managing invoices. After looking at the user movements, we now know that the retention rate is much higher if the user creates three or more invoices. With this info we’ve been able to retain more customers over the years.
Dobaño adds that it’s also important to use movement trackers to contact users who are struggling, even before they complain or think about leaving.
It’s both upsides and downsides to talking a lot with your customers (obviously more positive sides though). One of the challenges is that people have a lot of thoughts on what kind of features you should develop next.
If you’re working B2B, you’re in touch with professionals, and they’re aware of what type of features would make their day easier.
This results in new features that both keep the retention rate high and make it easier to acquire new users.
But it is easy to take water over your head and create ten good features to please everyone, instead of making 3 perfect features. It’s a difficult balance, according to Roger:
We try to focus 60 percent of our capacity on building our existing product better, and 40 percent of our time making features for acquiring new customers.
When you’re working with high growth products, it’s often essential to be raising funding from investors.
A motivation in keeping your churn low is that most investors will not bet on a SaaS startup if it has a churn rate of 2 percent or more.
So even though you’re acquiring a lot of customers early on, having churn in mind from the first minute, can be more valuable than you think.
Some last tips on the list to prevent churn you should consider is:
Hi! Thanks for agreeing to chat with me now that you’ve had your human body for a couple weeks. I’m excited to hear about how things have been going. Here’s how I’d like to spend our time: we will have an open conversation and explore your experiences. Later on, I have some specific questions that I would like you to answer, to get more specific feedback. At last, I’ll be sure to leave enough time at the end for any questions I might be able to help you with.
Does that sound good?
— Sure, sounds good.
Awesome. So is there anything you’ve noticed that you particularly like about your new body?
— Well, I like these sausagy things, but there’s one that is too short and out of the way, I wish they were all the same length and pointing in the same direction.
I’m going to assume you’re talking about your fingers. The little one is called “thumb”. Has it been useful in any way?
— Not really.
What if you want to grab something?
— I don’t see a problem. I have more sausagy things.
That’s true. Anything else about the fingers that you’d like to share?
— Let me think. Five sounds like too much, no? Maybe two or three would be enough.
Were there any particular situations where those extra couple of fingers were in the way?
— Yeah I was in bed with a friend…
That’s enough. Thank you. Any other aspects of your body you’ve particularly enjoyed or liked over the past couple of weeks?
— As I was saying, I was in bed…
GOT IT. Let’s move on. Have there been any events or situations where you’ve found your new body limiting?
— Yes I tried to fly from a tree branch and realized quickly that I couldn’t fly.
How did you reach that realization?
— I fell. Straight to the ground, landed on my arm. Which also made me realize these arm things aren’t very good at taking impact, the bones are pretty weak. I had to see someone called a “doc” and now I have this cast thing on. Are you going to fix that?
Oh my! I’m sorry to hear that happened. I’ll take a note to make sure we cover that type of bug in the design for later versions. How does the cast change things for you as you evaluate your body?
— I can decorate it with doodles. I really like that. If I do it on the outer layer of the body it wears off. Are you going to make cases for the body? Like with flowers and stuff. I saw some people wearing them.
You mean clothes? Sir, are you walking around naked?
— What are clothes?
Never mind. Let me ask you something. How has the temperature regulation been in the new body?
— Hmmm… what’s that word…? Cold! Yeah, that’s it! This body doesn’t have enough fur. Except in some funny parts, where it shouldn’t. You should definitely review the fur.
Interesting… I’d like to switch gears a little to focus on keeping the body up and running. In your orientation, we went over things like eating and grooming. Is there anything noteworthy you’d like to share about those kinds of processes?
— Eating is good. I like that. But I felt it was a bit random. There were no clear instructions on what I should or shouldn’t eat. I enjoyed the sweet things. I don’t really know why you offer green stuff with no taste.
— Whatever you call it. The red stuff was good, like tomatoes sometimes, when they came with cheese, in a bun, with bacon, and meat.
— YES! Those were really good. I basically just ate those.
Welcome to America.
Nothing. Thank you so much! That’s all for regarding that subject. I just have a few more questions. On a scale from 1–5, where 1 is “I wish I had my old self back” and 5 is “I can’t believe I didn’t get this body sooner”:
— Not having a body is very different, you can do a lot of stuff if you have a nice working body I guess. I’ll say 4.
How would you rate your satisfaction level with your new body so far?
— 2. Maybe 3 on a good day.
Is there anything in particular that lead you to answer that way?
— It’s kind of slow and fragile. I wish it was faster. And bigger too.
How likely are you to recommend this experience to a friend?
Is there anything in particular that lead you to answer that way?
— It’s fun to use for a while. But I guess you might get tired of it after a while, and would like to change it for a newer, faster, better-looking model.
Right on the spot. And finally, what’s one thing you really hope will be added to your body in the future?
— Wings. Or wheels. Whatever makes it faster. And fur. I said fur before, didn’t I?
You did. What value would that addition provide to you?
— I want to be faster. And warmer.
Thanks again for all your feedback — you’ll receive the gift certificate to the new body maintenance shop shortly. I’ll talk to you again in a few weeks. Take care!
Many entrepreneurs, technologists and product managers will nod upon hearing this universal business truth: customers go first. In the end customers are the reason businesses exist, by adopting and paying for a company’s product or service.
The term “customer success” is a hot topic these days, and can mean various things, but below I’ll explain the term with the meaning — how your company interacts with customers to guarantee success for it after the interaction.
These five words and different topics are what we’ll try to identify in the text below (or the video above).
If you have a SaaS company or any kind of software company, you need to make sure the customers have a way to communicate with you.
In this communication, you need to think about what kind of user you want to open your lines of communication with, what kind of questions they should be answering and when they should do this.
To make sure your customers are happy, you should measure customer satisfaction rates (CSAT). You can rate it however you want, a normal way is by numbers, stars or faces with different expressions.
In SaaS products a good CSAT is 98 and above, and an acceptable score is 90. Everything else is bad. Because the customer usually is telling you what you’re doing wrong, it’s (usually) fairly easy to get a good score, just make sure you have a great customer service team, that’s key.
The juiciest part of the acronyms mentioned is Net Promoter Score (NPS).
It measures what kind of attitude your customer has towards your product. Only the 9th and the 10th best customers are promoters, which are the best customers you can hope for. These people will promote your product to people they meet. The neutrals in the middle, the 8th and the 7th, don’t do anything for you. And last, but not least, the detractors that represent the bottom 6 of your customer base. These people have a negative influence on your product or service.
You don’t need to be a Mensa member to understand that getting a good score can be pretty hard, when 60 percent of the bar is detractors.
The formula is: NPS = % of promoters – % of detractors.
So if you have 20 percent promoters, 50 percent neutral, and 30 percent detractors, you’ll have -10 in NPS score, which is really bad.
Some NPS problems are simple to fix, you need to segment the customer base and try to solve as many of the recurring customer-issues as possible. Other NPS related challenges take longer time and need bigger and more drastic changes to fix. After segmenting the customers, you need to group the feedback into components of your product and service, and put your team to work on item after the other.
Companies that takes NPS scores seriously, aim at scores between 60 and 80.
If you didn’t pick up that listening closely to your customer is extremely important, it’s time to note that done.
But listening and organizing the data isn’t enough alone. A customer that actually contacts you to give you feedback on your product or your service is valuable so make sure the people they speak to are understanding and empathic.
Don’t try to push other or cheaper products on a customer that contacts you about an issue. You have a valuable shot at solving important problems for your company, don’t ruin it by trying to sell them more stuff they don’t want.
To get any value from these processes, you need to share all the customer feedback with the team, not only to implement changes. You never know who might sit on solutions or ideas for improvement.
To get real life examples see the video above, where Jordi explains how Redbooth tackled some of their challenges with CSAT and NPS.
This post was transcribed by Sindre Hopland, media manager at itnig.
There is a lack of engineers everywhere, but finding talent is especially hard in the Bay Area.
I’m from Spain but 5 years ago I went three months to SF, to attend a couple of conferences and visited some friends.
At that time I was trying to start something, but I changed my mind and I started looking for jobs in the US instead.
Every single company I visited was recruiting.
Tech companies provided pizza, beers and tons of famous, smart people to talk about smart things. All to attract talent.
I sent out many resumes, but 90% of the times I didn’t receive any response, and I couldn’t figure out what was missing.
I have a CS degree, five years of experience and lots of open source contributions in cutting edge technologies. My best guess was that US companies were not willing to sponsor me a `H-1B` visa.
I was close to giving up and going back to Spain when I received two calls from a couple of companies. One of them was Klout, the social media analytics company that sold for $200 million. The second call was from a company that was just starting up at the time, they wanted to disrupt the transportation industry.
The first interviews are always done by telephone. They ask you about your background, some theoretical questions and some *puzzles*.
When they have decided that you’re smart enough to meet face to face, the real interview starts, and it’s not a normal meet and greet, it can last up to three hours.
You talk with people from different departments, answer more questions and solve more *puzzles* on whiteboards.
– Implement a function that calculates square roots
— Sort and concat arrays in a optimal way
— Guess the two missing numbers in a array with `n — 2` length containing `1..n` unsorted numbers
— Calculate the number of digits for a given number
— Implement a function to detect palindromes
Most of them were doable, but I think they were missing some amazing developers that may not know how to solve those problems,
but they are capable of solving real-life problems (fix this bug, port this library, refactor this code…).
– What is a closure and which disadvantages does it have:
— What is hoisting.
— How does `this` work.
— How `float` works and which issues does it have.
— How does the event loop work on the browser and how to delay a function to the next tick.
— How to optimize CSS, and how does specificity work.
Both companies I interviewed for offered to sponsor me a H-1B visa and a good salary.
I ended up accepting one of the offers because they where more transparent with the stock options (which I later discovered not to be so great after all), and because they told me that I could work remotely until getting the visa.
I signed the contract, opened a bank account, left my job and came back to Spain.
Back in Spain I started to prepare myself for the new job — I was looking forward joining a new team. I learnt Python because I saw some people using it at that company’s offices.
I was super motivated and willing to start! I even sent some emails to the CTO to get some instructions on how to setup my development environment.
At my starting date I received the first email from the CTO saying that they were not able to get my visa and that they were thinking about the aspect of working remotely.
I answered them that it wasn’t a problem for me. I had been working remotely for a while and it had never been an issue.
What happened next? Nothing. Silence. I was completely ignored.
Getting a working visa in the US is not easy. If it was, most developers would be working there. It has gotten a lot better the last years, but companies should start to be more open minded about hiring remote workers.
There is a huge deficit of talent in the US, and a lot of wasted (and way cheaper) talent in other countries around the world. An average engineer in the Bay Area can cost around $100k+. In Spain, the same engineer costs significantly less.
Even though I’m happy I didn’t end up in the states, it would have been cool to be one of the first developers at Uber.
It was an amazing experience, the development was happening 24 hours a day. The git repository was constantly receiving commits, never sleeping.
Luckily there’s more and more great companies being built in Europe, and there’s no need to go to the US to land a fantastic job as a developer. Both Madrid (14th) and Barcelona (9th)are climbing on EDCI’s digital city index list every year, and more and more startups are getting funded.
A recent report by Atomico predicts even greater times for European tech in the years to come, so no need to apply for the green card lottery this year, just hold on to your European passport.
This memoir was written by the CTO of Factorial.