Customer Support at a Productivity Startup: The Producteev Story

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Producteev
Producteev

Couple of months ago, we promised a regular publication schedule covering a wide range of topics to help you run a profitable business. In a continued effort to make good on the promise, we have decided to interact with brands that have won their customers hearts with exceptional customer service and innovative business models.

To kickstart the series, we zeroed in on Ilan Abehassera, Founder and CEO of Producteev. A pioneer in the field of productivity and task management, Producteev is the collaboration tool of choice for tens of hundreds of businesses. A generous freemium tier, affordable premium plans, native apps for every major platform, comprehensive collaboration features – they have left no stone unturned to stay at the top.

Despite running a popular and profitable startup, Ilan has no airs and is easy to talk to. Everytime I chat him up for an interview, I’m surprised how open and candid his replies are. After the break, Ilan talks about the major factors behind Producteev’s leadership position, marketing strategy, bootstrapping, customer support culture and more. Read on!

Task Management is one of the competition ridden verticals online. How do you differentiate Producteev from the rest of the crowd?

  1. Free for individuals
  2. Multi platform
  3. In between todo list apps and more complex project management apps
  4. Both for individuals and teams
  5. Simple to understand for the non tech savvy crowd

What is your marketing strategy? Which channels do you frequently use to advertise Producteev?

We don’t do any marketing. Growth is entirely organic. A lot of our new users are coming from the different app stores, then SEO, then Twitter / FB / Blogs and word of mouth in general.

Freemium Conversion
Freemium Conversion

Producteev has a very generous free plan. How good is the conversion rate to the premium plans?

27% of the groups who sign up for Producteev convert to a paid plan. So pretty high :)

How vital customer support is for Producteev’s success?

It is as important as in any other online business. Your users need to feel that they’re being heard and understood when they need something. Customer Support is not about saying yes to all of your customer inquiries, but also being able to “No, we won’t develop that feature. You might want to use a different product, if you’re looking for something more advanced”. So yes, customer support is very important to us.

Producteev runs on so many desktop and mobile platforms. How is the support ticket volume like?

About 60 to 100 a day.

Which platform gets the most support requests?

The Web and Mac apps, then iOS and Android.

Types of Support Queries
Types of Support Queries

What does the technical and non technical support requests split look like?

I’d say 5% bugs. 50% questions on the product, features and pricing. 20% feature request. The rest is random questions.

What difficulties and bottlenecks have you faced with customer support and how have you solved them?

Well, we didn’t have enough resources to manage it at some point, so now each software engineer from our team is directly answering support tickets from his own app. Works a lot better, and they have the opportunity to discuss with their users.

Be it for the mobile or for the web, task management apps pop up on a fairly regular basis. Do you have dedicated resources to keep an eye on the competition or just the ones that make the headlines?

I am the one watching the space all the time, but I am not worried that much about new players, it’s good to have competitors, what’s important is to focus on being the best out there. So we’d rather focus on innovating and perfecting the product that watching what the other guys do (which you have to do anyway!).

Are you funded or still bootstrapping? Share with us your insights about keeping a startup profitable.

We’re angel and VC funded and now profitable. When building so much technology, you need some cash infusion at the beginning, no matter where it comes from. So we took some funding and started building the team, but step by step. I am very cost conscious and that works really that way. Now things are becoming interesting because we don’t need to raise money anymore and growing entirely organically.

If someone asks me to suggest a GTD app, Producteev is among the three of my recommendations. Do you have any data or have you conducted market research and found where you stand in terms of marketshare?

As you said before, the market is really complicated to analyze because there are many alternatives, but I’d say that we’re among the top 5 apps in that space that always get recommended..

What’s the next big step for Producteev?

Haha, lots of surprises. I can’t tell everything we’re working on, but it’s about to get a lot better. More apps, more integrations, and more collaboration.

Ilan Abehassera, Founder and CEO
Ilan Abehassera, Founder and CEO

So there you have it! Big thank you to Ilan for the interview! You can follow him on Twitter or catch up with him on his personal webpage.

Got any questions for Ilan? Drop it in the comments section and we’ll ask him for you!

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