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

Friday Q & A: 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:

  • Identify which “red flag metrics” you can use to spot customers who are slipping away, and create automated emails to intervene.
  • Go out and talk to the customers who are actually leaving, and find out why. Customer exit surveys can be a really valuable tool in honing in on what the cause of the churn actually is (which is the only way you can know how to prevent it).
  • Check out this post from our support blog on reducing churn. It contains a lot of awesome resources from top customer success experts.

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).
Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull Alex is the CEO & Founder of Groove. He loves to help other entrepreneurs build startups by sharing his own experiences from the trenches.