How Froged retains customers by scaling a personal and human onboarding experience.
CEO & Co-Founder
Today on the show we have Emily González-Cebrián, co-founder and CEO of Froged.
In this episode, we talked about why Emily decided to make the jump and start a SaaS business, how Froged was born, who their main customers are and how they help them with churn and retention.
We also discussed the importance of onboarding and activation, their unique personalized and human onboarding experience, and how Froged uses Froged to retain their customers.
Andrew Michael: [00:00:00] Hey, Emily. Welcome to the show.
Emily: [00:00:02] Thank you, Andrew.
Andrew Michael: [00:00:04] Great here. Yeah, it's great to have you for the listeners. Emily is the CEO and co-founder of Froged the fastest way for subscription businesses to improve customer onboarding and retention while avoiding churn.
Prior to Froged, Emily was the managing director of Avon Cole, Brazil, a major plan, energy and environment sectors, where she was responsible for the Brazilian and Colombian markets. So my first question for you, Emily is. Why did you make the jump? What unique insight do you have the drove this year to start a SaaS business?
Emily: [00:00:35] Okay. So yeah, that's like the typical question that person would make to me and looking at beat on my background. For all my life, I knew that I was getting a start some basis. I wasn't sure about. Where or what about to do it? And it was when I came back to Spain, when I decided to come back to Spain that I made my co-founders kid on a phone call [00:01:00] and so through meeting them and It is how Fraga came in and the idea of creating this platform, this customers success and support platform appeared.
So we met each other in the immune, which is an incubator or originally from Spain though. They are also in some countries in Europe and we somehow choose each other. Decided to be co-founders. And this is when deciding on where focusing or what about our project was going to be and EDIS basically outcomes back around we to mostly this Sign or show was the path or show us that it was going to be for soar.
It was going to be a sad and he always took off creating a SaaS for all their SaaS. Yeah. And this is like the seeds of what Froged it is today.
Andrew Michael: [00:01:56] Interesting. So you mentioned like a sauce for other sauce. [00:02:00] So the product itself, like a Frogednow specifically focuses to help and serve subscription as a service businesses. yeah?
Emily: [00:02:09] Exactly.
Andrew Michael: [00:02:10] And can you elaborate a little bit what you do just so we can understand a bit more context?
Emily: [00:02:15] Sure. So we help subscription businesses, mainly SaaS, to handle their customer success as a whole.
So we always call it as an umbrella. We understand that customer success, it starts in the moment that a client B decides to become a client. And so from onboarding and activation all the way to support, we understand that support is there reactive part which should be covered also Within the umbrella of customer success, which would be a bit more proactive.
We then from our platform, we also covert or we go through optimizing a customer's life cycle. So it includes upselling presenting, but [00:03:00] also support. We do believe that. Everything is very much related within the life cycle of a funniest and taking in it is what Frogedproposes as as our core body.
Andrew Michael: [00:03:15] So who would you say then within these SaaS businesses is your main persona, your main customer that'd be using the product.
Emily: [00:03:22] Okay. So we mainly focus in customer success manager. , but also product managers are very much interested. And of course depending a little bit in the size or the moment of the project it may concern also the CEO's at some point, but a talk if selling you two would be customers success and managers. Products managers.
Andrew Michael: [00:03:47] Interesting. Okay. And then, so just to understand a little bit better then as well, as a customer success manager, I would be using the service to help set up sort of an onboarding flow for my customers [00:04:00] to assay as well as job specific retention related engagement tools that you offer as well to keep in contact with customers through the lifecycle.
And then what you were saying as well as support is more of a customer success side of things for you provide tools to aid in that too.
Emily: [00:04:18] Exactly. Yeah. Yes. They gave you vacation or of how we foresee the customer sexist market out there. We always say that there are two big groups of players.
And so one of them is more customer metrics, customers, success metrics is it's more tools that are gonna give you metrics. And on the other side, do you have a customer communication tools? So we are exactly in the intersection of both. So we say that we are customer is scoring. We are not a customer's current platform.
We are not providing metrics to that [00:05:00] extent we do provide visibility. So for as it's really important to show. To show our clients what is happening with their users, what they use as do you in the, in their platforms. And so somehow they can distribute them or segment them. hyper segment them in fact.
And so working them as groups. And when I say that, until we are in that, into those sections is because we also provide those stools. Those customer communication tools so that you can effectively pull and push those users along their life cycle. That's our that's our vision, I would say. And so just going back to your question and trying to, sorry, I didn't know, Morris right away is stir that he's got some sexist managers, so it would be maybe a decided, and I was sending you also see you it's normally CEOs are very much Related to this decision, [00:06:00] but it is not only given them the vision and the visibility of what happens inside, but it's also providing the whole team with the tools to be active, to execute the communications or the interactions with these clients.
Andrew Michael: [00:06:19] Yeah. Okay. And then so like to understand as well, like the typical type of customer, so you, I noted subscription as a service businesses or subscription businesses. Would you say that the type of customer success that these businesses engage in is predominantly high touch? Or does your product serve high touch and low touch models?
Because for me it sounds a little bit as well. Like it's at the intersection also like lifecycle marketing and in some cases like marketing might be responsible for some of these components of the automation and creating engagement campaigns, but then you're giving the power then to customer success and putting in their hands to handle the, basically the lifecycle of the customer coming [00:07:00] in from acquisition to retention.
Emily: [00:07:03] Okay. So we mainly focus in the mid market. So whenever you are asking me about Easter, that all clients may have different types of clients themselves. So it's different approach, different touch with these clients, we always say that customer success patch is related to the sales batch. For in our case we mainly focus in the mid market, so it tends to be low touch and tech touch.
Okay. But again, we know, and this happens, you can use the tool for different kind of approaches, but it's mainly focused for Yeah, no task take batch, as we said, so you can automate and a scale. We always call them. We always see and talk about scaling the customer success. Okay. And we always say that the second bottleneck that these kinds of [00:08:00] companies get to is exactly the bottleneck that you finding customer success while onboarding, activated and handling these these clients that get in.
Okay. So that's where we are focused. In
Andrew Michael: [00:08:15] focus. Yep. And from your side as well now, obviously launching the company, how old is the company?
Emily: [00:08:22] We were born in 2019, beginning of 2019, and we started commercializing just last year in January. So yeah. Those two years.
Andrew Michael: [00:08:36] And how have you been approaching your own sort of customer success set up?
How are you using Froged? Maybe less than I'd like some interesting ways that you've been using the tool to help retain customers.
Emily: [00:08:47] Okay. In our case, yes, I can see you say, Oh, we use Froged with ourselves. So we are like the first client. of Froged Is great because we test very much within.
Our own [00:09:00] platform and test with with our current clients. So basically it's a beat us, as I say we buy it, even though at the very beginning, we just have a few, a bunch of clients, so we don't have those many, but it's true that we divide. Then the clients, we did a specific onboardings depending on the kind of clients they are.
And we worked very much. Indeed. We always calibrate, so we test very much the platform, the tool when for simple onboarding clients we use because within those functionalities we include Both a pull and push. So for example, we have in our messaging, but we also have behavioral Malian.
And so we use those tools so that we are Ghanaian very personalized onboardings for users. So we always say that. We live in a very digital world, but it tries to become the more human eyes as possible at that passes through the [00:10:00] idea of that. Every individual is quite unique and they really want to feel unique.
And it, it starts with the onboarding. And it was funny because yesterday was stuck in with with a client and he pointed out these, this topic and he said, Emily it is true that normally clients, they are attracted to your product. But they really like you for your own boarding or your activation.
So that's what really makes them feel understood. And somehow to that their expectations will be fulfilled somehow. So it's so important that really first moment that they have with your platform.
Andrew Michael: [00:10:46] Yeah, absolutely. We talk about this a lot on the show. I think onboarding is probably one of the number one most spoken about topics on the show and it definitely is I think it's for a few reasons, like one, it said moment in time where they can actually [00:11:00] see.
Has the, is there a product fit with the promise fit? So is your marketing aligned with the product you're actually delivering? But I think also because what's really interesting is that it's the most attention you ever going to get from your customers at any given time is the time when they're onboarding.
It's that moment of made a conscious decision to sign up and use your product. And I think more often than not as well, these opportunities go to waste. And I don't think people understand what an opportunity is at that moment in time. They think that it's possible to bring people back with lifecycle marketing emails and sort of these campaigns typically never tend to be really effective.
So spending the time to create, like you said, a really well-crafted personalized onboarding experience for your customers is probably one of the most impactful things you can do for retaining them in the longterm and getting them set up right. To begin with.
Emily: [00:11:47] Fully agree.
Andrew Michael: [00:11:49] What's one thing that you think you've implemented unique in your onboarding experience that you've proven to see like really effective is any specific message or [00:12:00] email or any experience within the app that you think is unique to what you've implemented at frog?
Emily: [00:12:06] As I said, Andrew we always try to humanize that, that process and to personalize it as much as possible. Even though we are talking on a tech thoughts. Okay. When we mostly focused and something that is really work in variable is yes, these kind of messages or short beat news that appear.
As in app messages when these users are onboarding in the platform we really make a lot of attention in them and we always try, we use your more quiet a lot, and we think This is somehow getting attention and getting also that connection would they use and we do believe that somehow this is engaging the youth of where the platform.
Yeah. This is, of course this is the section and uninstall that every company has to define in our case this is working [00:13:00] quite a lot. And so the idea of personalizing, so not everyone is gonna receive or is not gonna. Go through the same process, but all of them are aiming to the same goals, but even the own timings, these connected with these humor more or dislike humor is like showing our personality and that, that is having a, we, the believe is having a great effect.
Andrew Michael: [00:13:28] Yeah. I think at the end of the day, you're dealing with humans a lot of the times, like we forget when you build software, that's it doesn't matter like what their background is, what their role is like a people still, if they find something funny, they're going to find it funny. And so I think,
Emily: [00:13:44] The psyche creating that connection is is what, at the very end you are aiming on, you're looking into, so yeah, with the thing that that's a great way.
Andrew Michael: [00:13:55] as well, videos, there's a part of the component of your onboarding, a personalized [00:14:00] videos. So what do you have in these videos typically? And when you say personalized videos, is it from your perspective, like it's the team personally introducing the product or are you actually making one-to-one videos for customers coming through the door?
Emily: [00:14:13] Okay. We have that in mind. It's not yet on the table, but yeah. You're probably moving into to that idea. Yeah, so far it's yeah. Videos from the team and related very much for the moment. Of course the message is not just the video of what it has a part. So in that part, we personalize it.
So we addressed it to there. Client or the user specifically. And yeah, so studies I think it's a way as you say so behind the, so various human, so at the brand, we are touching them, that person and connected with that person. And of course, given them what they are respecting, but not forgetting that there is someone behind.
So yeah, that's a good idea.
Andrew Michael: [00:14:57] Nice. So one question I [00:15:00] ask every guest that joins the show. Let's imagine sort of a hypothetical scenario now that you go off and you join a new company and this company, like they're not doing great with gender and retention. And the CEO comes to you and says, Hey, Emily we really need to turn things around.
We need to do it fast. We have 90 days to try and make a dent in churn. What would you want to be doing with that time? And how would you make an impact?
Emily: [00:15:25] Okay. Okay. So I suppose I get eight and I have 90 days. Okay. So the first thing is analyzing what the company is currently doing. And also I've been to beat the numbers and the metrics and how what is going on within this department of Yeah, customer success, support, understanding a beat, which is the behavior relating it to the product.
Of course, we need to understand very much the pro and I'll beat this connection as I was saying before. And then [00:16:00] one's understood Where the problem is focus. I would always just start like testing and doing proposals and testing those proposals. We would go with group though, few users, maybe of client on trying to implement new policies whenever a company is suffering from churn.
I remember Going back and out from my current current role as part of these funny, or I put the teakettle company you telling me about, but I remembered that we have we actually have a client who told us about these, exactly this problem, and the day stopped. It stopped the sales machine.
So they stopped from selling because they had a very high rates of churn. And so what they do is for three months, they stopped and check what was happening in site to understand which processes had to be changed. And what was the big holes and what was happening. So this is something that's. [00:17:00] At some point could be done, so for a company is so important to understand what is happening.
So also going deep. Do you understand what these clients are turning and who are not staying longer and understanding what is happening so that the measures that we can implement they really are useful. I will, I would add under the would you believe. The churn is very much connected to this onboarding and activation process that we are super talking about.
And that is something that I would also put hands on and understand. So I've very well activated and onboarded client is is a client, which would cause. Much less support incidences. And that will turn less. So that's a big my patient. So this is like a beat the lines that I would follow.
[00:18:00] Andrew Michael: [00:18:00] Yeah, absolutely. A hundred percent agree. Like the, in terms of activating customers, it's super critical if you really want to reduce a trend in the long run as well. And it has the compounding effect of keeping more people around for longer as well. And I think one of the things That people often do when they're thinking about, okay, what do I need to do to turn around a churn?
Is there immediate responses to go and look at the customers that are churning and see what's going wrong? And why are they leaving? But more often than not, sometimes it can be even more impactful to actually look at those that are successful. What are they doing? That's going right for these customers.
And then reverse engineering that for new customers who are seeing a care, like, how can we get. The rest of our customers to this happy state that we've got this core set of customers too. And we've had a few interesting episodes on the show as well. We interviewed the CEO of superhuman and that a really interesting approach to testing their product market fit where they basically segmented their audience down and [00:19:00] looking at the customer satisfaction.
So like question asking is like, how likely would you. No. Sorry, what is it? How would you feel if you could no longer use our productive service? Yeah. And then based on the score, what they went in did was like segmented the audience down and they found that there was a core set of the customers that had a really high score.
And they knew there was some strong product market fit from them. And then they just started doubling down on that segment, understanding it better. Trying to improve the features. And then what they also did was ask a follow-up question around what could, what's one thing that we could do that would make like our products unstoppable and like a super power for you.
And then anything that didn't align with. What they believed was the main core experience of the product they discarded and anything that there was in line. And those are the people that they really took our feedback on board and their work to try and improve the product and iterated the way basically to product market fit slowly but surely.
Emily: [00:19:58] Yeah, it is true under that. [00:20:00] Always having a look to the two are different or from a different angle will give you far wider vision of what is happening. And yeah, I do. I do completely agree with the idea of not only interviewing and knowing very much with leaving, but understanding who is really making full use and is a power user of your platform or your tool, your product is also gonna give you very good clues of what should be implemented in the rest.
Yeah. Yeah, I did. But if are, can do a grade.
Andrew Michael: [00:20:35] Cool. Last question for the day then. What's one thing that, you know today about churn and retention that you wish you knew when you got started?
Emily: [00:20:44] That's a hard one. We have learned so many things, so just summing up in one. I would say that that.
I've been I've been talking so much about these, but at the very, when we [00:21:00] started, we didn't see that much connection. As I say, from onboarding and activation. To turn what didn't, we weren't that much aware as we are today and not only onboarding and activation, but I could say that the first seven days and the first three days within those seven are the most important they were in the activation process.
So if we knew that at the very beginning, it could probably would have helped us That's a be faster forward, but yeah. Yeah, I would say that's
Andrew Michael: [00:21:38] it. Interesting one. Yeah, I think that was one of the episodes. I think we interviewed Sean Klaus from Atlassian and one of the interesting things that they found as well, like through all the analysis they try to do to understand what is the best indicator for retention?
What it came down to in the end was actually the time of the first session. So how [00:22:00] long. People spent in their product on their first session was like, it was crazy. The correlation that had between retention. And I think like anything over 30 minutes was almost like guaranteed to be like a knit positive net, negative retention on the account.
And it's just goes back to things like the time that you have with them at the very beginning is the most critical, important time. And that's when they're going to show you and give you the most. Tension. So maximizing that and taking advantage is really where you're going to see the biggest.
Emily: [00:22:34] like dance. Yeah. Completely
Andrew Michael: [00:22:37] cool. Emily. It's been a pleasure having you on the show today. Is there any final thoughts you want to leave the listeners with anything they should be aware of to keep up to speed with your work?
Emily: [00:22:47] And sure there is one thought. Was assistant to to a webinar, not like a few weeks ago, I would say it was in December, early December.
And for any company, mainly [00:23:00] SaaS. If they are questioning when is the right moment to implement a customer success process as they were suggesting and tenon is like part of the growth strategy itself. So whenever you plan that in advance that is something that really helps you step forward and and avoid.
Possible not only bottlenecks, but problems that you may face. Yeah, including that as part of the growth strategy is something that I would recommend and that we do with ourselves.
Andrew Michael: [00:23:35] Yeah, I think one of those things that customer success is typically not framed from a growth mindset in the sentence in a lot of companies still seen as a cost center.
And a lot of times they struggle to prove the ROI. But slowly I think that definitely that mindset is changing a lot in the industry. People are really starting to understand and see the value of a well structured customer success team and engine within a company. [00:24:00] So yeah, that's a good point.
Making sure you have it up and writing early from the beginning, like a plan at least of how you're going to go about implementing it, because it really is going to help drive growth for the business end of the day.
Emily: [00:24:12] Yeah. That sense. So thank you very much, Andrew, for the opportunity and for being here with you today.
Andrew Michael: [00:24:19] Thank you. I wish you best of luck now going forward into 2021.
Emily: [00:24:23] Yeah. Same for you there.
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My name is Andrew Michael and I started CHURN.FM, as I was tired of hearing stories about some magical silver bullet that solved churn for company X.
In this podcast, you will hear from founders and subscription economy pros working in product, marketing, customer success, support, and operations roles across different stages of company growth, who are taking a systematic approach to increase retention and engagement within their organizations.