There has been a string of coordinated attacks on MSPs recently. Large players like WiPro, Fujitsu, and IBM. As well as a number of smaller regional MSPs. Kyle Hanslovan (@kylehanslovan) of Huntress Labs joins me on the podcast to give us his expert viewpoint on the risks these attacks pose and how IT service companies should be securing their environments to avoid being the next victim.
Chris is a well recognized member of the MSP channel, as the founder of IT Glue. IT Glue's remarkable growth curve and industry attention are unlike anything we've seen in the market. He recently exited IT Glue after selling to Kaseya. Now he's working with SaaS application entrepreneurs to provide capital and scaling strategies for their businesses.
In our discussion we catch up with Chris on the recent M&A activity of Glue and Fully Managed, the projects currently on deck at Top Down, and we discuss the current M&A madness in the MSP channel.
The products being managed by Top Down we mentioned
Backups are an important offering for any IT service provider. Cloudberry is focused on supporting MSPs build a flexible backup offering that protects servers and workstations, as well as cloud app data like Office 365 and G suite.
Cloudberry allows a free trial of their software, so why not sign up and give it a spin?
Doug hosts an MSP focused podcast called MSP Voice that you should subscribe to.
Todd: On the podcast today, I have Doug Hazelman, vp of technical marketing with cloudberry. Welcome Doug.
Doug: Thanks todd. Glad to be here.
Todd: So we're going to be talking about backup an extremely important topic for any it service provider as far as the things that you absolutely should be doing. Virus Protection and backup rank pretty much one and two are the things that that should be important as it service providers. So this is an important topic. You're with cloudberry and it's a cloud backup software born in the cloud type approach. If you want, give us a rundown on what excites you about cloudberry as a product offering for msps and it service providers.
Doug: Sure, so I've been in the backup is for awhile, but you know, one of the things I love about cloudberry is first they're focused on the it service provider, managed service provider market, so our managed backup service is targeted towards that and then I think what really sets us apart in his unique differentiator is the fact that we don't provide the cloud storage. The managed service provider provides the cloud storage and we support over 30 different cloud storage providers so you can go all in on aws s three if you want to or maybe azure or you can even mix and match and what that allows you to do is create offerings for your customers. Maybe they want the platinum level and they have a certain budget. Or is this someone who just needs some basic stuff and it doesn't have a lot of money. Maybe choose a different cloud storage provider that's a little bit easier on their budgets, so it really gives a lot of choice to the managed service providers and it prevents any kind of cloud lock in because even though you might choose aws to beginning, you can always move that to azure or google or Wasabi or backblaze, you know, doubt down the road. So you're not locked into any one particular platform.
Todd: Right. So the front end is yours to manage and even brand as well. And the back end is kind of irrelevant as long as the data's safe and backed up, it allows you a bit more flexibility to work with your own stack without that really affecting the day to day operations of the backup for the, for the client, right?
Doug: Yes, exactly.
Todd: And the system does image based backup as well as file based backup. Is there a distinction in the product or is that just a part of the, configuration?
Doug: It's, it's really just a part of the configuration. So whether you want to do image or file, um, is kind of up to you and what your customer's needs are. Um, you know, the Nice thing about image is it gives you quick recovery of the complete, you know, server or workstation, but you know, a lot of times if you're on limited bandwidth, file level backup, you know, you're, you're protecting the data that might be just good enough for, for what that customer needs because sometimes image level can take a while to upload to the cloud versus file level, which is usually pretty quick.
Todd: Right. And do you find people who have a different strategy for the server infrastructure versus managing maybe backup for an endpoint and can you mix and match that as well?
Doug: Oh definitely. So what we see a lot is, especially for critical servers as the image level backup, just because recovery can be so much quicker. And then for desktops, a lot of times it's just kind of file level backup or backup, the profile directory, those types of things where the, where the data is. And then the other thing from a recovery perspective is, you know, we talk a lot about the cloud and backup to the cloud, but you can also backup locally. So, you know, when I talk about that image level backup and recovery, maybe you do image level backup locally, but then file level backup to the cloud. So it's completely configurable in terms of however you want to do that. Again, based on needs, budget, bandwidth, all those types of things.
Todd: And the, I see a trend in the industry with kind of the alignment of some of the other vendors around a single stack. You guys are off obviously feature based in the fact that you are a kind of roll your own and design your own backup strategy as is. You're either cloudberry sense of this or your own personal situation or a feeling on having an appliance or not having an appliance given your history of veeam. I think there might be, uh, maybe some, uh, some influence in that. But I'd love your thoughts on appliance or no appliance. And what does that matter?
Doug: So it goes back to what I said about vendor lock in. You know, as soon as you have an appliance, you're locked into that vendor and to that appliance. And if you want to change, then how do you get that data that's on that appliance or in that proprietary cloud out and into the new system that you want to use. But actually if you've got regulations where you need to keep backups and those types of things, it kind of goes back to that whole vendor lock in. So those are. Those are kinds of things you want to be kind of concerned about. The other is [inaudible]. Not all companies are this way, but a lot of times is the upfront cost with the appliance because you're getting hardware now, some offer rental models and those types of things. But in an office of 10 people, do you really need a $20,000 sitting in their office to kind of handle the backup needs? Or is it fine just to have the backup locally installed on, on the pcs and servers and sending it to the cloud and to a NAS that you have local that you only spent a couple hundred bucks a month.
Todd: Right, So I guess to extend on that, if you don't have a local appliance to backup to, it can slow the recovery. What are the options for folks if they're gonna use cloudberry for that. Being able to do quick recovery from a local image rather than have to stream that image from the Internet, which could obviously take a few hours.
Doug: Yeah, there's actually a couple different scenarios that are. So if you're storing your image backups locally, then if you're a virtualized you can take that image and spin it up as a vm restored as a virtual machine and your, your, your backup and running that way. If you have hardware that's a desktop or laptop, you can do bare metal recovery onto new hardware. You know, and again you're, you're doing it locally so you don't have to like copy it all down from the Internet. And when we talk about cloud specifically, if you're looking at Amazon or Azure, we also have the option of recovering that image as a cloud based virtual machine. So you can recover it. You're saving it to s three. You can recover it as an [inaudible] virtual machine in Amazon or as an Azure vm and in Azure, so, and we're looking to add additional platforms to that, but that way in the event of a disaster where male, maybe the entire offices is no longer there, but you know, you still need to have people access the servers and those types of things. You can spin it up in the cloud and have people access to it in the cloud versus having to have anything locally in order to recover it too.
Todd: And is that something that's built into the software that you can ask for that image to be pushed up into the EC2 image and run from your platform and you have to do that separate from cloudberry?
Doug: Uh, no. So from a Cloudberry perspective, if you're sending your image level backup to either Amazon, S3 or Azure, then you get the option to recover that image as a vm in either of those platforms. So that was nothing. There's nothing else special that you need to do.
Todd: Cool. All right. And the other half that I found interesting about the platform as well as you guys also offer cloud application backup, so Office 365 and g suite and this is something that is becoming a lot more important a lot. A lot of people don't think that this is something that they would require back in the day of or like, well it runs in the cloud, it's managed. Someone else pays to look after this. It can be a pretty awful mistake once people realize that is not a and inherent protection for those cloud based systems. So maybe just tell us a bit more about the cloud backup functions of cloudberry.
Doug: Sure. You know, I always like to say it's your data. You need to protect it just because you're running office 365 or G-suite, they may have a backup of your email, but it may only be for the last two weeks. You know, they don't have any kind of retention unless you want to pay extra for it. The fact is it's still your data or your customers stayed at the thing. You'd be able to access it if they need to. So I always recommend even if you are running in the cloud, backup your data and you know, with our, our Office 365 and G-suite protection, one of the cool things I think is you can backup cloud to cloud. So if you're, you know, Office365, you can back up to Amazon s three if your G-suite you can backup to azure or Amazon or any other cloud. So that way you know the data's protected on a different platform. You need to recover, you can still do that.
Todd: So you guys really play the glue in the middle to shuffle stuff around in whatever cloud you choose and clouds you need. Right?
Doug: Correct. We live in a multi-cloud world, so yeah.
Todd: And that's truly the case now. I mean you often see people discussing it in forums and things like that. Asking your, you guys on Azure or Amazon and people seem to be sort of a, some things here, some things over there. So being able to be portable between those environments as you figured out your footing would be important for sure.
Doug: Yeah definitely.
Todd: And from a branding perspective, really nice addition that you guys have is that you can white label this so that it doesn't look like the vendor is using a particular piece of software in the background. Not that that matters maybe, but you know, some people really like having that brand identity and that this is our ABC, a it services backup software. So that's a nice play. Have you found people really gravitate towards that?
Speaker 1: Definitely. And the one area you know and where I see it's really valuable to have that capability is if a program prompt pops up and it says cloudberry, what's the customer going to do? Are they going to call their IT service provider or are they going to contact cloudberry? You want them to see your name if you're managing their it. And that's what this allows. So something pops up, it says ABC it, okay, I know to call my abc it guy, you know, whatever it makes it look like. Yes, this is an offering that we have. It's our brand that customers typically don't necessarily care about the back end technology. They just want to know that they're protected and it's the best way to do that.
Todd: That's a good point. The other one I thought of as you were, you were talking about that would be hopefully they're becoming security aware and if they see some prompt from a piece of software they don't recognize, maybe they would question that hopefully.
Todd: So in some circumstances, but if it is ABC it backup, then they're more comfortable with that piece of software running if they're somewhat security sensitive. Right?
Todd: Yeah. What about the traditional competition that backup faces in maybe the client where you've got a weekend warrior it guy and he you, you proposed some backup pricing for them and he does some quick Google research and says, wow, this is really expensive compared to la, la, la, whatever. Backup service. This is something that I've seen historically in the past where people don't really understand the distinction between backup services and why they're different.
Doug: So most people would probably not say that cloudberry is too expensive if you actually look at the pricing so you know, so that that's kind of one aspect that we do have going for us. But you know, people are going to shop around and they're going to look at pricing. A lot of people are very price conscious and price sensitive and again, because we're not offering the cloud, we don't have a data center, we're restoring your data. It allows us to offer very competitive pricing for the software component and then you can go out and shop around for the cloud storage and for the cloud services. So that takes kind of the pricing pressure out of it in terms of, of you know, cloudberry. But what you do see is they will shop around and, and you'll, you know, like you said, you brought up appliances and someone's, oh well give me a free appliance and then it's only so much per month. That may be the case, but then you know, what's your maintenance, what's your refresh cycle on hardware and those types of things. So things that people don't necessarily always think about it, they just look at price there. There's a lot more to it than just price.
Todd: Yeah. And I think the, the options of how you're backing up things are important. One of the distinctions that I found people didn't really understand in those scenarios where they would, they would do some research and try to compete with some off the shelf software is most of those systems or file based and that's okay if you just need to recover the files, but if you lose an entire server or a workstation, there's still the effort of recovering that machine versus just being able to restore from an image. So it's important that people educate their customers on why the backups are different and where that situation may apply. Uh, and again, advantage for you guys that you can kind of mix and match and whatever those scenarios are for sure. The other spots or you do have some PSA integration. So you guys plug into connectwise and autotask, can you expand a bit on, on what the features are that, that are allowed for by having that PSA integration directly?
Doug: Well, one of the nice things is from a ticketing perspective, you know, if it's, if it's with your psa, then it can obviously we can tie into the ticketing system and, and bring those up. The other is, you know, from a billing perspective, we could bring in that usage info from, from what they're using on cloudberry, hold that into their PSA if they're, if they're using it for billing and we even bring in the amount of cloud storage they're using. So you can set the price on cloud storage that you charge the customer. Okay. They're using, you know, this is how many gigabytes or terabytes that they're using a cloud storage, so this is going to be their price this month and those types of things. So really streamlines that process. And then besides psa we also have our mm integration with connectwise automate and we have a couple of others that we have integration that aren't necessarily on our website, but they're integrated from the perspective of that RMM vendor. So like Ninjas and example, and really deep integration with Ninja. But if you purchase from Ninja add cloudberry to it, then you get that deep integration.
Todd: And you guys have really easy deployment because you're just software and you can kind of just pop that onto whatever managed assets the, the, the vendor would need, right?
Todd: Okay. And what about a roadmap? What are some features that cloudberry have in the archives you guys are looking to spin out?
Doug: We're always working on something and a couple of things. We're looking at expanding some of the support we have for our cloud storage vendors to offer things that, you know, currently we might only offer on Amazon or Azure. So like synthetic backup is one of those items where rather than having to do a weekly full backup, you can just keep doing an incremental and then have the synthetic backup buildup in the cloud. So that's something we offer for Amazon and Azure. We're rolling it out some other platforms as well. Also the recovery verification, I'm looking at doing that automated so that once a backup is complete, let's run through a restore scenario and verify that yes, this is a good backup. You'll be able to restore from it if you need to. So that's another thing that's coming down the road on the backup side. Very cool. And what about the vendors that you guys deal with, the cloud vendors, have you developed relationships with them or do you sort of Wade into that at all? Like red? Do you leave that more agnostic for the providers
Doug: No, we have relationships with all the vendors for most of the vendors that we support. So we have a great relationship with Amazon. Great relationship with Microsoft and Azure. There was a webinar today with Wasabi, a joint webinar that we're doing with them. We've done joint stuff with backblaze. We've done a lot of work with Ninja, so we do have a very healthy partnership ecosystem and managing those partnerships moving forward.
Todd: Excellent. And if people are using some form of backup or they're looking for alternatives, what are your suggestions for them and learning more about cloudberry? Well, first off is we offer free trials. So if you want to get in, just take a look at our managed backup service go to cloudberrylab.com. Go to manage backup, um, and sign up for a free trial. And once you get access to the free trial, we verify that you are a managed service provider first before we give you access I, but once you have access to it, we actually throw in some free storage. We are testing, so I just a couple of gigs of Amazon S3 storage. So you get that for free so you can test it within also that unlocks access to the pricing information. So we don't put our for our managed backup service, this targeted MSPs, we don't publish, we don't publicly put the pricing on the Internet just because we don't want our MSP customers to see the pricing, you know, they're like, oh, you're only paying this much for that, for the backup. Why are you charging me more, but once you are signed up for the trial, you can click the buy button and it brings up the menu of pricing. You can put in numbers, you can see we have very aggressive volume discounts so you know that first number you see is that just the list price, but you know you up the quantity, the 30, 50 ,100 and you'll see the discount kick in and the price drop and really significantly so that's one of the best ways to get started and take a look at it is just do a trial
Todd: And you go outside of the MSP market, you do offer enterprise backup as well, so if someone is in host it and they would like to look at this and wanting to experiment with some, some backend vendors like S3 and azure and things like that. There is options for the direct to enterprises as well, right?
Doug: Yeah. We again are managed backup. We target for managed service providers, but if there is in house it they can take a look at that as well. We do have some customers that aren't managed service provider using our managed backup service, but if you're at home and just a home user and a prosumer and you like this idea of being able to backup to the cloud, but you don't need this whole management interface. We have what I call our standalone backup, which is cloud, very backup and you can download, install that. The pricing on that is published. There's a free version and that can help you get started. You just at home, you've got a couple of computers that you went back up to the cloud. Cloud backup is the way to go.
Todd: Alright, Doug will appreciate your time here and uh, informing us on cloudberry. If people would like to find out more about the product or cloudberry itself, any social channels or other mediums they should look for you and follow you on.
Doug: Yeah, so for cloudberry, it's cloudberry lab. Which is on twitter and in other areas. So and then cloudberrylab.com is the website. For me personally, I am @VMDoug across most of the socials, so you'll find me there on twitter, instagram, and other areas including reddit and then finally, one other thing that we do have is as a kind of a resource for the community is we do a podcast. I do a podcast called MSP voice and the goal of MSP Voice is it's not meant to be a podcast about cloudberry, but it's meant to be a podcast for MSPS, hearing from other MSP, so each week I interview a different managed service provider or someone in the industry and we don't talk about cloud or we talk about what's going on in the industry or know how they grew their business and any tips and tricks they have for other msps.
Todd: Yeah, it's a good one. I've listened to MSP voice. It's a. it's a fun podcast, so definitely check that out. All right, well we'll wrap up there and thanks for your time dot all.
Doug: Alright, thank you. Todd.
On the podcast today I'm speaking with Canon Bryan, CFO with Terrestrial Energy. Terrestrial Energy is an industry leader in next-generation nuclear energy. Nuclear is a fantastically efficient and clean source of energy, but over the years it's earned a bit of negative reputation. As Canon and I discuss this reputation is really unfair when you examine the facts. Terrestrial Energy is building the next generation of nuclear power. It's much more compact, it's dramatically safer, and could be the key to our energy future.
Today's podcast is brought to you by Simplesat. Your tool for stupidly simple satisfaction surveys. I'm joined by Derek and Cory Brown, the father-son team behind Pronto Marketing and Simplesat.
If you're in a service-based industry it's important to know how your customers feel about your service. Traditional satisfaction surveys are terrible and the response rates show that's the case. Simplesat can increase your client feedback 10 fold. Simplesat also makes the data more actionable.
I recently did a blog post about Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). So if you'd like to learn more about how getting customer feedback can empower your business, check it out.
Todd: Welcome to evolve radio where we explore the evolution of business and technology. Today's podcast is brought to you by Simplesat, your tool for stupidly simple satisfaction surveys. I'm joined by Derek and Cory Brown, the father and son team behind Pronto marketing and Simplesat. If you're in a service based industry, it's important to know how your customers feel about your service. Traditional satisfaction surveys are terrible, and response rates show that that's the case. Simplesat can increase your client feedback tenfold. Simple, sad. Also makes the data more actionable. Jump over to Simplesat.io for a free 30 day trial and try it out yourself now onto my interview with Derek and Cory.
Todd: Joining me on the podcast today, or Derek and Cory Brown, cofounders of Pronto marketing and simple set. Welcome to the podcast guys.
Derek: Hey, thanks for having us.
Todd: So this will be a bit of an experiment. This is actually the first time that I've had more than one guest at a time on the podcast, so we'll start with a bit of the background as we usually do. If you guys want to give us some history. I think people in the MSP market, especially, you're probably familiar with Pronto, you guys do a fair bit of work on web pages and marketing efforts for the industry. Some people may have seen simple set and the new product that you guys are working on. If you want to kick us off and give us a bit of background on where Pronto came from and your development through the, uh, through the industry.
Derek: Sure. Um, you know, I'll take that. This is Derek. Before I started pronto, Cory and I started Pronto. I worked at Microsoft for about 13 years in a variety of different positions, mobile devices and such. For one period of time I was responsible for windows small business server back in the day and spent a lot of time. Um obviously getting to know our, our partners around the world. I met partners in Australia and India and Europe all around the US had a partner advisory council. People like Curtis Hicks Arlin Sorenson and just learned a lot of, you know, really got to enjoy my time with the it guys and, and what became msps out of that. And when I decided to take a break and do something different than Microsoft and got talking to Cory about starting a company, you know, I really thought from my experience with these guys was a lot of struggles around marketing and marketing execution and getting things done. Um, and so we started pronto with the idea that we would be kind of like manage what we called managed services for marketing at that time that we would do execution and get things done for our MSP clients. And that's worked out really well. We've been doing it for 10 years. We have over 1500 clients, which are probably 900 or something. Are MSPS on all on some sort of ongoing subscription full service program along the way. Customer service became really critical to us. You know, we're doing thousands of requests a month. Major websites reduced to a quick short little updates to fixing things like broken forms. We have new customers on boarding, new customers going live sort of all through the life cycle. We started collecting this data and different sort of ad hoc ways zendesk had things are we use survey forms. Um, and you know, we're really kind of a super data geeky company. I have a fulltime data analysts that worked for me on this kind of stuff and we just started wanting to build better tools that gave us a more holistic view of things both from a CSAT or customer satisfaction at a transactional basis such as um, you know, were you happy with the support ticket to specific sorts of moments in time like the website goes live? What was that experience for you? We do NPS when people cancel with us and ask us, you know, how, what could we have done better and how do you feel about, um, you know, pronto with that kind of exit moment. And then we do quarterly N and lots of things. So really simple sat started for us as an initiative to just get better data for us and have a more holistic view. We also thought about it in terms of, you know, just wanting to have a full life cycle on our customers. For instance, we had a lot of people saying a lot of great stuff in our feedback, but we had no way to share it. That was really scaled. So we thought about that particular challenge as well. So really simple set, don't you grew out of two things which is our deep passion around customer service and doing better along with working really closely with hundreds and hundreds of MSPs day in and day out and the kind of things that they ask us, um, and the kinds of challenges that they have. And strategically for our business, it made a lot of sense because we really have come from just being a website to a full range of marketing services and adwords, facebook campaign management and custom content development and that we really have a full funnel. And the last piece in that funnel is really about customer retention and customer satisfaction and sharing feedback, you know, back to the top of the funnel. So we felt like it was a really good fit for our business.
Todd: So what I would take out of that is that the more things change, the more things stay the same. When you mentioned two things that I'm certainly familiar with that the marketing is always a heavy interest for, for customers, um, for especially people in technical fields. It's not an area that they're super comfortable with and usually need someone else to lean on for, for some of that support. And the other part that you mentioned that I'm a big believer in is that the knowledge is the easy part. The execution is where the rubber meets the road and I think that's a certainly an area where more businesses should take advantage of, uh, agencies that can support them in the areas that are not core to their business. So I think that's a really interesting that, that, that is still very evident in the industry today as well.
Derek: Yeah, we're big believers. I mean execution is hard, um, and something as simple as saying you should get a monthly newsletter out. You're in the tornado of taking care of customers and your focus is, you know, with small businesses and you're their it guy. It's so easy to punt. Send the newsletter to next week, week after week after week. And, you know, we just get it done for our clients.
Todd: The move to simple set, you mentioned a customer satisfaction scoring. This is certainly something that, uh, I'm a big, big believer in because how do you know how you're doing with your customer service if you're not actually collecting that feedback directly from the people that you're serving? And I think a lot of people make a mistake in making a lot of assumptions about what they think is happening and what they feel the client thinks about them and the relationship and they don't really have a lot of data to validate that, that visibility and to be able to justify what they either feel is the case or you know, sometimes they can just get scared and start to worry about, you know, are we okay here? Is this client or we as our relationship solid, I don't really know. They seem to say the right things when I speak to them, but they're not really giving me the warm fuzzies. So I, I think, uh, the customer satisfaction scoring really helps to objectify that data and make it clear that the clients on the ground are giving you appropriate feedback and people are satisfied with the level of service that you're giving and being able to have that as a defensible measure if anyone ever questions what you're actually offering and whether or not people are satisfied with the service. So that's sort of my view of CSAT. But uh, uh, you know, cory, if you'd like to expand on that, maybe touch on how you, your view of CSAT is important to a business,
Cory: right? Yeah. And it's a really good point that it's Kinda like before you would do all the other cool stuff with satisfaction, like publishing those testimonials are publishing your satisfaction score or integrations with third party systems like your crm or your psa. It's really getting it in place in the first place. Going from nothing to something is definitely the most important part. And it's like, you know, you're driving at night with the head without headlights on. You're just, you're completely in the dark where once you get this set up is there's kind of a peace of mind and a competence like you're saying that you know, you know every interaction, the customer at least has a chance to rate the feedback and provide feedback and it comes into the system or comes to you in a structured way where it's not just anecdotal and email to the founder of the company about a complaint or something. You hear offhand. All the tech is on site. It's captured in a structured way every time which allows you to take each piece of feedback and investigate that and dig into it in a structured way. Like in our team for example, when we get a bad satisfaction of Pronto, it sends an email to a group of people and our support manager is the person on point to dig into it and let us know what happened and we kind of do a little mini five why's analysis on that. So all of us in the company, we just know that if a customer leaves a bad review, we know that we're going to talk about it and we know that we're going to do something better to improve from it.
Todd: You hit on it being a two pronged approach. The one you have to find your way in the dark and just knowing what the customer satisfaction score is to begin with is sort of the first effort of that. If you roll this out or a and you find, hey, the satisfaction scores are great, good, and then you can continue to maintain that and address any negative feedback, but also in some cases you may launch it. And maybe this is the resistance in some why some people are not comfortable sometimes rolling out these systems is they're fearful of what they're actually going to find out and if they validate that clients are unhappy than that. That can sort of lead to some fear of validating the truth of that, which I think is kind of hiding from the inevitable. You're better off to know those things and be able to manage them appropriately rather than just sticking your head in the sand and saying, well, I don't want someone to say that what we're doing isn't working. You're much better off to be able to know that in order to fix it.
Derek: Yeah. We had a period of time where we were, at that time we were using zendesk and we were always getting 99 percent, 99 point five percent good ratings and I forget quite what was the question they would ask,
Cory: Just how satisfied are you?
Derek: Happy, you know, like people go happy. Yes. And we changed the wording a little bit, you know, something like was everything perfect. And we intentionally wanted that score to go down some because we weren't getting enough enough feedback, you know, of like, okay, we were good, but were we great? Um, so yeah, you can't hide from it. You want to keep, you know. And then then we started to get those. It dropped down to whatever, 97, 98 percent, but we got some really great feedback of people who were overall happy but like, well, now that you ask, you could have done this a little better. Um, so, you know, we just keep digging for it and sure it hurts your feelings sometimes, but you got to know
Todd: Better to know. The other piece I think is really important as well as sometimes the users are happy and the business owner is not. Usually the account manager is having a conversation with the business owner who maybe has some negative feedback and as saying, You know, well I've heard that people are not satisfied with the service that you're delivering. And being able to present some evidence to say, well that's, you know, that's not the indication that we're getting. Everyone seems to be really pleased. Maybe you're just hearing from one noisy person who keeps walking to your office to say that they're dissatisfied. Uh, so I think the, the, again that, that objective data to be able to have a data point to control the conversations that you're having with the client around certain narratives that may or may not be true, I think is really, really helpful as well. The other piece that I think is great for the, the approach that you guys are taking is reducing the friction from giving surveys and collecting that data. Uh, I'm sure everyone has been sent emails that says, Hey, please fill out the survey. And most people delete them. But if are actually inclined to fill out that survey, they click a link and realize that it's a four page, a web forum that they have to weed their way through typing into open fields and scoring on a rating of 10. And uh, they, they go through the first page and probably give up after that. And you guys are taking the approach of limited friction where just give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down or a smiley face or a frowny face. And that really helps the user to be able to just give you a single click within the email, within the ticket, within the webpage, and reduces that friction of them actually being able to provide the feedback that you are looking for.
Cory: Yeah, there's a few parts there. One is about the one click feedback, which is really important. Like you're saying, if you get an email that says please take five minutes out of your day to take a survey and there's a button there, it's the response rate's going to be super low because right there, you know, you're asking kind of like you're asking something that just no one wants to do in the first place. And the second part is that once you're on a survey, it's, they're usually the user experience is pretty bad and the design is bad. And there's a, you see the pagination and it's like one out of 20 and you're like, no, no way. I'm going to answer this so that we combine the one click feedback. So that's where you see the smiley faces in an email or thumbs or um, an NPS net promoter score, zero through 10 question and email. Once you click that, you're already answering question number one and that is already captured in the system whether they complete the rest of the survey or not. So that's already there, increasing your response rates and increasing the number of overall responses you're going to get. And then two, once you're on the survey, we're doing as much as we can to create a fun and interactive and intuitive survey process that is really different from the mean right now, which is this really kind of boring, ugly, arduous task where it's actually kind of fun and it shouldn't be a, you know, leave a positive image for your company after your customer takes a survey that it's like, wow, that was, that was cool what they just did that, you know, they have their stuff together.
Todd: Excellent. So you guys are generally serving the MSP and IT service market, but obviously CSAT is something that's pretty universal, especially in any type of a service entity. You, you guys don't limit yourself or view the product, as centric around it service providers do you?
Cory: So at the moment I'm kind of yes and no, we do have customers that are non MSPs using the product and most of them are still technology companies that are relying on a help desk, zendesk or a freshdesk to collect customer satisfaction. Um at the moment we are over 90 percent of our users are msps and we're finding more and more as we get into this. Just how um, you know, there's, there's all these different industries and niches and just how much each individual one requires an incredible amount of focus and attention to really get it right. So while we, it's kind of just the, the non msps are just coming in through word of mouth or organically, but the product that we're building right now is really centered around Msps, around support that we offer and the integrations that we have and the marketing and everything around that. Mainly it service.
Todd: Okay, great. And what type of feedback are you getting from the clients? I imagine there's the party that it didn't have any type of a program in place and I'm sure they're wowed and then you may have some people that are coming over from a different types of surveys systems. Can you maybe touch on both of those scenarios or any other type of success stories that you have?
Cory: Yeah, sure. So, um, and like you said that there's definitely two camps. One, they were doing nothing before and now they're, they're completely eye opening for the company to have this sort of data a user for to be an internal mail just the other day that they've sent out to their team where they say, um, you know, this, this data is beyond valuable and they're sharing the dashboards with our team in an email and kind of doing a weekly pep talks with the team and saying, you know, now we're up our satisfactions up a few points. We drop one the last week, so let's keep it up. Stuff like that. So that's really cool to see that it's actually making a, um, a driving impact on a company from other users switching over from other services. We've received a lot of feedback that they're receiving more responses, the response rates are going up from other solutions they were using and also our testimonial testimonial publishing widgets on websites are a huge hit where before they were just, they weren't really able to take advantage of positive feedback and one feature was simplesat is you can publish it, you can publish feedback on your website in real time and display it on your homepage or a testimonials page. So that's a big hit where we have a lot of users displaying that feedback on the webpage.
Todd: Yeah, that's a cool feature as well that you can actually see, hey, this was feedback from this morning or yesterday afternoon. It gives, uh, the, the, the, the, the vision around the fact that this is real time data that you're not sort of cherry picking testimonials from four years ago and leaving them up on the website, that there's fresh stuff coming in and people are satisfied with the service that you're, that you're providing something that's a really cool plus as well. That kind of leads to I guess some of the other feature sets. That's one of the differentiators that I certainly see in simple sat from the other products in the, in the industry. Um, it's not something that didn't exist before. So I'm curious why you guys decided to develop your own product to meet this need. If you either saw that there was something missing in the market or you felt that there was a competitive advantage that you can produce a against the competitors that were there.
Cory: Yeah, sure. So, um, as they are in the beginning, as simple as that really came from us with Pronto not having the solution that we really want. So a lot of this comes from our learnings about everything from feeling like the surveys aren't interactive and intuitive enough for users to, um, know there's no, a lot of different survey tools. They only do one thing, so they only do a CSAT ticket feedback where a lot of other tools specialized just in net promoter score collection or um, you know, there's other tools like survey monkey or type form that make really great survey tools, but really don't focus on the customer satisfaction element or focus on the MSP market. So when we look at customer satisfaction, we really view it as there's three areas that, one is surveys, so doing a great job at presenting surveys to customers and collecting data on two is the insights piece where once you collect the data as taken advantage of it in your own dashboard, uh, leaderboards and stats, integrations, notifications, reporting, and the third one is taking that customer satisfaction back out kind of top of funnel thing where you're actually using it as a marketing tool to increase website conversions and show your satisfaction percentage on a website or point positive customers to leave a good review on Google or facebook or some industry pay.
Cory: So we've seen a lot of, there's other competitors or other companies that do a great job at one of these areas, but we're not seeing a lot of it does a great job in every area and we really want to take ownership over every part from beginning to end. And that's how we think we can have the most high quality. Yeah. Product in that process.
Todd: Right. So kind of wrapping in a bunch of the different products that are available out there. Uh, the CSAT is the one that, that is sort of the core of the product right now. Uh, the, the other components that we've tucked on, touched on are more in the roadmap and things that you're developing. Do you want to touch on sort of what you see as the development and the roadmap for the product and what people would hope to see in the next six to 12 months?
Cory: Working on a net promoter score email feature. So this will allow MSPs to sync their customer list with simple sat. I will start with connectwise and autotask and infusionsoft and you sync the customer lists and all the fields that you need there. And you can create an audience within simple sat to make sure that you're only sending that net promoter score email to like active contacts with connectwise or infusionsoft. We use the person type and we'll manage all of the sending rules and delivery and where you can set it up on autopilot, where email sends out once a quarter to all your active contacts between Monday and Friday, five to nine, nine to 5:00 PM, evenly spread about the distribution between your lists, so it'll be a great. We've done this for Pronto for years now, but it's a great autopilot where you just know it's not like something you need to put on your calendar to do the NPS survey and like just like marketing, you're going to forget to do it or punt it. It's just on autopilot. It's always working. The feedback's coming in just like CSAT, so that's the the nps feature and we have that. We'll be ready to start testing in August. Other types of integrations, we're just working on getting deeper in the IT market, so for example, we're working on getting with a direct integration with bright gauge now users can integrate with BrightGauge at the moment through our dropbox integration. We'd like to get deeper with Brightgauge with that and just working with other partners and vendors and tools such as IT Glue and connectwise and autotask and all of them just getting deeper with that.
Todd: Great. And the NPS, we kinda touched on it a couple of times when people may not be as familiar with it because we kind of elaborated on CSAT. Maybe if you could just give us a bit, uh, a bit of a download on, on the usefulness of NPS as well.
Derek: Yeah. NPS is great for, for two reasons. It came from some research that, um, that you guys did at Bain, it must be 20 years ago or something and wrote a book called the ultimate question. And what they found was through kind of two things, one, that the most effective kind of question you could ask someone was, would you recommend this company to a friend or a colleague? Um, in one way or another. Um, they also did some interesting research that companies that actively did do customer service and follow up on it had greater growth in their, in their, um, in their stock price. It was actually kind of an analysis on the impact of the financials of a company that are focused on customer service. The great thing about NPS is not only, it's a proven methodology in terms of this question, but it's now benchmark across all kinds of industries and you know, you can go out and find benchmarks and see how you can compare. So I think it's just, it's a, you know, it's not a, it's not a solution for everything. There's other information that you need, like nps is not good for a ticket satisfaction. Maybe it's more like a quarterly or something to kind of check in with your customer on this kind of. I'm feeling about the overall relationship. You know, we also use a methodology, you know, something like raider that's kind of in between CSAT and NPS and of digging down a little bit more. Um, but I think at a minimum, especially say for an MSP, you need that CSAT transactional, how do we do on this ticket? And that's kind of a real hot, you know, kind of question that you can watch go up and down over time. And then you step back and ask your NPS and get that feeling of overall how people feel about the relationship.
Todd: Right. That's a great summary. So you're kind of collecting that, that similar type of data both from the top end of the relationship as well as the transactions within that relationship. Right?
Cory: Right. And then once you have those in place, it's really insightful. Um, when you're collecting both CSAT and NPS feedback. At Pronto, we know this where you'll, there'll be cases where you might have a really high CSAT score for customer, but in lower NPS score and the other way around and something like that could happen where, you know, the techs are always friendly and they always get things right the first time, but maybe overall your service is really overpriced or maybe you're missing a, a service component that's really inconvenient for the customer. So while they're really happy with the day to day interactions, they're not likely to recommend your company to a friend, but you know, it could be the other way around to where maybe there's a few texts that they just don't really like working with. But overall they're super happy to recommend you because they see a lot of value in the service and know they couldn't live without you. So that's been really helpful for us at Pronto that, you know, if you're only doing, it's Kinda like you're not doing anything, you're totally driving in the dark, but if you're only doing one that it's half the picture. So getting both in place really helped us.
Todd: Yeah. As I often say, a data does not give you any answers. It'll only help you out. Ask more intelligent questions.
Cory: Yeah. And like with asking questions, it's one thing that's great too about getting this feedback is it opens up a conversation with your customer and that's really what's important, that it's giving more channels and more opportunities to open up the conversation and the real meaningful insights that's going to happen. Or once they answer a question that you follow up with them and then you have a conversation about that. That's really one of the biggest values of a tool like this.
Todd: Yeah. And customer satisfaction is something that people absolutely need to take seriously. It's your best defense against commoditization in any type of service based industry. You need to develop deep, meaningful relationships with your clients and being able to collect that data and know that you're on track is super, super critical. If people are not collecting CSAT information and they're curious about the product, where would you suggest they go to check things out?
Cory: Right? Yeah. You can go to simplesat.io and just follow the sign up process. From there we have a free 30 day trial where you can use the product in its full form, do test it out and implement your system. So super easy to get going and I'm always available for support or helping implement with anything. So
Todd: anything I haven't asked or anything we haven't touched on that we showed in the conversation.
Derek: You've done a pretty good job.
Todd: If listeners want to connect with you and ask a follow along on social, any avenues that they should look for you on?
Cory: Yes, so you can find us on facebook and linkedin. Our emails are email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm probably the best way to get in contact though is to go to our website at simplesat.io and just chat. Start chatting with us with the widget in the bottom right corner.
Todd: Okay. Awesome. Well appreciate you coming on the show and talking a bit about NPS and CSAT and all the cool stuff that you're delivering to the market.
Cory: Yeah. Well thank you so much for the time and yeah, thanks a lot.
Derek: We appreciate it.
Todd: I hope you've enjoyed our conversation about simplesat and the importance of client feedback. If you haven't already, go to simple sat.io and test it out with a free 30 day trial. Also, if you haven't yet subscribed to evolve radio, please subscribe. That way you'll get the latest episodes straight to your smartphone.