Doubling your customer base in one month sounds impressive, and when you consider that Perch did so while maintaining a 0 percent churn rate for four months, it’s clear that there are some inspiring lessons to be learned from this company’s success.
That’s why I sat down with CEO Danny Robinson for an interview on Growth Everywhere. I came away from our conversations with three great pieces of wisdom that all startups can benefit from. Whether you’ve heard of this unique remote-work solution company or not, you’re sure to find value in the following lessons:
1. Understand your users’ requirements.
At its core, Perch aims to minimize the disconnect that occurs within remote teams through the creation of a “virtual water cooler” chat tool. Built as an iPad app, the program’s always-on video screen enables the casual conversations that in-person colleagues regularly engage in, which contribute substantially to a business’s corporate culture.
Of course, the words “always-on video” probably strikes fear in the hearts of privacy advocates everywhere. That’s why, to be successful, Perch has had to take extra measures to understand its users’ requirements. Typically, Perch is installed on a shared wall or near the water cooler to facilitate remote team-building. The fact that it’s rarely used at individual desks minimizes fears about accidentally over-sharing, thereby giving users more confidence in the capabilities of the system.
2. Over-service your customers.
Serving your customers well is about more than just understanding their needs. To make the system as strong as possible, the Perch team chooses a few customers at a time to really dive into the way they’re using the software. This could include everything from direct email messages (vs. automated update emails) or sending small gifts to say thanks.
The result of these in-depth interactions provides a better understanding of how people use the app and what they want to get out of it. Rather than creating a bland data set, these exchanges give the Perch team specific information required to make measurable, repeatable and scalable changes that benefit users all across the ecosystem. Pairing this with the company’s in-house iteration sessions helps Perch to further refine the product’s ability to help users connect, while still maintaining their privacy.
3. Drive word of mouth by being unique.
Robinson attributes the company’s rapid growth to two final factors: being unique and capturing word-of-mouth publicity.
As the only product on the market meeting this specific need, Perch was able to score a huge coup: a press mention from Gartner listing the company as one of its “ top five cool vendors.” Other companies pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for recognition by this thought leader, but Perch was able to secure it simply by being the only company out there doing the kind of work it does.
Further word-of-mouth referrals have come from AppSumo’s Noah Kagan, who lists Perch as one of his top 10 tools, and from Tim Ferriss’s podcast, where Kagan mentioned the product in an interview with the well-known author. Both of these mentions have led to substantial app traffic, though Robinson acknowledges that tracking the traffic to an iOS app isn’t easy and therefore it’s difficult to understand the monetary impact of these referrals compared to the company’s own advertising efforts.
Regardless of how interest is generated, the “secret” to Perch’s success is clear: identify a need that is unmet, develop a tool to meet it, get the product into the right hands and then make sure that those hands are well supported as they engage with your system. Going above and beyond to be sure that your customers are happy with the solution you’ve provided never fails to turn great ideas into big successes.
To learn more about Perch and its products and processes, check out my full interview with Robinson here: