01 June 2022
Feedmas. An origin story.
Why is it so hard to find a good, right-sized customer support tool?
How is it that we ended up integrating multiple tools that are disconnected from each other... yet, they should actually all be connected?
How come as soon as we add one additional user, we get booted off the free plan and our cost goes from $0 to $60? Not even a Tesla goes 0 - 60 that fast!
How does any of this actually help us better connect with our customers to build something that they truly love and find absolutely invaluable?
The above are some very real questions that we asked ourselves while building our flagship product, Cleavr.io - a server and production application management system.
As a bootstrapped startup with a small team, the reality is that we don't have an endless budget and we cannot afford to spread our time and energy across multiple systems to interact with and support our customers.
Every support ticket management system we tried out was just way too big and cost way too much for what we needed it for.
When we had our first beta-users and customers with Cleavr.io, we were dilligently being scrappy - we're bootstrapped after all!
Our main form of interfacing with users and fielding support questions was all through basic email.
We created a business email on Private Email and posted our new support email address on Cleavr. We were good to go!
Until... more customers came in and not all emails that we received were support related... Cuz yea, the email was not just for support, but also for reaching out to new partners / clients, using when signing up for new online tools, accounts, and so on.
We were now to the point where we needed to separate out support from our main email. This is when we started to more dilligently look at customer support tools.
We tried all the main ones that you've probably have tried yourself.
Many of us on the team have used Zendesk in the past and were familar with it so of course this was our first go-to.
It had the added benefit of being able to manage our site documentation.
But... Zendesk is huge. With a ton of different services, add ons, and a sketchy pricing plan, you'll end up paying for a lot of stuff you don't actually need nor will ever use. We ended up dropping it after not too long.
Zendesk had a free plan eligible for one agent. When support became too much just for one agent, the price would then have gone from $0 to at least $40. For two agents... at a startup with minimal cash flow... Thanks, but no thanks!
This, plus their documentation management is terrible and outdated.
For documentation management, we ended up implementing Nuxt / Content. Nuxt/Content is easy to implement and essentially turns your GitHub repo into a CMS. Plus, and this is a big plus, you have more direct control over the UI so you don't have to worry about it looking stale or getting locked into the bad themes that Zendesk offers.
If you need to create a documentation site and would like to consider Nuxt/Content, but don't know where to start, check out the Getting started with NuxtJS/Content module that we created when building out our own doc site for Cleavr.io. It includes videos to go along with the tutorials and a template to get you started.
Freshdesk kept coming up in search results. But to be honest, it looks the same as Zendesk but not quite as 'polished'. After tinkering around with it a bit, we decided not to go with it.
Kinda scary because this is after making the decision not to use Zendesk anymore...
We then found Zoho and liked what it had to offer in terms of basic support ticket management.
Plus, Zoho allows for 3 free agent seats. It was exactly what we needed at the time.
Overall, we liked Zoho much more than Zendesk. It feels a little more modern. But, like Zendesk, it's just too big in all the wrong ways. We'd often get lost in trying to figure out the navigation structure when we should have been helping customers. 😔
And... you guessed it... Once 3 agent seats wasn't enough for us with the new customers coming in as well as our expanding team, we were looking at going from $0 to $40 per month at a time where we were still needing to be scrappy.
As we were asking the questions around why customer support ticketing tools are so expensive and too big for what we need, and actually wanted, we were also noticing how we were adding additional tools into our application that were all customer-related, but that we found valuable.
A tool for customer support ticket management.
A tool for eliciting customer feedback.
A tool for displaying customer testimonials.
A tool for letting users know what's new.
A tool for showing users our roadmaps and getting their thoughts.
Wow. That's an overflowing toolbox for sure. The lousiest part? They're all completely different products... with their own price tags... and none of them talk to each other... Uhg!
Have you found yourself in this similar situation? Trying to manage multiple separate tools, that are individually helpful, but at an aggregate take too much time to manage and lack a high fidelity picture of your customers?
Let's change this!
Feedmas - an integrated, customer-focused solution that connects you with your customers to grow your product
Feedmas is breaking away from the norm of customer experience tools.
Feedmas is not a bunch of disparate tools that can, at most, paint an abstract picture of your users when pieced together.
Feedmas is a unified customer experience solution that brings you and your users to the same level so that you can freely interact with them and they can freely interact with you. This deep dives you into the empathy that you need to create rockin' products that your customers love and cannot live without.
We're disrupting the biz by focusing on that relationship potential that you can have with your users, where you collaborate together, across integrated channels.
If you look at the big established solutions out there, you'll quickly see that their goal isn't to help you establish connections with your users to build a better product and experience for them... Their goal is more-so to capture new contact info and annoy them into submission. 😬
If you haven't yet experienced Feedmas, please sign up for a free trial here and let's connect and work together to make Feedmas awesome for you so that you can build a first-class relationship with your own users!