How to collect retention driving feedback

Matt Young




Matt Young
Matt Young

Episode Summary

Today on the show we have Matt Young, CEO of UserVoice

In this episode, Matt shares how he has navigated the shift from CTO to CEO with his biggest learning along the way.

We then discussed how UserVoice uses its product to collect user feedback, why user interviews are the most impactful form of customer feedback, how you can maximise the time invested while doing them and we we wrapped up by discussing how to avoid confirmation bias while conducting your research.

Mentioned Resources



How Matt has navigated the shift from CTO to CEO. 00:01:52
How UserVoice uses its product to collect user feedback. 00:19:07
Why User Interviews are the most impactful form of customer feedback and how to maximize the time invested. 00:24:00
How to avoid confirmation bias in user interviews. 00:28:04



[00:01:22] Andrew Michael: hey, Matt. Welcome to the show. 

[00:01:24] Matt Young: Uh, thanks, Andrew. Great 

[00:01:25] Andrew Michael: to be. It's great to have you for the listeners. Matt is the CEO of user voice, a product feedback management platform that enables business to make data driven product decisions and prioritize feature requests by making customer feedback more meaningful prior to being made CEO at user voice, Matt was the VP of engineering.

And before that, he served as the VP and CTO at. So my first question for you, Matt is now that you've served at as a C level at two different roles. What have you found to be the biggest difference between being CTO and CEO? 

[00:01:59] Matt Young: Oh [00:02:00] gosh. Um, Way to take someone out their comfort zone, especially if you're an engineer and a, and a technically minded person.

I think most engineers that you talk to are logical people and they like things to be predictable and, and organized and moving from a, uh, engineering leadership position into a organization, leading, um, position. It shifts the role from that of being a, uh, logical person to a logical plus people person.

And, uh, for, for most engineers who I think are introverts, that's been a, a very interesting challenge, but also a source of tremendous growth. I think I've really en enjoyed the, um, the challenges that it's presented before me. But yeah, it was kind of an interesting story how we got there. It, it happened because we, we came up with another product and the existing CEO was a founder of the company, wanted to spin that off into another organization and.

You know, he and I had had been close in terms of [00:03:00] strategizing on, on the company, direct me. He's like, I think you should take over. I was like, this is never in the playbook for me. Um, yeah, but I think that, you know, there's no CEO school, so everyone has a story like that. If they've, they've landed in that position and, and you know, you have to be comfortable winging it in a lot of, in a lot 

[00:03:17] Andrew Michael: of ways.

Nice. Yeah. I can never see that people aspect, uh, being a shift and it changes. , um, it is something and it's very, very interesting. You also mentioned as well, like being an introvert, uh, and then going on to sort of lead. And I think this is one of the things that I it's often it's like. In the past, when we've had discussions and we've spoken to people, it's like introvert was like, you need to, uh, get better and be more outward and like work on these skills where I think a lot of the times it should be the opposites.

It's like where extroverts like myself as well, need to work on becoming more introvert and being more accepting for those around us and things like this. And this. Really interesting thing. Somebody mentioned to me a few years back and I always think about it, say, okay, [00:04:00] there's a really, really strong skillset and being an introvert and there's really, really strong sense in being extroverted, but there's also equally as bad on either side.

It's really important for both to understand the weaknesses and strengths. How do you see it as being back and more of an introvert character then coming to CEO? 

[00:04:14] Matt Young: Yeah. It's, it's interesting that you said that I hadn't thought about, um, I think for most introverts, they, they look with envy at extroverts, like, oh, it's gotta be so easy for them.

They can just relate to anyone without, yeah. Expending so much energy. Um, but I, I never thought about the counter position of an extrovert needing to reign it in sometimes. Um, it's, it's really not bad. I think that most introverts it's, it's not about, um, not wanting those connections or, or. Being bad at them.

It just tends to take more energy, I think, than, than, um, for extroverted people, for whom, you know, they, they feed off of that, that interaction with people. Um, the, the growth has been in making sure that I, um, [00:05:00] Express empathy in a really humanistic way. Um, maybe a lot of introverts. This is at least true for me.

I don't know if others, but, um, think logically about inputs and outputs. And you know, if a human being is told this, then this is the thing that they should do. And. That's nonsense. Like , it just doesn't work that way. um, so, uh, you know, understanding that that people are, are all gonna be different and handle things in different ways.

And just being understanding of that, that's been, uh, a, quite an education and a really valuable one. 

[00:05:33] Andrew Michael: I've seen that as well, working with previous leaders and so forth, making this transition. That is one of the more difficult things to understand. Uh, so 

[00:05:42] Matt Young: cool. So you find yourself occasionally being frustrated by some of those things.

And, uh, you know, it's probably the greatest source of stress in the job that you really, um, Want everything to be lined up and perfect. And it's never so convenient. Uh, yeah, it's, [00:06:00] uh, it's probably the biggest source of stress. I think in being a CEO independent of, of retention, new business sales, managing cash, all that stuff.

It's making sure that. Are all getting what they need. 

[00:06:12] Andrew Michael: And I think also the tough thing is, well, as the expectation side of things, like I think generally, um, at least from my perspective, see, I set unrealistic expectations for myself and then like trying to be wary of not doing the same for others around me, uh, is very, like, we always wanna get the best outta your own.

But sometimes like, I think least from my side, I can be overly optimistic and. I also need to like, be wary of that when I'm working with others and what the expectations should be, and shouldn't be, 

[00:06:38] Matt Young: yeah, I think there's, there's also an expectation from people who work for you, that you have all the answers and, uh, there, there's an interesting evolution of.

Uh, that myth being broken for them. And then coming to realize that that's a strength, right? Like being able to admit when you don't know, and then bringing that culture [00:07:00] to the entire organization. We, we try to foster a culture of experimentation where, uh, being wrong is a really good thing. If, if we can learn a lot from it.

Uh, and I think most people, this, this, I find true, especially in the United States. Um, people have this expectation of perfection for themselves. Which is, is highly unrealistic. 

[00:07:21] Andrew Michael: Yeah. I love that. Uh, the previous company I used to work with as well, that was, we had a similar culture, uh, where it was like, you weren't expected to have all the answers, but like you expect to be transparent and learn and test and iterate constantly.

And. Definitely something I think is really, really important because you don't slack in today's market. In today's environment, things are changing so fast. It's impossible for anybody to have all the answers, no matter how much experience you've gathered over the years as well, you may be able to weather through, uh, those scenarios and figure out solutions faster.

But. Being able to admit that and having the team around you that understands that to support you, I think is, is a superpower when you get there. 

[00:07:58] Matt Young: Yeah. It it's [00:08:00] necessary. And one of the few things that I think just takes a lot of experience to get good at 

[00:08:05] Andrew Michael: sure. So that's, you've been in the role now almost three years that I remember that correctly.

I'm just trying to recall from LinkedIn. Yeah. Um, what's, what's happened in that time. Like, um, how, how do you see the product evolving now? And. 

[00:08:21] Matt Young: uh, well, we, we had a pandemic that was a thing. And we're, we're now in the middle of a pretty shaky economy, uh, globally. So really one of the things that happens in, in, in our business, uh, and our primary buyer is in product management.

Uh, product management software is not yet at a level like sales and marketing software or engineering software where people understand. What the, the common software tools are that you need and the budgets that should be allocated for them in sales. Everyone will tell you that you need a CRM. You, if you do outbound, you need outbound tools for that.

You need, um, software that figures out information [00:09:00] about your buyers and the companies that they work for and all that stuff. And in engineering, you, you might use software to execute agile practices and, and all of that, but in product management, People look for roadmap tools. They look for behavioral analytics tools.

They look for design tools. They look for product feedback tools like ours. Um, but there aren't clear budgets set and there isn't a clear, um, methodology set across product management yet. So even before the pandemic came into the mix, that was one of the, the things that we were wrestling with trying to, you know, help people arrive at a common set of goals in using software tools to help them do their jobs better.

When the pandemic hit budgets were getting slashed left and right with the economy, change, budgets, get slashed left and right. So without the benefit of that expectation of the need for those tools, um, reasserting the value of, um, you know, in our case to tool that actually helps you really [00:10:00] understand your customer's problems and how that is a, uh, something that's even more necessary.

When resources are short, you have fewer people, you have less money. Why wouldn't you wanna automate the ability to like really see what your target market wants to have? Um, you know, we, we cost a fraction of what a full-time employee costs and can do much more work than a full-time employee could be expected to do in terms of understanding your user base.

Um, it's, it's really interesting seeing like the, um, The lack of clarity in, in that understanding, um, that comes up. So it's been a challenge, but I think, uh, if anything, it, it puts into even more stark contrast what we need to learn about the mentality of, of someone buying software like ours. 

[00:10:49] Andrew Michael: For sure. I, I still like, there's one of these things, um, that David do, the CEO of said to me one point was like, when thinking about your products, you always wanna try and [00:11:00] understand like where on the budget list.

Uh, do you lie? Uh, so are you gonna be the first to go the door? Are you gonna be the last. And are you the most important components? And I definitely see that with products tools, as you mentioned, it's not, it's not really clear at the moment there isn't that established value in understanding like what the ROIs of tools like yourself, like user voice and others.

Um, we know that they're valuable, but I don't think anybody's really got to the point where they understand, okay, this is a critical component and we cannot do without these tools yet. 

[00:11:32] Matt Young: I think it's it's because it's very difficult to quantify the value. If, if I was able to say, I think, uh, our company and most of our competitors and anyone who sells into product managers would, would wake up in a much more comfortable space tomorrow.

If there was a way to draw a, a solid line between a change to your product and how that impacts either retention or new business or what it does. But it's just so hard to do because there's so many variables. Going on [00:12:00] in the mix at best there's correlation, but not causation. And. 

[00:12:03] Andrew Michael: Yeah, I, I would say probably like the closest thing you can get to that is actually user feedback and it doesn't matter like what data you're collecting so forth.

Like you're always gonna get those correlations, but the causation, I think the closest thing you can is actually hearing it from the horse's mouth. And, um, so today I like I'm interested actually, in chatting to you about collecting feedback in order to understand, like, what are retention drivers mm-hmm uh, and how you go about thinking about the different touchpoint.

Uh, when reaching out to users and essentially like, how can you maximize the amounts of feedback and the input that you're getting from your customers, uh, while balancing, like not pissing them off by being too pushy into too, in their face. So I'm pretty sure, like we were talking about a, of this before.

This is something that you think a lot about said user voice, and, um, maybe let's start off with like, the first question is like, I'm a, a startup. Now I wanna introduce a tool to understand my [00:13:00] customers better. Like. What would be the place like you recommend people actually get started, uh, when it comes to collecting feedback?

[00:13:07] Matt Young: Yeah. Um, the most important takeaway, I think is that no matter where you are, whether you're pre-market, um, in an alpha test or something like that, you need to be getting feedback about your software right away. And, uh, using a tool like ours at that stage is a mistake. Don't do it. Um, start, uh, actually talking to people face to face.

Look at their body language. Uh, see how they. React to your description of the problem, the description of the solution that you have in mind, their actual usage of it, et cetera. Um, when people come to us, especially if they're a very new company, we always ask them whether they, they have a hundred customers yet.

And if you don't yet have a hundred customers, Using your people, uh, to talk to them is, is much more important. You only end up with like a scale problem after you get to, uh, a hundred or so customers. And that's when having some automation and the tools [00:14:00] can, can really be of, of great assistance at some point, um, your team might get overwhelmed with the amount of, of feedback that's coming your way.

And I'll, you know, whether or not you use a tool to collect feedback, you're getting it. Your, your sales team is doing demos. Your success team, who's helping people along the way. They're hearing about the things that people like and dislike and the problems that they're facing, the ones that you solve.

Well, the ones that you don't solve well at all, you're getting it. Whether or not you record it is, uh, a different challenge altogether. So, um, once you, once you cross a hundred or so customers, and, and there's some variance in that, obviously like there's some businesses out there. Uh, only sell to five, you know, whale size customers and, and they'll wanna be able to capture all their feedback if they have a lot of users.

Um, but once, once you cross that, making sure that you are constantly capturing anything and everything you hear about the product gives you this really nice passive way to collect a bunch of [00:15:00] feedback. And there's no perception of, of being annoying to your customers, cuz you, at this point, haven't gone.

And ask them to fill out a survey or anything. They freely offered you this information during some natural touchpoint anyway. So you just wanna make sure you've got a tool in place that lets you capitalize on that. Yeah, right away. Yep. Um, it's a different, uh, story when you want to go actively solicit feedback.

And, and we tend to think about, uh, passively gathered feedback and actively gathered feedback in two different ways. It's very true. And you're right to mention. It's easy to overwhelm people with requests, for feedback about your product. Uh, it doesn't take anything, but a quick look in your email inbox to see that we're all overwhelmed, like with, Hey, could you just take a few minutes to tell us about this or that?

And what do you do with it? Nothing. Um, you, you don't answer them like you're, uh, this, this was something that about a year ago we looked into in depth, we surveyed. More than a thousand B2B SaaS [00:16:00] software users to ask them what their attitudes were about. Providing feedback to companies. Um, a couple of, of not surprising takeaways from that, um, much more likely to provide feedback if it is a product that is critical to your job.

um, there is a lot of software that people use that just gets handed to them, but it's kind of peripheral to what they do think about things like expense reports and all that stuff. Like you have to do it, but it's probably not your job. Um, but the tool that you use every day for your job, you'll be more inclined to provide feedback for.

Um, the second thing is you have to have some sense of confidence that it's gonna get read. It's gonna be acted on it's gonna be used, um, that it's considered, um, in the grand scheme of things, but the biggest. Reason by far that people don't provide feedback about the software that they use is that they weren't tasked.

So there are some people who are really, really. They ring their hands, like, especially marketing people say, oh, we, we can't overwhelm them with all this [00:17:00] stuff. Um, but if all of your signal to your customer base is through marketing messaging or, or retention calls or something like that, you have to leave yourself a little bit of room to talk about product functionality and feedback.

So, um, just by, by asking, you never know what you might learn. A lot of product teams are kind of afraid of what you might get from that, but it's, it's really important. 

[00:17:24] Andrew Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And I, interesting you say is all the points around, like the number of customers being roughly a hundred before that you don't really have a scale problem.

Uh, I agree with that. And then. Just really trying to speak to as many customers as possible and the different touchpoint, like I, myself, him going through a similar journey as well with w now. And just trying to think about like all the different touchpoints where we can add for customer feedback and how we can start collecting as much as possible.

Um, like one of the things I think is an earliest stage startup that we have is on the welcome email. It's literally like book a time, uh, to have a demo, to have a chat [00:18:00] and discuss feedback, like trying to install different touchpoints. Personally, like I'm not really worried with the notion of like irritating or pissing off customers for asking for too much feedback, because I think the inverse is far, far worse.

Like not collecting enough feedback and not improving and iterating fast enough. Like it is just going to be a terrible situation for everybody in the end as well. 

[00:18:22] Matt Young: We've all gotten used to ignoring things we don't want to do. And actually people, um, In our own retention, um, analysis for our own customer base.

If we ask you to talk about our product and you don't reply, that is information itself. So even using the, the non-response as a data point is an important one that helps with, with understanding your attention. 

[00:18:47] Andrew Michael: Yeah. Like you said, as well. So I guess it's not a part of your core, uh, job. You're less likely to respond to it.

So if less people are responding to your surveys, like you maybe need to be thinking as well. How do I become more part of the core part of their [00:19:00] workflow so that I do start collecting more avid, uh, uh, feedback from customers. So, um, nice. And then, so how do you go then yourselves? Like it's a user voice now at the stage, you fit a bit of scale.

Uh, how do you go and collect feedback yourself? So you it's rating on the product? Like, what is your setup? Look. 

[00:19:19] Matt Young: Uh, yeah, so we use our own product naturally, um, to collect passive feedback. We've got, uh, user voices first, uh, thing that are brought to market back in 2008. And I think we were the first to have done this was to put up a portal where anyone can go anytime and, and look through ideas that other people have had offer your own ideas up, vote things.

Tell us whether an idea is critically important to you or whether, you know, it's kind of a, more of a nice to have, um, Those sites were initially trafficked very heavily when first released in 2008, probably through about 2015, but, um, more likely to work these days [00:20:00] are a, a targeted request to get people to say something.

So either through an in-app tool and those, you also have gotten a little bit noisy over the years, you know, everyone's got a, a chat bot somewhere or. You know, 65 trinkets decorating the right side of your, your website that, that no one's gonna pay any attention to anymore. Um, so we, uh, use user voice, uh, internally, primarily, uh, and most of our customers do this too, where we're, we're kind of sitting where.

The data comes in in customer success systems in CRM systems, in support systems like Zendesk. So if you get a ticket, uh, people might be asking how to do something, but just as often, they're asking for something that your product doesn't do so we can grab that right there. And, and then, so then your, your support agents, your customer success team and your sales team become a primary interface to gather a bunch of feedback.

Um, a tool like ours. Can't do it all. Um, I think [00:21:00] a lot of people, when they first start talking to us, they, they ask us to make the case like, well, you know, how does your tool tell us what to do? Um, it, it doesn't right. It , yeah. It gives you a lot of information to help you make that decision a lot more easily.

So, um, All the data that we collect, we use, um, user voice just as yet another, uh, a very rich source of data that we can go mine. When we have an idea like, Hey, we should look into this. We can see what themes come outta, the feedback that we're getting. And then we can start using, um, the, the data that we've collected to dig in more and often it's as much about what got said.

As who said it, um, that we're looking for, we're able to segment the data into markets that we care about, what kind of, uh, plan there on where they might be geographically, what industry they're in, et cetera. Um, so we, we try to marry what we're looking into with our business goals, which often have more metadata [00:22:00] around them about segmentation, et cetera.

Um, and because we've Al also captured who said, what. One of those huge problems, like actually arranging interviews, finding people who are willing to talk to you that problem's already solved, because I can say, I know that these 10 people are interested. If I go ask them for 15 minutes to chat, they're, they've already expressed interest in this problem.

So they're, they're more likely to talk to me. It makes it really easy to coordinate, um, that next order conversation, which is a one-on-one interview, uh, which we do a ton. 

[00:22:32] Andrew Michael: That's definitely. I think that was one of the things I learned from surveys. Great trick is just at the end of the survey's like, would you be willing to, uh, chat further about this, leave your email or opt in.

And then I've got a really like rich list of users that you can reach out to and say, Hey, like you submitted. Uh, and also I think segmentation, when it comes to like feedback is key. Like not all feedback is. So having something like user voice, we can enable to actually quantify and understand who it came from and the segments that they're in [00:23:00] really helps you to learn and prioritize more effectively as well.

[00:23:04] Matt Young: Yeah, we can, we can say things like, um, you know, here are the, the hundred people that want this feature and they represent 37. If you're a B2B company, 37 different accounts, and here's the collective value of all of, of those accounts. And that's not to say. By doing this thing, you're magically gonna retain all of that business.

But when you compare that idea versus others, um, I think similar to what you said, if you, if you ask people in a survey, are you willing to talk to me for 15 minutes afterwards? If you compare survey to survey, you can see that that, uh, one topic was much more popular than another. And that relative comparison really helps quite a.

[00:23:47] Andrew Michael: Yeah, very interesting. And you said then you do a ton of, uh, user interviews, uh, yourselves. Like what does that process look like then? 

[00:23:56] Matt Young: Yeah. Um,[00:24:00] 

most people when they use a, um, a survey or any kind of automated feedback tool are gonna speak to you in terms of solutions. Um, they're gonna ask you about what your software should do, um, what your product should do for people. Um, It's critically important to understand why they're asking for that.

What is the problem that they're solving for? How does it relate to their job? Uh, how often do they do it? If you can get any sense of like how emotionally invested they are in this aspect of their job, is it something that's tedious and boring to them? And, and if you can just make it take less long, it'll be less painful for them.

Or this is the thing that, you know, Hey, if you can do this for me, I'm gonna impress my boss. I'm gonna move up the corporate ladder. You are really gonna help me make a name for myself. That's the kind of thing that you you're rarely gonna get in written word, cuz people tend to write pretty Tely and, and it's hard to see, but when we do a, a face to face meeting, whether it's electronic or, or in the [00:25:00] old days in person to see their body language, to see them.

Light up to see them looking bored, uh, or, you know, I don't know why you're talking about this to me. Like I just don't care. Um, that meta information that's coming over with the words that they say is, is really important. We spend a lot of time at user voice, um, role playing how to get better at, at getting to the root cause of why people are presenting a, a sales objection or a, you know, when they tell you like, Hey, we're gonna churn.

Um, A lot of companies will ask why and you'll get an answer, but that's not the real answer. Like it takes more work, dig that. Yeah. And it's something that most people I think are pretty uncomfortable. Like, you know, the five whys thing is famous, but you can't just go. Why, why, why, why, why are people see right through that?

I know what you, how do you adapt that conversation to something that looks much more natural, like a conversation, but then gets you to that. Oh, your problem is really this. So then, uh, we, we take all that [00:26:00] information that we gather through those, those one-on-one conversations. And that's when I think innovation starts, I understand your problem.

I want to try to come up with a solution to that problem that is gonna just nail it for you, um, and, and make it unquestionable that you need to keep our tool, uh, in your, in 

[00:26:17] Andrew Michael: your tool. Yeah. Uh, what you mentioned with body language and stuff. I found this really fascinating as well, doing a user interview myself, uh, previously we talking to a, a customer and basically like their problem was that it was working, I think was a guy, was from Kenya.

And they used to have customers in a lot of different villages. And there was a specific, uh, village where. Everybody was incredibly polite. Like it wasn't in their nature to be blunt or direct. And, uh, he used to say like the only way to get feedback and understand what people thought about the product was to do face to face.

And the only thing they would do in the interviews was watch their body language and their facial expressions, uh, because no [00:27:00] matter what question was asked. Like it was gonna be a good answer. It was gonna be a positive response. Uh, but really just watching for the subtleties and the body language and understanding, okay, like I asked this question, they said it was good, but three people like squinted their face a little bit.

Yeah. They gave this off look and those were like the only signals that could go off. And I found that really, really interesting from like a user behavior and analysis perspective really is like, Even correct surveys, you have these interviews, but a lot of times, like it's in the subtle details that really make the difference.

And like you said, being able to understand those body language and, uh, effectively translate that as well, uh, is really powerful. It 

[00:27:34] Matt Young: does. I think, you know, if you've been around product development long enough, um, most people don't want to be rude and especially if you're showing them something in person that's not asynchronous.

They're, they're gonna say generally positive things, no matter what. And if you've, if you've got confirmation bias at play, You're only gonna be listening, uh, with happy years to the things that you want, but, um, really getting good at understanding the, the shades of gray in [00:28:00] there is, is critically important to make sure that you make the right choices.

How do you avoid confirmation bias? Oh, good Lord. Um, we, we, we spend quite a lot of time, um, not making interview scripts. Uh, I think the, the more, uh, guardrails you put around the set of questions that you want to ask for a user who's reviewing a prototype or, you know, talking to about a problem. Um, we usually don't even ask questions.

We'll say things like, tell me more about that. Uh, or, uh, we try to just leave things as, as open-ended as possible. Um, Without any, any leading anything. And it, it means that you as a interviewer are gonna say very few words, um, and just leave either uncomfortable silences or, or places for people to talk.

When you do that, you, you tear down, [00:29:00] uh, Some of the, the barriers that are created just by the artificial nature of an interview like this, where you feel like it's a question and answer format. And if, if after 10 minutes you can get someone to a point where they feel like, oh, they're just here to listen to me.

Um, people jump into this next level where they're, they might share emotions where the, the language starts going from. Yeah. You know, this would be pretty good too. Like, you know, I, I don't really want this, um, you know, there's other things I would like. Much more than this, just by spending enough time and spending enough time getting the person into their real self rather than their interview self, um, tends to elicit the best information from people.

I'm trying to thing to me to see if I'll say more. [00:30:00] 

[00:30:00] Andrew Michael: I was just, yeah, I think uncomfortable silence is great to wait to listen more information and yeah, I definitely echo and see all of those things and interviews as well. Like when you. Can establish that really good relationship with an interview and they understand, okay, you are actively listening and trying to understand mm-hmm, what they're after.

Then you tend to get a lot more deeper, better feedback. That's uh, 

[00:30:23] Matt Young: we also, you know, we, we try to start with, um, it. Without it being inappropriate. We try to start with a personal question, which has actually gotten a lot more easier with a lot easier with people working at home. Like you can ask about something that's in their office, or, you know, if they, if you can hear kids in the background or something like that, like tell me about their kids.

Then they, they suddenly go from this like, oh, this is a formal thing with some, you know, you know, I've sent a director of product to talk to you like, oh, I've gotta be impressive now. No, you don't. I just wanna know what you think, what you really. 

[00:30:55] Andrew Michael: Yeah, it, it definitely the, the home dynamic has changed a lot.

It's weird that you said, cause [00:31:00] today actually I thought about it. I got a call today from our telephone, that communications provider here to sell us some services. Uh, and normally, like, I would be a little bit annoyed cuz I'm at work and I don't wanna be bothered by anything. And then I heard like in the background, like was his door to son like daddy?

Like, are you gonna come outside now? Whatever, like, no, I'm not coming out. I thought, okay, like this is a different call from a sales guy of thing. Like I actually spoke to him and had this conversation. Um, and it is weird. Like I think it is a lot easier to connect with people, uh, in different environments that maybe have been a little bit more formal and a little bit less comfortable previously.

When you feel in your safe space, I guess at the other. Of the cold. 

[00:31:37] Matt Young: Yeah. Yeah. Without there being, you know, the, the four white walls of a typical office conference room or something like that, it's, um, it it's been good in that. I feel like the, um, the connections that we make, we, we speak with our own customers.

We speak with people who are not our customers, who, who represent who buyers might be, but what we always try to make sure of is that, [00:32:00] uh, people come away with a feeling that they. Helped us. And that, uh, is something that most people value quite highly. 

[00:32:10] Andrew Michael: I think this is one of like, uh, really powerful thing or something we tried to introduce and we we're still working on is like, How do you recognize the people that really shape the product that you build as well?

Uh, one of the things ideas we still have and we working on is actually putting together a page on our website that recognizes everybody that sat through an interview and given us like really good feedback. Um, and we are probably gonna end up doing something for these members, uh, like special as well at the end of the day.

But, uh, like acknowledging the fact that really like, and truly this is something great that you're doing. Smiling. Are you gonna tell me something that you've done like this, or, yeah. Oh yeah. 

[00:32:49] Matt Young: Yeah. Uh, there, there is merit to that. Uh, the, the people who had the idea and the people that voted for the idea, if [00:33:00] you, um, you know, user voice does this, it records who sent the idea and whether or not you, you want to advertise what that person's name was publicly or not.

It's up to you, but, um, Literally like sending them the update, like, Hey, you know, Mary, you recommended this and it doesn't matter if it was Mary's idea. If you had it a long time ago or, you know, it'd been brought up a million times. If you say, Mary, thanks for offering this. We did it. And you have made, you know, you, you not only got what you want, but you've made all the other users of our product better.

Thank you. We couldn't have done it without you. Um, She's gonna come give you every idea she ever has from, from then on. So it, it does work and it works in a very non artificial way. You're not getting a badge for clicking a button or filling in a form or something like that. It's because what you said, uh, actually caused that is value.

Yeah. That's also, um, it gets even [00:34:00] more effective if you, uh, start sharing the process with people. Um, just in general, if you, if you start saying, Hey, when, when feedback comes in, Here's what we do. Um, and it, it takes away some of the anxiety about like, you know, we're, we're gonna get hundreds or thousands of ideas and we can't do them all, you know, there's however many people that work here.

Um, yeah, but here's how we consider it. Um, here's how we build software. Here's how we decide to release things. Here's, you know, you know, here's, um, Eileen and she works in marketing and she's trying to make sure. She's putting all, all the stuff together to help you start using the, the new functionality that we're putting out there.

If that person who submitted the idea understands that she set this giant machine in motion, like a team of 50 people started working on what she said. Like that's an overwhelmingly, nice feeling I think, to have in the. 

[00:34:55] Andrew Michael: Absolutely must be really special email to receive something like that as well. [00:35:00] 

[00:35:00] Matt Young: Yep.

Yeah. And if you send along in also, Hey, what's your t-shirt size then? That works really 

[00:35:04] Andrew Michael: well too. Yeah. Evangel for life. Uh, cool. I see. We're running up time. So I wanna make sure I have time to ask you a couple of questions. Ask every guest, uh, hypothetical scenario. You join a new. Uh, company channel.

Retention's not doing well at all. At this company, the CEO comes to you and says, Hey, Matt, you need to turn things around. You're in charge. You have 90 days. What do you do? The hard part for you is like the catches. You can't tell me. Okay, I'm gonna go speak to customers, understand the pain points and start from there.

You're just gonna take a tactic, uh, that you've seen work previously and run with it. Blindly hoping it works at this company as well. Like what would you wanna do? 

[00:35:45] Matt Young: Oh, gosh. Um, you took away my yes. you took away the right answer, right? You took away the yes, exactly. Exactly. You know, cause you're gonna get that answer a million times.

So this, this makes it much more interesting. Yeah. Um, [00:36:00] I am going to look at competitors who are beating us in the market and do a, uh, Side by side comparison of features of pricing, of perceived service. I'd probably go to places like G2 crowd and things like that to together the, uh, the data that I can get, that's probably not available in general from competitors, but how do their customers feel about them and try to see what it is about a competitor that makes them more favorable than us?

Is it, um, you know, This is great that those other guys are too expensive or, you know, the, the product features are here or there, or the, the help that we get, the community that we get, whatever it is. And, uh, if I can pick out what the major area of potential improvement is, then the next order research goes into [00:37:00] that.

Uh, what is it that we need? Do we need new pricing and packaging? Do we need new, um, Help for people who use our product to realize the best value, what is it gonna be? Um, so I think I would start with a competitive analysis to get moving, but I'm not sure that that's always gonna be the right play. It really depends on the company.

[00:37:21] Andrew Michael: Yeah, for sure. And you sort of copped out a little bit cuz it's his research in a way and you're going to understand the pain points or the things, but I, I get, it's a different take on it as well. So I mean, 

[00:37:32] Matt Young: if you, if you want the product manager answer, it's uh, using behavioral analytics to find out what the key value driving points are, people who stay versus not, but uh, being the company that we are, I really try to steer people away from like the hard quantitative approach.

Because it works well in high volume trial conversion, but not for ongoing long-term retention. 

[00:37:57] Andrew Michael: I, I definitely, I feel agree with that as well. [00:38:00] Is that like being somebody who is like really obsessed with having really good data analytics and everything set up, I still feel like the biggest value you gets is from like, it goes customer conversations actually face to.

User feedback, surveying, and then analytics, like at least for me, in terms of learnings that you can have improvement. Like that would be the order. I would put it in now after being like on the total opposite end of the scale, we believe in like data had all the answers and, uh, so yeah, 

[00:38:30] Matt Young: that's the, the same hierarchy I would put it into.

And, and a lot of people skip the customer interviews because coordinating them is, is hard. And especially if you're introverted, like it might be a little bit more scary to you. Yeah. Five of those to me is worth, you know, a hundred surveys being filled in or more 

[00:38:47] Andrew Michael: for sure, for sure. What's one thing that, you know today about sharing attention that you wish you knew when you got started with your career, 

[00:38:56] Matt Young: uh, that you are not going to get [00:39:00] customers to stay with you on the merits of your product alone.

Um, you need to be a company that backs your product. And have a relationship with the people. And I think that's, that becomes increasingly difficult to do as, uh, user bases grow larger. And, uh, the, I think the challenges that the, the interconnectedness of people, because of the technology that's available, uh, leads you to believe that a company should be able to handle you as an individual, um, elegant.

It's really hard to do. Right. Really hard to do, um, to make everyone feel like you're only customer to make everyone feel special. So to make the mistake, and this is tied into like just using the data, um, to look at retention, you, you can't just like watch behavior and say it's a numbers game and there's that sure.

You can become a unicorn. And I think most unicorns do [00:40:00] become unicorns because they're playing a numbers game, but that's not the kind of business I want to be. I wanna be someone who. Providing a tool that people become passionate about and feel like it really makes a difference in their life. And it's not just a transaction.

[00:40:14] Andrew Michael: Absolutely. It's a great way to finish, uh, as well. I think it's all about like understanding the value that we're delivering as well to our customers and being able to deliver on that. And if you can add that sort of personal touch to it, where people really feel connected to the company, to the product, to the service, like, uh, the end results, I think then will show in the ultimate retention that you have as a business.

[00:40:37] Matt Young: It generates trust and trust is not something that you can often achieve during a sales cycle. No. 

[00:40:44] Andrew Michael: Well, Matt has been a pleasure having you on the show today. Thanks so much for joining, uh, is any final thoughts you wanna leave the listeners with like anything they should be aware of on your end? 

[00:40:55] Matt Young: Oh gosh.

Well visit user If any of this has been interesting to you and, and you'd like to take a [00:41:00] look at what we offer. Um, just in general though, we, um, If you guys have any thoughts about what you've heard here and, and want to share yours free interview for us would love for all to get in touch and, and more than receptive to anything that you have to say about any, anything we've discussed today.

[00:41:18] Andrew Michael: Awesome. Uh, we'll definitely make sure to leave the links as well. Anything we mentioned today in the show notes, so you can check that out. Uh, thanks so much again for doing that, and I wish you best of luck going forward now. Uh, thanks 

[00:41:29] Matt Young: very much into you too. 

[00:41:31] Andrew Michael: Cheers. 



Matt Young
Matt Young

The show

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.


Listen To Next