Blog Friday Q&A

Friday Q & A: Remote Culture, Reducing Churn and Outsourcing Web Development

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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Last week, we announced the launch of our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, where we’ll answer any questions that you have about, well, anything.

We got some great requests, and I’m excited about the list of questions that we have to draw from for the coming weeks.

Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!

How Do You Build a Culture as a Remote Company?

This is a big – probably the biggest – challenge for any remote team, and we’re no exception.

There’s no getting around the fact that you don’t have the culture advantage that an office provides. You can’t go to lunch together, and you don’t get that same office "buzz" created by having your coworkers around you.

We work hard to replace the "water cooler" and make employees comfortable with one another. We have a Slack room that serves as a digital water cooler where we keep things light; it’s a great escape when you need a break.

It’s also important to have processes in place to keep everyone on the same page, on top of whatever you’re using to track tasks and projects. Our whole team does a daily stand-up in Slack where we each say what we worked on the day before, what we’re working on today and whether there’s anything standing in our way. The standups force us to start each day with open communication, and help us all keep track of the team’s progress.

How Do I Reduce Customer Churn That Happens After a User Is Already Engaged?

This is another challenge that almost every SaaS company faces, and the simple answer is that your job – making your customers successful – isn’t complete after they go through your onboarding flow.

Customer Success is a long-term commitment, and requires you to have a strategy in place to nurture your customer throughout every step of their lifecycle. Of course, actively engaged customers don’t need nearly as much hand-holding as new signups, but you’re not off the hook completely.

Some of the places I’d start:

Do You Outsource Any of Your Web Development?

Our entire first version was outsourced. It was what I felt we needed to do at the time given our position, but it’s not for everyone, and certainly came with challenges when we transitioned to our in-house team. Check out the story of our first build here.

Since then, we’ve outsourced things here and there. The reality, especially in the very early days, was that hiring a full-time employee wasn’t possible, but we still needed things to get done, so outsourcing worked well.

Very well, in fact. The last resource that we outsourced web development to – Serg – is now a full-time member of the Groove team.

These days, we don’t outsource much, and there are two reasons for that:

  1. Looking forward. Our growth is faster than it’s ever been, and if we need a project done, chances are that we’ll need more projects done, and it’s worth looking for people who can be long-term assets on our team.
  2. Culture. As I mentioned in the first question, culture is a huge challenge for remote teams, and adding contractors to the mix complicates things. I’m focused on building a great team that works well together, and part of that is keeping a close-knit group of people working on our most critical projects (of which web development is one).

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Your Turn: Ask Groove Anything

I’d love for this new weekly segment to be successful, and provide a valuable repository of answers from our entire community for entrepreneurs everywhere.

To do that, I need your help.

Here’s what you can do to get involved:

  1. Ask questions. Post them in the comments of this post, or Tweet them to us at @Groove.
  2. Answer questions. Every Friday, we’ll post a new Q&A segment. If you have anything to add or share regarding any of the questions asked, jump in! Many of you are far more qualified than I to speak on some of the topics that people ask me about.
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From “aha” to “oh shit”, we’re sharing everything on our journey to $10M in annual revenue. We’re learning a lot and so will you.

About the Author

Alex Turnbull is the CEO & Founder of Groove (simple helpdesk software for small businesses) who loves to build startups and surf.

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