July 24, 2018

EP 142: Growing Organically Through Unconventional Channels with CozyCal Co-Founders Chris Tan & Kat Lu

The Nitty Gritty

* What inspired Chris to start building CozyCal, a simple and easy-to-use online scheduling tool for small business owners and solopreneurs
* Why Kat Lu decided to leave her healthcare consulting career to work on product developmen



 The Nitty Gritty
 
 * What inspired Chris to start building CozyCal, a simple and easy-to-use online scheduling tool for small business owners and solopreneurs
* Why Kat Lu decided to leave her healthcare consulting career to work on product development and customer support at CozyCal full-time
* How Kat and Chris manage their roles in the company as a couple (and how their backgrounds influence how they operate)
* What channels they use to grow CozyCal including the WordPress Plugin Directory, webinars, podcasts, and affiliate programs
* Why they use Intercom over email for real-time feedback and communication with their users — and how that informs their development process

Kat Lu and Chris Tan never set out to build a SaaS company… but when a friend needed an easy way to schedule appointments online for her naturopathic practice, Chris decided to develop a minimalist calendar to automate the process for her.
That service is now CozyCal, a simple-to-use online scheduler, that helps users generate leads and grow faster. After seven months of working on the product part-time, they decided to go all in. Kat left her job in healthcare consulting to become CozyCal’s product and customer support manager while Chris continued to build out requested features as the head (and only!) developer.
In this episode, Kat and Chris shed light on what their product development process looks like, what it’s like to work together as a couple, and all the interesting ways they market and promote CozyCal.
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How they use Intercom for onboarding and real-time customer support
“Intercom made a huge difference for us. Prior to that, we used Zendesk and it’s a more passive channel of communication between us and the customers. We have to wait for them to send an email to us and then we send an email back. There is no real time communication. With Intercom, we’re able to talk to users in real time and gather feedback.” — Kat Lu
Collecting user feedback is essential for SaaS companies like CozyCal. Customers who use the product every day know the product well, then share their ideas to optimize and improve it.
That’s why Kat and Chris recently switched from the email helpdesk tool, Zendesk, over to Intercom. Intercom makes it dead simple to communicate with customers in real time and collect feedback. In fact, the pair joke that they answer customer requests faster than they respond to each other’s text messages.
Another feature they love, Kat says, is Intercom’s onboarding campaign feature. So far, they’ve used it to auto-send messages throughout a new user trial period. “It really makes a huge difference to us,” she adds.
Here’s an example of how a 10-day onboarding campaign works:

* Day 1: Welcome message in app and email
* Day 2: Examples of how other people use CozyCal
* Day 5: Reminder of additional features, like payment and Zapier integrations
* Day 9: Prompt user to upgrade to the Pro Plan
 
As you can see, they strategically educate users over a period of time in accordance with the trial — and they do it all from Intercom.
Using the WordPress plugin directory to market and grow CozyCal’s user base
“One of the terms of being in the WordPress plugin directory is that, if you’re selling a SaaS, you need a freemium plan. That’s one thing that’s tricky. The people who come in through WordPress may not be the easiest to convert — but just having that...

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