They’ll lock eyes on your booth. They’ll have lanyards and fists full of swag.
“So,” they’ll say. “Whaddya you guys do?”
This is a learning moment. They’ll learn about your company, you’ll learn about yourself.
It should be an easy task. This is the company you work for every day, maybe the one you helped build. Here you are, sitting at a conference, ready to show the world (or at least a few hundred people) what you do. What you’re made of.
You should nail this. You won’t.
So you’re going to launch a product. Maybe even a whole company.
There are a lot of schools of thought on product launches. It pays to do your research, pick the right channel, and tailor your strategy according to that channel. A lot of founders take the "spray and pray" approach, simply blasting their new product out to every website and social network they can think of.
It might work. But it probably won't. And even if it does work, you won't know why. You won't know what to replicate when you need to launch a new feature, grow, or scrap everything and start over. It's better to go in with a solid plan, and to build your launch strategy according to the outlet you're targeting.
We dove in to some of the different channels for launching and put together some case studies of launches that worked.
Hiring is one of the most time-intensive and critical things we do.
We’ve added nine people to the team in the last year, four of them software engineers. We’re currently hiring for three more engineering positions.
We plan to be adding even more than that in the next few years.
This means time is precious. We can’t waste any on interviewing or hiring the wrong people. That’s why every engineering candidate we talk to goes through a set of coding challenges.
We know there are different schools of thought on this (and some pretty passionate opinions) but it works for us.
If someone is going to get weeded out of the hiring process, best to weed them out early. It seems to be better for everyone involved.
We’ve been through several iterations of coding challenges to get where we are now. It’s definitely still a work in progress. But this is what’s working for us right now.
Here’s the problem with your customer support team’s policies and guidelines. They are policies and guidelines.
Policies and guidelines look great on paper. They make for a nice slide deck for management. In a perfect world, everyone on your team will default to policy-driven actions in all situations.
Too bad that doesn’t happen.
At some point, someone will not have the time or energy to run according to the rules. Habit takes over.
Habit always wins.
This article comes excerpted from Hiten Shah’s SaaS DNA Project: The Anatomy of a SaaS Marketing Site, a 30,000+ word research study on how users actually browse and experience SaaS marketing sites.
Hiten Shah has built products on the web for over 10 years, including Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, and now Quick Sprout. He breaks down everything he's learned about building companies in his weekly email newsletter here.
Your homepage serves as the welcome mat for your SaaS business. Therefore, its clarity can make the difference between taking a new user through your sign up process to conversion, and having them abandon the site, never to come back. A good homepage introduces users to your site, your brand, and your product. A bad one just tells them to leave.
Just as with any interaction with a customer, prospective or established, communication is key.
Getting the right language and design to show this clarity is a major challenge for any SaaS company. You need to be informative, explaining what your company does (which could be complex) but still put it in clear, concise language that any new user can understand in the few moments they have your attention when they first land on your site.
We were always told in school we would need good writing skills in almost any job.
Here’s what we weren’t told: We will have no time to write slowly. The most critical writing we’ll have to do will not be in a calm, take-your-time situation. It will be in some oh-shit-time-crunch-hurry-up-and-send-this type situation.
Consider how many of the following are sent every day:
- Urgent memo to the entire company.
- Status update because a server crashed.
- Offer letter to a job candidate who might sign with a competitor.
- Email to a customer asking they please, dear God, don’t click that link that was the wrong link.
All high-stakes situations. All the kind of hurried written communication people’s jobs depend on. Writing well is important. Writing well when you’re in a hurry is a lot more important.
Thankfully, just like writing well, writing fast is a skill that can be practiced and improved.
Here are some tips, exercises and apps that can get you there.
At some companies, everyone takes a turn on customer support. It’s called all-hands support, and it’s one of the best things we’ve done building a business here at StatusPage.
All-hands support means everyone — from the CEO to the engineers the newest junior employees — take turns answering questions for customers.
A lot of companies like us practice all-hands. For a small, growing company, it’s the kind of thing you start doing out of necessity and keep around after your team grows.
For this month’s edition of Startup Roundtable, we were joined by Cat Le, Head of Support at Olark. Not only does Olark practice all-hands support, they build a live chat tool that companies like us use to talk to our customers.
One great experience can turn a customer into an evangelist.
Do a quick search for “Zappos support stories” and you’ll find dozens of great stories the company going above and beyond for customers.
There was the bouquet of flowers sent to a customer whose mother was ill.
The time a support agent stayed on the phone with a chatty customer for 10 hours and 29 minutes.
The agent who helped a late-night caller find information on nearby pizza places.
It all comes back to Zappos core value No. 1: “Deliver WOW Through Service.”
Remarkable service experiences for your customers have compounding positive benefits for your business. Zappos was acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion.
We wanted to know more about what makes for a remarkable support experience. So we asked some founders in the startup community to share the best support experience they ever received.
Here’s what they had to say.
Since launching three years ago, we’ve managed to grow from zero paying customers to more than 2,000. It’s a milestone we never could have imagined when we started out.
And one we could have never reached alone.
Not only have we been fortunate enough to bring some great people to our team since launching, we’ve gotten to work with some amazing companies and products.
We wanted to celebrate the occasion by listing the various services, tools and apps that we’ve used to build and run StatusPage.io.
A lot of the tools we get the pleasure of using are on the cutting edge of business solutions. Many of the companies innovating the way work is done are turning to tech startups, like us, to find success with their products first. So we get to take a crack at some awesome business apps that might not be in the mainstream yet.
It’s not always easy, but we’ve been willing to pay for great tools. Why bang our heads against the wall and try to build our own expense tracking service? That’s not who we are. Paying other great companies for tools and apps has helped us work on what we’re here to work on.
It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most used and most valued tools in our kit.
How long does take to get a new user to get to that “wow” moment?
And when did doing your taxes become so damn fun?
These were few of the questions tackled in the latest episode of Startup Roundtable. We were joined this week by Jackson Noel, Co-Founder of Appcues. Appcues offers a great set of tools to help businesses dissect and improve the onboarding experience.