Case Study:
Squash Labs

Sector: Software As A Service

Improve the existing customer experience for a new Software as a Service (SaaS) start-up to drive customer acquisition, decrease churn, and help drive revenue.
Segmentation of customers into specific segments and designed experiences specific to both. This segmentation and experience design uncovered an entirely new revenue opportunity for the technology that was never considered. Customer acquisition increased, churn decreased, and there was a noticeable increase in overall revenue.
Over the last 2 years, the small but dedicated team behind Squash Labs has been busy building an exciting new platform for software developers to easily test their applications. Integrating seamlessly with GitHub (a platform for developers to share and jointly work on code), the Squash platform provides a fast, easy, and transparent way for development teams to test their work through the web. The team secured some financing and recently released their first market-ready version, garnering excellent reviews from their growing user base.

Like any early-stage startup, customer acquisition and retention are their biggest challenges. The Squash team uses sophisticated tools to gather and analyze data about their users, using a wide variety of metrics to track use throughout their platform. However, understanding the motivations behind this behaviour is never immediately obvious from this typical data collection. They were seeing high states of churn from potential customers after signing up for a product trial and were unsure why. Furthermore, as they scaled up they were encountering more and more resistance from large-scale enterprises and wanted to understand know more.

Recognizing the need to continue to improve their acquisition strategy and minimize churn, while needing to make the right decision on where to invest their limited resources, Squash Labs approached Nucleus Strategies with a question:

Can design thinking help acquire customers faster, retain more of them, and inform business development?

To ensure the work was human-centred, the collaboration began by reviewing the customer data to determine how and where customers were leaving Squash, and listening to the sales and support team around purchasing data and their experiences.

Then, the entire team participated in a series of workshops to visualize and map out the journeys of their customers from both the perspective of their customer and from the perspective of the Squash team. Once these workshops were completed, Nucleus conducted field research with both active customers and customers that had recently left the platform and the Squash team.

As a result of this exploration, a few themes emerged:

  • The people who use the platform (developers) and the people who authorize purchasing the license (CFO, CTO, VPEng) are usually different people and should be treated as unique customer segments.
  • These different segments have very different goals, aims, and jobs-to-be-done.
  • The non-developer segment was not represented in the current experience.
  • There were a number of gaps in the onboarding/sales process in the current experience.

Given these insights, the Squash team and Nucleus Strategies redefined the problem:

Can we use design thinking to meet the needs and expectations of both customer segments that results in increased customer acquisition, reduced churn, and increased revenue?

Given these insights, the Squash team and Nucleus Strategies redefined the problem:

Can we use design thinking to meet the needs and expectations of both customer segments that results in increased customer acquisition, reduced churn, and increased revenue?

Building on the insights from the exploratory phases, Nucleus and the Squash team set out to explore possible solutions to the problem. Using ideation workshops to explore possibilities, the team developed a targeted list of solutions to test.

Prototypes of landing pages, ad campaign collateral, sales materials, and short demo videos were developed and tested with actual customers in both segments. The results were clear: segmenting the customer journeys was enthusiastically received by all involved. Response was so positive, the team rapidly developed full-fidelity versions of the resulting sales and marketing collateral and deployed them into the market as soon possible.

As a result, a plateauing customer acquisition curve returned to one showing steady improvement, while the number of conversions from trial to subscription noticeably increased.

However, the most exciting outcome came from the feedback from the non-developer segment.

Research into this segment revealed an entirely new revenue stream for the product that was quickly incorporated into their product roadmap. By spending time with this particular group, the team was able to foster a deep understanding of their particular needs and identified how a unique feature of the Squash platform could be used to deliver value to this segment.

This new revenue stream offers exciting possibilities for increased revenue projects and deeper market penetration, and could have a drastic impact on overall valuation. None of which would have been discovered through traditional analytics.

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