This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.
brand, people, customer, watches, building, product, company, return, influencer, big, loop, buy, passport, retention, shopper, business, sold, spent, modify, shopify
Aaron Swartz, Mariah Parsons, Yaw Aning
Mariah Parsons 00:04
Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go malomo.com. Retention Chronicles we are joined by Aaron Schwartz at loop and yeah Inang who is our CEO and co founder here at Malomo. So, Aaron, so great to have you on you are the current president at loop we thought it would be great just to have you walk through your typical background, but yours has been pretty insane. So we're gonna go into the weeds of it. Can you kick us off kind of starting with Yeah, I was informed me to loi kind of chat through your experience there and then work us all the way up to loop softball question to get you started
Aaron Swartz 01:30
saying you've been like you're pretty old.
Mariah Parsons 01:33
So thank you for reading through that. Yep.
Aaron Swartz 01:38
Background most importantly, I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, which is America's favorite city, as we all know,
Yaw Aning 01:42
wasn't, isn't it called the armpit of America. That's Michigan.
Mariah Parsons 01:47
So surprise, we wait, we have to pause. I'm surprised you didn't say New Jersey, because I'm from New Jersey, and I'm gonna get the armpit of New York a lot. So maybe this is a good, good relational factor for it.
Yaw Aning 01:59
I love Cleveland, by the way I love my sister lives there.
Aaron Swartz 02:02
I like the flexibility to pump my own gas, which is why I don't like New Jersey.
Mariah Parsons 02:06
Yeah, that's a toughy. I did succumb to the stereotype on that too. I did not know how to pump gas until I was 17. Yeah, and I was stuck in Delaware. And a stranger had to help me because my family wasn't picking up and I was calling them. I pulled up to the gas pump actually. And I because I was road tripping down to see one of my college friends to in Delaware. And so I was road tripping pulled into the gas bomb, freaked out and pulled back out into the parking spot lot like a parking spot. And this old guy like he must have been like 80 years old saw me do it. And he's like, I see your license. Like you don't know how to pump your gas. No. No, in my car, like following all of my family members, and no one was picking up. So yeah, it was it was quite humbling.
Yaw Aning 02:55
Usually now that it's got on tape.
Aaron Swartz 03:00
Yeah, this one Forgive me in trouble maybe a year and a half ago, four years after we've had our car. My wife was called me and she's like, Hey, how do I how do I open the gas tank? And I'm super confused here. Have you literally not? Yes. And the two and half years in the answer she has. So anyway.
Mariah Parsons 03:17
It's really funny. Thanks. So yeah. I'm glad. I'm glad someone who relates just a little bit.
Aaron Swartz 03:28
I don't even know. Okay, so Cleveland, it's great. School school in New York. And yes, I was at Deloitte. I spend two years in New York and normally go to business school. I didn't feel like I'd done enough sighs like, I felt like I still like more to get there and more to learn, certainly. And so I ended up having an opportunity to transfer to the London office. And so I ended up spending two years in London. It was awesome. Yeah, I love it. And then got into business school at Berkeley moved out west for that. And so did a two year like full time MBA, which was wonderful. And, you know, like growing up, I think, in retrospect, we actually do a lot of entrepreneurs I didn't like think of them that way. But like, you know, I thought about startups as you like, make enough money. You get a Subway franchise, you spit out some cash, you get a second one. Maybe you get a laundromat or whatever. Third, if you're lucky. Yeah, that's right. And like, you grow that way. And then, you know, what got into Berkeley was like, oh, high tech entrepreneurship. What does this mean? And so I started three companies. One was not even gonna talk about his sustainability business, like too many good ideas, your execution. And then the second one was kind of the opposite of high tech where I started a watch company in 2010. And so that's kind of what brought me into the consumer space. Business was called modify watches grew very quickly. It was meant to be a three month project after business school, it'd be like, okay, cool. All the mistakes I made for my first startup during school. It's like, great, let me go start a business as quickly as possible. So I had the pleasure of taking classrooms Steve Blank and Eric Ries Like, customer discovery, lean startup movement. Yeah, like it was this wonderful class, which was perfect because I was like, Oh my God, I've done everything wrong. So I started started a watch company, which was meant to be three months, and then it turned into seven demo.
Yaw Aning 05:12
Yeah. You're like, why watches like,
Aaron Swartz 05:15
my buddy. My buddy was like, Hey, I was traveling in Southeast Asia, and I saw these products, and everybody seems like, um, you want to sell them? And I was like, let's do this. And like, that was a it was it was it was like, April of our second year B school we were. I remember, like, we whiteboard it in library. Like there was a second life I still this picture is like, things we don't know. It's like, how to source watches. Legal, like, literally, we knew nothing about this is like, let's see if we can sell watches. I think we started like our whiteboard session was April. I think our first sale is July 9. I'm 90%. Sure. Every micro scam, like a kid I grew up with or like what one of my best friend's older brothers. And And what year, what year 2010 2010 and 2010. Yeah, and then we grew up business very quickly. And we grew. By doing corporate sales, we sold washers to like 1000s of watches to Google Facebook for their seventh anniversary. Like every employee got, like 2500 people or whatever about a watch. One of one of the dads who's in our school was like in the seat like now with our kids was in the Seattle office at Facebook, so he never got to watch. And so like, I still have a couple of guys. I just gave him a watch a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, wonderful experience that ran its course. And then like 2017, like I stepped away from full time operating, we sold a couple guys who are working. We end up selling the business in 2019 to custom ink, print on demand. And then in 2017 actually end up switching from the brand side into the commerce tech that commerce infrastructure side and co founded a company called passport, which does international shipping for DTS. Yeah, that company is still going very, very well. And set aside from there in 2019. It was like 10 years of being a founder, we'd had our second daughter, it was like it was time. And yeah, I don't know, I've now worked. I worked at return Lee for a year, which was a great experience. And then I actually took a year off, which was my intent after a passport to begin with, and was an advisor or an investor in a bunch of companies like very, very proud to be an advisor to Malomo don't think I had any cash to be an investor what I would have done.
Yaw Aning 07:20
He's no good with us.
Aaron Swartz 07:24
And one of my biases is loop and I joined loop full time. Little bit more than a year ago. So yeah, August of 2021.
Yaw Aning 07:33
So okay, so on unpack this a little bit, yeah. 2010 How old were you were like 550. Then back into those
Aaron Swartz 07:42
are the worst. I'm a millennial, which is my favorite thing to talk about. We all are with all the all the young ends at the office. We're like, we're on the same generation. I was 28 when I started modifying.
Yaw Aning 07:55
Okay, all right. I'm just getting
Aaron Swartz 07:59
40 This scenario. Thank you. I made it wow,
Yaw Aning 08:03
you missed all the 40 under 40 list. Here this close. But wise many years. Okay, so modify like, what is what is what was the watch? Like? Why would CustomInk even want this? I'm curious. Yeah. Oh, this is gonna be great. Print on Demand, or Yeah, I
Mariah Parsons 08:21
was gonna ask the same question. I was like, I need the connection there.
Aaron Swartz 08:24
Can you see this? Sorry. Turn off my Yeah. Oh, yeah. You see what it is?
Yaw Aning 08:28
It's a watch. Yeah. There's a baby on my chest. For those listeners who can't see, there's a video I didn't realize
Aaron Swartz 08:36
that this works. There is a watch and it is print on demand. So that's a picture of my younger daughter on my chest, giving my wife the middle finger. I love that watch company started it was interchangeable watches. So the watch face and watch band are separate. And the idea wasn't like I'm a watch I like hadn't worn watches. I wasn't like passionate about it. But it was the ability to do customization. So if you think about like modular components, if you own three watches like a blue, a green and a black you know nine watches because a blue watch face could go with the black strap and then green could go with the blue and whatever. And so it started as like the original name was swap watch like interchangeable and can get swapped in and out. And the thing that we were testing from the beginning wasn't like do people love the watches? Or do the watches work are they like the best watches in the world it was Will people buy three pieces or more because of what you were doing was buying a single watch then we were competing with swatch or convenient like real watch companies. But if you were to buy like the blue face and then like a black strap and a green polka dot strap, the intent is obviously like you're mixing and matching and then like we felt we were onto something completely different. So it was like getting into the customization world. Right and then what we ran towards was like not just color blocking but also print on demand. So we have people who did like photos of kids or houses or dog like whatever was you know their passion. We did sports licensing. So we the NBA Major League Baseball we did NFL through a partner. It's like all the way like We Live Nation dead mouse was one of our first licenses Domo, like a character like random stuff. And then we started doing influencer work as well. So we did like, like in her last name Catherine, somebody who was like one of the first I'm like the early bachelor Bachelorette. Like we started, like everything that you're seeing with like, influencer, like we started doing that where like they would get 20 or 30% of the revenue and like we have printed on demand when things would sell. And then we did corporate gifting, too. So we did Nike watches and Google watches and Facebook watches and God knows what other like, Beachbody like you name it, we did custom swag for them, which was awesome. But it was a mistake. Because we had like, if you think about everything I just said it was like five different type five different personas that we were selling to five different sales channels. Like the business was just very complex. And it was all from like, operationally, it was simple, because we built it. So like everything was like literally made on demand. So you're sitting on blank canvas, cool, we can do anything. But from a like go to market perspective, we created just too much complexity, like I should have cut for the channels and focused on one maybe Yeah, after that many years.
Yaw Aning 11:07
Yeah, yeah. That's fascinating. Were you so like, when was that print on demand happening in the US? Like, were you like actually manufacturing? And yeah, so it seems together? Yeah. So
Aaron Swartz 11:18
the first year was buying watches that were made overseas, which like, so the first like three months, the MVP, where I didn't care if the watch worked was literally like, what is your buying behavior. We bought, like garbage watches, just like literally whatever we could find on Alibaba factory, and we started doing production runs, but our minimum order quantity was like 300. But if you think about the cost of goods is like five bucks a watch or something. So it's like $1,500. But I would need like 300 Blue watches and 300 Black watches. And then we got to the point where in 2013, we did a Kickstarter, which finished in 2014. And we moved to print on demand in the US. So in San Francisco, like we were part of that stuff made and like we basically had a factory in San Francisco, which sounds crazy, where we import all the components that were made custom for us. Batteries weren't made custom for us, like watch movement was like a good Japanese movement, like, the components were good. But then, you know, we built our own casing and our own back and our own whatever, right? The straps are our proprietary design. Like if you see that, like Apple, like everything about like modular straps like that, that was effectively what we were doing. But then we got like a really dope laser printer. And we built it so that like, you could print like 40 watchfaces at a time type of thing, or 101 traces, I think for one of our bigger printers. And yeah, so I'm like, my co founder or shields like an incredible creative director, like he would do just insane designs. And we built an awesome design staff, which is cool to see them all go to different places. I'm like you guys, much better situation with that was that
Mariah Parsons 12:52
for getting into like the influencer space, I feel like earlier than most Was there ever any like question mark from like other people that like mentors or other people that you're talking about, like this? Like kind of that channel too, because I feel like now you say influencers? And there's still like a little bit of like, is it really like a true channel. But that was even before I
Aaron Swartz 13:15
haven't thought about this stuff in years. But I'm waiting up because it's very fun. So we stumbled into it. And you know, if you believed at the time that sports licensing made sense, because there's affinity and like growing up, I spent a summer working for MBNA America, which was a company that did all the affinity credit cards. So if you were bought like a University of X credit card, the company that would power that or like, I mean, I'm sure they did like Hello Kitty, like literally infinity credit card was from this company. And so I've always thought about that as like an interesting thing, which is like people have affinity and they will, byproducts are being that are like tied to their community or to their passion. And so the spirit of modify was like our tagline was show your colors. And so like, if you want to enable people to wear things that they care about, then you need to like go find the things that they care about. And so we we started working with nonprofits, right, we start with the big licenses. And then we kind of stumbled into Oh, wait, there are micro influencers, right, like we talked about it that way that you have these like really small affinity groups. And if you think about like a DTC brand today, what you ultimately want is you're talking to a narrow audience. And they're like, Yeah, I'll wear something and is what is Okay, that looks cool. And like he's an influencer on like the like, really, really, really local level. Right. And so, I think people saw it, and they got it. And we actually, like were able to raise some money when we switch to that model. The thing that I screwed up on is we had very high sell through of our early influencers. And then what I tried to do is game it where and it was like intentionally trying to get it but I was like, the metric I care about is having more influencers. It wasn't more high quality influencers and high quality not defined by like my taste or your taste, right. But high quality is defined by people were buying this product. And so we spend a lot of time onboarding more and more and more people, not time. In onboarding the right people and making sure that we were like, holding the model. And so that's where it went sideways as we took out all this fixed cost of doing the onboarding and the sales and the partnership work, instead of being like, hey, maybe we just need 50 This month, not 500.
Yaw Aning 15:15
Aaron Swartz 15:17
I still think this is a huge business. I just like, I'm not the one to build it anymore. I've like, I've seen a lot of different aspects that we're doing, like, come to fruition in a massive way. And I'm like, it doesn't matter, like execution matters. And we'd like, you know, that that was my feeling.
Yaw Aning 15:31
Is CustomInk still selling like these?
Aaron Swartz 15:35
Six months ago, I think I think they deprecated during COVID. I mean, it was, it was a super small acquisition. I think it was like, a nice to have product. It wasn't, you know, I don't think it was a core piece of the strategy. Yeah, I still have maybe like, 1000 in my garage. If you guys want any, let me know.
Yaw Aning 15:55
I would 100% take 100%. Like, what, okay, what made you what made you like, switch from that to launching? Passport? Like?
Aaron Swartz 16:08
Yeah. So in 2017, I knew I wasn't going to be doing my full time. And I took a step back. And I started helping a bunch of buddies with their companies. And it was I hadn't been gainfully employed in almost a decade, if you think about it, right? Like I left Deloitte in 2007. And I've been running my own business. And like, we did a lot of stuff. I didn't like I didn't know what a product manager was, I didn't really know what being a BD was, I didn't like I didn't know any of this stuff. Like, I remember interviewing with like, a very senior business development person at Facebook, and like, literally 20 minutes on the call, he goes, you this isn't gonna work. Like you never know what this term means. And I was like, Well, now that you explained the term, like have done that thing, but correct, I have no idea what that term means. By the way, I think he was right not to even like consider, because like, the bar should be extremely high. But it was like, I truly didn't know what to do. And so I wanted to just go broad. And so I spent time with half a dozen different founders, one who was doing an aircraft like, like, basically like a private airplane company, who's just like a brilliant guy. And I was like, This is not something that I'm passionate about, but like interesting, and I was helping him with like, customer service messaging and how to like communicate and how to think about like business strategy. One of my friends runs that company boba guys, which I don't know if you see him as like a killer multi company is like the kind of like the new wave of loyalty, like all sprouts from who but these guys built us my year in business school. And so I spent like, four months helping them a couple days a week, like this is all unpaid. It was just like, let me spend time with you guys and explore. And then Alex, who's a passport CEO, and my co founder had an idea around something to do with shipping. And there's like some loophole, and he was like, Hey, I think there's something here anyway, that loophole and have not really existed. But we spent a bunch of time together and like, the insight that I think we got to was like, modify, had 20% of our traffic was international, but 5% of our revenue was International. Does that make sense? So like, there was a disconnect between like, we have money, like there's latent demand for the product, but people aren't buying it. And maybe part of it is like, it's a different shopper. So they wouldn't buy it. But the reality is, like they weren't buying it, because shipping is a pain in the butt. And if you live internationally, you don't know if you're gonna get the product or not, do you know what I mean? Like, you don't show up, it was gonna get stuck in customs. If you're gonna get hit with a fee, it was just like, a very bad experience. And so you have to really trust a brand to do that. And so that was the genesis of a passport was how do we build a shipping company that has like extremely high touch customer service, and removes anxiety. So it's like, frankly, a big piece of it was tracking, right? Russia knows music curators, but it was like, you live in Canada, you it's going to, it's not going to be there in two to four days, it's going to be there in four to eight days. And you don't know if you're going to get hit with a fee. What if we were to give you actual visibility to where your packages tell you exactly what your fee is going to be? And just like, God forbid, something goes wrong, you have somebody you can contact and say, What the heck is going on? And so the experience before passport was used to contact the brand and the brand be like I don't I don't know what's going on call canadapost if you work with us, we solved the problem for you. Right? And so like, if you're a shopper, it's easier if you're a brand, you no longer have the headache of customer service. So that was kind of the insight behind passport and the company has grown like a weed which is cool to see.
Yaw Aning 19:30
Yeah, that's incredible. In like what what is there anything around that like around international shipping that like makes it like uniquely hard or complex?
Aaron Swartz 19:41
Yeah, I mean, if you think about so think about you ship from your three PL you're a brand owner and you shipped to somebody in Canada. Let's just keep it simple. And you use FedEx or DHL. There's a reasonable chance that it never touches a FedEx truck in I picked up by a USPS truck, because it's like a USPS worker and then deposited. And then it might get handed over to Canada Post. And then it might get handed over to a local last mile delivery company. So you're paying FedEx or DHL or whatever that example, but FedEx has never actually touching their product, right? They're coordinating somebody else doing it. And so if you think about like, logistics is easy, it's like walking your neighbor, right? When you start adding legs, or different consolidation points. And it's further so there's different weather patterns, like everything is just more complex, because first of all, you do not own the whole chain. So you're at the whim of somebody else. And you if you're a big partner, you don't know what's going on. Like, you know, I mean, like, a couple years ago, one of our partners don't like, tornado in Tennessee, and that warehouse is down. It's like, everybody's okay. Do you know, I mean, like, if you Yes, yeah, the business, the human side, all of that, then it's also like, okay, cool. But we have no control over what happens with with those packages, it's going to take an extra week, you can't like go pick it up and go solve that problem, right? It's already in there. So I think just like globally is painful. Because the logistics, you can't own assets everywhere. So therefore, it's better to own no assets. Assets are like the crucial points. And then getting information from different people systems is hard, right? Because in that example, is like USPS heading up to Canada Post any up to the last mile, or your three PL heading up to USPS. And you have to get right. So it's like, there's visibility concerns. And then there's like different tax regimes where this country pay X percent if the products provenance was in Pakistan is different than if it was in China is different than if it was made in Mexico or whatever. So it's just like, all the complexity in one, and you're shipping, something that's this big, like, still gotta get there. And people are like, well, it needs to be around seven days. Probably a pretty hard challenge. So I think that's it, it's like the things to do or, like, obviously, choose good partners get good visibility, step up with customer service, and like, get really good at pattern recognition. Like, theoretically, every package into into Berlin is stuck, stuck in customs for three days. Tell your customer, hey, don't worry, it's going to be there in three days. It's in customs. This is normal, versus don't give them any information. And each day they check in the system, and it says health and customs, health and customs that creates anxiety that creates a customer service ticket. Get away from that.
Yaw Aning 22:21
Yeah, I think that's so so two things, like, as you're talking through that that's sort of fascinating to me. And like I didn't, I didn't really realize this or recommend this until we got deep into mormo. Like the amount of packages that are maintained or delivered by not the people who you bought the shipping.
Mariah Parsons 22:45
I'm learning in real time right now.
Yaw Aning 22:48
It is astounding the amount of care handoffs that happen. The other thing that's kind of interesting is like, like to think about FedEx as a delivery company. It's like, oh, actually, a lot of times they're broke. And like, they themselves are like working with the whole host of third parties. And then you start to think like, Well, why are they doing that? And then and then, like, the other thing that was in my mind is like, it's amazing that anything makes it anywhere. Any delivery service, like legitimately billions of packages moving across the country in a very coordinated way. Like the fact that anything gets anywhere is sort of nuts. Yeah, it's sort of nuts. Like I think about like I it takes me an hour to drive in rush hour traffic. Like, if I'm driving something to somewhere like it's just yeah, just insane. Yeah, so. So you have an interesting perspective, because you've been both a brand operator and like been on the SAS side of the of the ecosystem, like, what do you think about the two roles? Like, is there anything about those two worlds? That translates? Well, like, if you if you, if you move back from being a SAS operator to a brand operator, like anything that you've learned or picked up or like, discovered translates back and forth?
Aaron Swartz 24:10
It's a good question. So I'm trying to think about, like the principles on which like I bring to our product team, for example. I think this will dovetail with what I was saying before, probably two main things, and I'll think if there's anything else, the first one is like stakeholder intimacy, and like customer discovery. So if you think about the first version of my watch company, like the watches went bad after three months, it sounds dumb, but like the goal, like the thing I was trying to learn was like, buying behavior, and then I refunded everybody, right? It wasn't like trying to be a scam. I was like, hey, it's broken. Let me refund you and send you two more watches. Right. Thank you. Right. Like it wasn't it wasn't anything other than like a learning opportunity. And then throughout the entire life of the company, we wrote handwritten notes to all of our customers. Like literally in every package at the beginning. I was like arrest somebody and I was like, thank you so much. Something's wrong, like it was quick at the end. And then I would send an email to everybody to for the first year plus, which is like, hey, thanks so much, by the way, How'd you hear about us? Because like, and then something be like, Oh, y'all reformatted it and said, Yeah, I'll text message or email. But hey, thanks for referring Jenny. And like, the goal of all that was one to build. Community is a weird word, but like to build affinity, let's say for the brand. And like, Oh, this is a cool brand. And like, there's actually human behind it. Or at some point, it wasn't just me, it was like a team behind it. Like Michelle who were in customer service, like will get letters, we have letters just like, against more, you know, more than my random background, like on the wall in the office of like, Michelle, thank you so much, you saved my like, whatever, you know, it was insane how like close we got to our customers, the big piece was getting customer feedback. So I always felt like I want somebody on a scale of one to five, three to one or five, I really didn't want a three. And so I figured the more that I would like make it easy for people to contact us by giving them a phone number by sending them a personal email, the higher likelihood that I can remove friction for them to give us feedback to make the product better. If you think about that, from a SAS side, it should be the same thing. Like you shouldn't be thinking about the NPS, OD customer. Like you don't think about the NPS of Allbirds. If they're a customer of yours, you think about the NPS or like like how much does a customer like how does a human like or dislike you? Or what do they want better? From the CFO, from the CTO from the line level customer service person from the operations manager from the three PL like, think about all the personas within the company and go get their feedback. So I think like number one is stakeholder intimacy, or customer intimacy, whatever you want to say, like, build products that people want, don't, you know, don't just like sit in your room and assume that you're coming up with the right idea. So that's one. I think, number two is just focus. So like think about again, that the Modify story, we found like four or five channels that were going well, we should have shut down three or four other channels, right, like we just should have been focused. And if you think about that with like, with loops, and with products, one of the things we've talked about, like a mantra for last six months has been building fewer better products. So like, we should be responsive, we should fix things. But we should also be listening to 100 merchants getting their feedback and then building like a great product that solves like the underlying need not just like kind of doing a lot of small stuff. You still need to do the small stuff, you still need to remove bugs. That's not the point. But like, build fewer better things, I think is is kind of just in general. Like if you're spending 5% of your time on a party business, you precious with 0% of your time, because better to put that all into, like keeping the main thing, the main thing. I think those are probably the two big ones. Yeah, I'll keep I'll keep noodling on. And yeah, yeah.
Yaw Aning 27:40
Okay, so that was that was awesome. Two things. I wanted to unpack a little bit there. So on the first one, when you when you mentioned like NPS, like you were focused on trying to drive people to a this, I might have Miss misheard you, but like, Are you focused on the scores that were like a one or five? Right? Or like you want that reaction?
Aaron Swartz 27:57
Want to get? Yeah, sorry, that's probably a bad bad example. I wanted to get feedback. Think about this. Yeah, like, I want to get feedback. I want to lower the bar for people to give me feedback. So I put out as many trial balloons tentacles as possible for people to, like, grab it, they could email they could text they could write, I would email them, like they literally like on our packaging and had to contact us. Do you know what I mean? Like, yeah, our marketing wasn't just bicep it was like, Hey, give us feedback. Like read customers vote on what watch we should produce next at the beginning, before it's print on demand where we had to build 300 It was like, what should we build? And by the way, which we named these watches, were like, there was a black and gold on we called the GoldenEye. I mean, it was it's done. But like, you know, our fans voted on, like whatever should be. And so it's more about getting in the feedback. The thing that is bad is if people are like okay with the product, and they're like quiet, Li not engaged with it. And so I wanted to get all those people to tell me like, What can we do better to make them? For four to five? Yeah,
Yaw Aning 28:52
yeah, I think that's really important too. Like, yeah, focusing focusing like your attention on like, not the lukewarm people, but the people who are super, super passionate, or the people who are super pissed off. Right? Because like, that's probably where all the insights lies in the polarization that I think a lot of people will look at, like the averages of your NPS score and be like, Oh, I'm just, I'm actually just the floor. And that's okay. Well, it's like, no, maybe.
Aaron Swartz 29:15
Ultimately, it was like, move those lukewarm people into loving us and like maybe for them to tell us what it would take for them to enjoy us.
Yaw Aning 29:22
So then did you focus on Did you moreso focus on the threes versus the ones trying to move the threes to fives or, or like,
Aaron Swartz 29:31
going to be very loud. I feel like I'm mixing metaphors now. So this is probably a bad I've probably, like set us down a bad path. The way to think about is like the ones we're going to be loud threes. We're quiet. I wanted to make it easy for the threes to tell me like the ones we're going to tell me. I want a refund. I hate this fine. Have a refund. By the way. I've already not like oh, here's what I could do. I like would send an email or just say, I've already refunded you and I've sent another one. I'm so sorry. Can you please tell me something right? Like so I've tried to learn from them. But the answer is like try it I thought about like, we should be getting insights from everybody.
Yaw Aning 30:03
Okay, that's super powerful. Yeah, I love that. So yeah, go ahead, Maura.
Mariah Parsons 30:07
Well, I was just gonna ask because it seems like there's a lot of different channels that you're offering for your customers to give that feedback in, which I think is great. But was it kind of chaotic ever to, like, take all those different ways that chain that customers could contact you and then, like, aggregate it into one? Because you said like phone number, like surveys, you had, like,
Aaron Swartz 30:26
you know, we had a Google Voice number, which was 619, which is like the San Diego area code for whatever reason, that was what was available modify five. And then we were like, This is dumb. Nobody wants to pick up the phone, or listen to voicemail. So like we finally deprecated that. No, I mean, we use HelpScout which is years ago, and I think it's still like a good tool. Just anything like consolidated all we didn't leverage, like gorgeous or customer present, like we were never at the scale to.
Yaw Aning 30:53
Okay, then the second thing you mentioned is focus like, yeah. I'm curious too on this because, like, I think this is kind of interesting topic. Especially right now. I feel like in the in the ecosystem generally, right, like merchants are, are looking to their tools to do more so they can have like, one tool to rule them all. Versus like, the emergency like that, like that lays like, what's that? The Swiss Army knife, right. was super tactically good at this one thing.
Aaron Swartz 31:30
I think now you're mixing metaphors by No, I am do I follow what you're asking? That'll be the
Yaw Aning 31:39
army knife. Yeah, this is there's a one thing but also seven other things.
Aaron Swartz 31:45
And of course, I mean, you you're not you and I've talked about this, I think. I think for most things, you probably just want a bundled solution. And like Done is better than perfect. Make it really easy. I think there are a handful things where like, you want something great. And so I don't think that's the same for every brand. But if I if I'm building my brand right now, right? And I'm hyper focusing on what to do, I'm like making maybe half a dozen decisions, or I'm like making very considered decisions. And I'm not looking like I'm looking within my budget, I'm not looking for cheap. I'm looking for like the best product I can afford. So that makes sense. And I think those are like certainly your platform. So you choose Shopify, or maybe you look somewhere else, but like, I don't know any brand, who's starting today, who's not like defaulting there, right? You choose a help desk. If you're like, I think it's very good for you to be close your customer. So again, what let's talk let's talk about if you get to like 250k in top line, like you started growing and like you have ambitions of building your brand, right? You choose a helpdesk. So that's gorgeous, could be Zendesk could be customer could be gladly, whatever, right. But like you do a considered purchase there, you choose your three PL your fulfillment sack, whether it's like us a great three PL you decide to do yourself, like you're released very, very thoughtful about that. You choose your email marketing tool, maybe your text messaging tool, but definitely like you're probably defaulting to clay vo but like there's Omni center, there are others that like might be better or worse for you. You definitely choose your return platform. Because like, every one of your customers is going to look at return policy, depending on vertical 30 plus percent are going to return a product. If you give them a bad experience, they're going to not come back. If you hit them with an incredible ad, if you give them a simple experience, even if they don't keep the product you've paid to acquire those customers, you should be trying to drive them to exchange so they don't leave right like it is a big retention tool. And you choose a tracking platform. Because that like both helps with retention and with customer service. And with like what we talked about password like obviating tickets, because you give people good visibility, they will not email you and take three minutes of your team's time was saying that like you can just help them not be stressed. There's marketing tools, there's reviews, like they're awesome reviews platforms like Juniper, whatever, whatever. But I feel like that is like the beginning of the stack. Right when you're going Yeah, yeah. And so like, I would I'd be very cautious about going to get like a family of apps type of product which is like a B plus in each of those. Because like I don't know you want you it's expensive to acquire a customer so you want to retain them it's expensive to serve a customer so you want to do it in like the most efficient way possible to Murata your question about all the different channels you'll want to use something like a gorgeous because you not only want to like simplify your your team's ability to support but like support quickly and also get all the analytics which all these guys provide. And then like as you start adding more and more features and stuff sure like start doing bundles are going cheap but I don't know I don't I would never buy somebody to just go like choose an app that like quick quick does it all because like going back to focus you're probably not getting assignments purpose built for that problem. You're getting something that's like engineer to make more money. Yeah, you do good enough it like you're not going to turn but they really push thing like there's always a conflict and what problem you're solving which means they're unlikely not impossible but unlikely to be solving the like most impactful problem within that kind of space
Mariah Parsons 35:12
that's super interesting.
Aaron Swartz 35:13
So whatever else you guys are thinking about pick it up don't thinking about going into
Yaw Aning 35:22
I got a vision we're gonna go into
Aaron Swartz 35:27
there now metaphors.
Yaw Aning 35:29
Yeah, metaphors mixing scrutiny these gave me okay, that's, that's super helpful. I think I think that's a good way in like mental model. But think about things like there's this core parts of your customer experience that are incredibly important. And you will likely want those core parts to be like best in breed for those things.