I interviewed Jordan Boesch, CEO of 7shifts, about customer onboarding, user feedback, and customer retention. Watch the full video or skim the audio transcription about customer onboarding in this post.
Here’s a quick recap of what we covered:
Jordan took us back several years to explain how he built 7shifts as a side-project until it grew to sustain his full-time attention.
Jordan discussed how he acquired and trained users in the early days without a customer onboarding checklist.
- Jordan mentioned his customer onboarding best practices, like sending behavior-based emails and soliciting user feedback within his SaaS application.
The following is an audio transcription that was cleaned up for readability purposes.
Rodrigo Fuentes (“RF”): Okay. Hi everybody my name is Rodrigo and I am the co-founder of ListenLoop and today I am interviewing Jordan from 7shifts. Introducing Jordan here.
Jordan Boesch (“JB”): Hello there!
RF: Alright. So, first I want to talk about the startup journey. How would you describe 7shifts in under 50 words or so.
JB: So 7shifts is restaurant scheduling and time clocking software for restaurants, QSRs, and other food service industries.
RF: And what is your role at 7shifts?
JB: My role at 7 shifts as CEO, I’m wearing a lot of hats right now. So anything from design development, sales, you know writing, server configuration. Wearing a lot of hats right now but enjoying it. So we are a small team.
RF: Cool. And where are you guys currently based?
JB: Where are based out of Regina, Saskatchewan. For those who don’t know where that is, because a lot of people don’t, it’s right next door to Alberta in Canada. We are kind of in the middle of Canada. So if you are in the US we are right above Montana.
RF: So, Jordan, I want to talk about a couple of different topics today, customer onboarding, customer feedback, and retention. We’ll start with onboarding and really I want to take you back to the first days of 7shifts and I want you to describe your first sale or customer. You know, how did you bring them onboard. Tell me… Just kind of bring us back there. Tell me the story about that.
JB: Okay. There are two things. The very first solicited sale was actually a manager of a store that my dad owned. So I built 7shifts for Quiznos. My dad owned a few Quiznos restaurants franchises and he was having a hard time with scheduling and I always thought you know, it could be done so much better.
Using the little bit of programming knowledge that I had, I decided to build something where he could upload an excel spreadsheet and staff could download it and over time it just kind of evolved and everyone at the store used it. It evolved overtime to the point where you know I actually left Quiznos to go to school and kept working on it. I completely revamped the app to be so much more than just an excel upload app and all of a sudden I had built a billing component and everything.
Then one day I was sitting at work and I got the notification from PayPal that Quiznos had made a payment, and I was like, “Oh my God, they paid for it?”
I hadn’t been working there for a year or so, but yeah, they got their credit card out. They had been using it for a bit and they ended up paying for it. So that was the first sale, but I kind of had a little bit of a hand in that because my dad owned the store.
Actually, our first customer after that was surprisingly A&W. So A&W is pretty huge. They have 1,200 locations across the world, franchises, and one of them was in Vancouver, BC. I got the same kind of notice that they signed up with us. In just one of the stores – not the entire group. That would have been amazing but one of their stores signed-up… and they started paying, and I was like “Oh my God! A&W is using this? They find it useful?”
It was a complete shock filled with pure excitement knowing that this is a product that is going to work for a much larger market.
RF: That’s really exciting. Tell me about how you brought these customers onboard. Did you have a new customer onboarding checklist? I mean did you have to go to their location and train the employees on how to use it? At that point was the software self-serve enough to just let them loose inside of the application? Tell us about that customer onboarding process.
JB: The onboarding process was so… It wasn’t good. I mean it was just me doing it in my spare time, and the app wasn’t… The app was okay but it wasn’t very friendly in terms of walking people through or how to get started (like a nice setup wizard or whatever you want to call it). Here’s the flow: you get into the app and “see you later, have fun” and “if you figured it out, great. If you didn’t, well that sucks for both of us.”
JB: So, you know, she [A&W] figured it out. She had a lot of client onboarding questions and we exchanged emails about the onboarding process was just via email and me trying to help her understand certain things. And she got it for the most part and they ended up staying with us for, you know, a number of years. You know, I think two years they stayed with us before management changed and they ended up ditching it. So, it was fun while it lasted and it’s always an exciting story to tell because it was the first one that just came in organically through Google, so that was pretty awesome.
RF: That’s pretty exciting. Tell me, how is that different today, that customer onboarding process. What are you doing today to make sure that your customers understand how to use the software and use it successfully?
JB: So, we are doing a number of different things. For onboarding, we have a quick setup kind of dialog that happens to popup when you get inside the app. We also using certain steps when they get to the, say the schedules page to walk them through, how that works.
We are sending automated emails at the same time and we also use ListenLoop to collect data and trigger some events when those managers and those owners come to the schedules page.
So, you know, after they visited a few times we asked kind of a question, you know, what they liked about it, what they don’t, and how we can improve it. So, we have gotten a lot of feedbacks in that way that has been incredibly valuable and we are just… Honestly, it’s just feedback we would have never thought to either ask or we would have never thought to… We would never assume the problems that we found were actually problems.
RF: When you think about that customer onboarding process, what’s your goal throughout this process? You know, how are you measuring whether you are successful?
JB: Well, we are measuring whether or not these customers come in the door and convert.
If we notice certain patterns, like where they are dropping off or they are not getting something, then we try and intervene or find where that problem was and intercept it and fix it.
So, you know, it’s all basically a data game. I’m just watching and making sure that we are always trying to optimize for the most amount of conversions right? So we are watching a lot of behavior in the app and always trying to improve on it that way.
Stay tuned for the next transcription in this series, where we discuss customer feedback and customer retention. Big thanks to Jordan Boesch for being so candid about his experiences.
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