How to reduce churn for your SaaS with customer success software | Philipp Wolf - Custify

Author Cristian
Updated Nov 16th, ’22
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How is Custify helping SaaS companies?

Philipp: Custify is a platform to handle everything post sales for SaaS companies to avoid churn, and it’s primarily the home for our customer success team. Any customer success manager who takes care of customers is a potential user. It helps them to understand which customers to reach out to so they can reach out at the right time with the right message to the right customer and don’t have to guesswork.

What is the status of this customer? Is he still in the onboarding? Is the renewal coming up? Are they utilizing the product enough? And to do so, we indicate typically in the entire environment. So that means CRM, support ticketing tools, payment gateway, and the own product are also essential. And then the data comes all together in one place. Because if you have to go in six different platforms to understand what’s up with a customer, that takes you like half an hour to get all the data. And that half an hour is much better spent if actually talking to a customer.

What is the biggest problem you solve?

Philipp: A customer success team exists because of a subscription-based business. The reason is that if you don’t deliver value with your product quickly, churn is what happens. As mentioned before, the problem we solve is that if you start with customer success, you typically have already existing processes. So you have a product, a signup flow, a sales team that works in a CRM, and a Stripe or something that manages your subscriptions. Then you might even have a support team from day one typically because, without a support team, it’s tough; that means you typically have a support ticketing system.

To work with my customers, a customer success manager needs to understand all of this information and the problem we solve for that. They have this all in one place. They get this visibility, this quick view. And on top of that, if you think about tasks for the customer success manager, there are also many repetitive things that you can solve with automations. That means sending onboarding emails, customers up for renewal, and you do a check-in with them. You can build the processes once, and then Custify basically manages to take care of that. This is the pain that we solve.

Using customer success software vs. building something in-house

Philipp: Most of the teams use spreadsheets in the beginning. And this is also doable to some extent, you can even automate certain things, but you reach a certain point, and you reach a limit with spreadsheets because it’s just not scaling anymore. It’s like you would start with sales in the beginning. You might start either with a very simple CRM or don’t even have any CRM, and you just do it in your emails and sort them accordingly. And yes, that works for the first 20 customers with no problem. But if you have a sales team of two or three, you probably want to have a robust CRM where you forecast and report on close rates. That’s exactly comparable to our case. You can either build it yourself, which is extremely complicated, or you probably use spreadsheets as a CS team in the beginning.

Best Custify features

Philipp: The primary one they are typically looking for is health scores. And health scores are basically a way to score a customer in terms of their health. Typically the first indicator is whether there are any activities at all. Are they logging into your backend? Are they in your product? Are they doing something? But that’s not the reason why they buy the product. So logins are not the gate health score. It’s a good indicator that something is happening, but what happens afterward? So those health scores are typically tied around to product functionalities.

If you think about an easy example, if you have a task management system and there are a lot of overdue tasks, that’s not good because then you know that they’re actually not working on the task. So that’s not something you want. Or if you have a task management system, there are never or very early new tasks created, then you simply know they’re not using that, then they’re using whatever else. So the sales scores are basically KPIs tied around the value you provide to our customers. So this is one of the biggest.

The second biggest I would say is the automation I talked to you about because you have a lot of processes typically in customer success. Onboarding, renewals opportunities, check-ins with customers. You want to be not waiting for the customer to churn. You know that they haven’t set up the product, so you proactively reach out and offer your help. So these playbooks, to these automations that run there, is the second one.

And the third one is probably also on similar things, but a bit more into the stage of a customer. We call that life cycle and its stages. Onboarding, adoption, and renewal are three examples, but that depends a little bit on the SaaS or the customer we work with. Some have 10 different life cycles, and some have 3, but knowing where this customer is in the journey with you is also essential aside from all the reporting you can do, which is, I also guess, one of the important things. But those three, I would say, are the main functionality the CS team typically looks for.

What is the price for Custify?

Philipp: Depending on when you are listening to this podcast, the current pricing starts at $899 per month. That’s our base package, which already includes many services on top. We call those concierge services at the beginning of the onboarding, helping to establish the CS strategy and helping to understand what would be your health score. So if you are in a CS team and you wonder – okay, what would be all my health scores? You probably know why people pay you money and what to pay for your product source. Our team helps you in that stage to check that with industry best practices, case studies, or these things, which are basically included in our package.

Why isn’t your pricing public?

Philipp: It’s not necessarily a strategy, but sometimes there are, for example, large teams, and there are specific requirements for services. For example, they would want specific integrations of their product or professional services on top of the product. And there are many other custom use cases. We could put that starting plan price there, but it might confuse people. So it’s better to understand what we do typically is a discovery call. So when someone is interested, we hope on a call, or the sales team hopes on a call, understands the challenges, understands the scope, understands what indications would be needed, how far the team is ahead, how big the team is, how many customers do they want to manage, are the things they need help with? And based on this, we get you a custom quote; that’s the reason why it’s not public.

Custify best integrations

Philipp: I think we now have 25 native integrations. The key systems are CRM, support, ticketing system, payment gateway, and communication. Those four categories, I would say, are the most important ones. We have covered all the major CRMs HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Freshsales, and Zoho CRM, while for communications, it’s mainly Slack and Freshdesk.

Custify alternatives on your website

Philipp: I would highly recommend any SaaS company to do it. Of course, some of the use cases are better off with one of the other products. So you might have niche use cases, and we classify them as unsuitable for you. However, imagine you go on a demo from one of those that you mentioned from the competitors, realize, well, this is either very expensive, which is extremely likely actually in this in this market, or it doesn’t fit my use case very well. So what do you do? You go to Google, and you type a competitor alternative. So we want to make sure that these people find us. And that’s the primary reason those pages are there.

When did you start the company?

Philipp: We started in 2018, at the beginning of 2018. In my former role, I was actually in touch with quite some SaaS companies, other leadership teams of SaaS companies, to be precise. Now I have to say that this was seven years ago, so probably situations improved a bit. But back then, the observation was that these teams had a lot of focus on customer acquisition, and they knew everything about customer acquisition. That means they have a specific team for PPC and paid marketing acquisitions. They have a specific team for website conversions. They have every kind of analysis on where the traffic comes from and all that stuff.

They spend money on marketing, sponsoring consult conferences, customer outreach, cold calling, cold emailing, etc. This is all very well laid out, and you can put it in spreadsheets and make funnel analytics and all that stuff. And the leadership team always knew exactly the cost per customer acquisition on that channel and on that channel. But then, when you ask the question – what do you do, what happens after a customer signs up? They will just pray that everything works fine.

The problem Philipp saw

This was a while ago, so customer success as an industry is not so new anymore, but it was still a different time, and this made me think that in the SaaS environment, there are statistics. You can pick any of those, but you will surely realize that acquiring a new customer is always much more expensive than retention. And that made me then look into this retention topic. I wasn’t even aware that it was called customer success back then. So I started to dig into this and realized there was already a bit of a small product world there.

The thing that was missing in the sense of the product was affordable, easy to use, fast to get started, and especially modern UI/UX experience. It was just not there. It didn’t exist on the market. So there was, of course, Gainsight, which is definitely the market leader in this space. But, even up until now, this is a product that is extremely expensive and takes a long time to set up, which is great for some enterprises, but what about all SMBs? What about all the growing SaaS companies out there? And this kind of is the story of starting Custify, and it has been an interesting journey.

Staying bootstrapped

Philipp: We did not raise any funds, we are completely bootstrapped, and now we are a team of more than 20 already. We are an international team working from Australia, the UK, the US, Croatia, Romania, and Portugal. Recently the latest hire from Portugal.

What is your end vision?

Philipp: We want to remain the go-to solution for the SaaS companies that are growing, scaling, and kind of in the found product market fit but don’t wanna spend a ton of money on an extremely expensive enterprise tool and still want to practice customer success. Of course, we want to remain the market leader for that segment and develop our product further.

It’s always very interesting to learn about new use cases. And this is how our product grew. We are not sitting in a tower and thinking of the next possible features. It’s actually our customers telling us about those things. So it’s always exciting to work with CS teams and their processes and understand the new needs and the market. Customer success, compared to others, is still a pretty young function in the industry. And given that nature, there’s also a lot of movement, a lot of new things, a lot of new initiatives, a lot of new ideas, a lot of things that come up. So that’s the vision to make those teams even in the future, equip them with the right tools to do their job best possible.

Any piece of advice for founders?

Philipp: I guess that is my main advice because, as a founder, you go through challenges that are very hard to understand for people who are not in the same shoes. The challenges you face there, the decisions you have to make, and the sleepless nights you have are things that only other founders can understand. If you connect with other founders, you will see many people have the same challenges, which already helps you. Of course, you can benefit from things they already solved, and you don’t need to solve that again. And they have good advice for you, like how they solved challenges. I guess this is one piece of advice that also helped me have a good founder network with founders.

What’s your favorite software, Philipp?

Philipp: We are a SaaS company ourselves. I wouldn’t know how to run the company without Custify. I use Custify myself every day for at least an hour because I need to understand customer health, who is coming up for renewal. That’s also something I’m still particularly interested in.

Besides that, I would say the recent acquisition of Figma recently. Figma is a tool that I personally, as a product person, also a formal product person, but still involved a bit in product development and product design that I really admire because they manage to enable graphic design into a SaaS business, into a cloud where everybody said that it would be too slow.

Technically, replacing Photoshop with a tool like this is impossible. However, we have used it from day one, and I’m a happy user of that. And it enables you to do so much quicker, and it is easy to share with the developers. The point between design and front-end development is just so much easier. That’s a tool that I like, and I also use it almost daily.

Connect with Philipp

Custify: custify.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/philippwolf