Customer referral programs aren’t new, but in the mobile age, they’ve become a lot more complicated. Victoria-based Referral SaaSquatch emerged in 2013 to help companies manage referral programs, promising an ease-of-use that its competitors can’t match.
Referral SaaSquatch handles the entire process, from initiating the offer to fulfilling the rewards. Co-founder and CEO Will Fraser explains why companies need referral programs, and why he should be the one to provide them.
ProfitGuide.com: How did the company get started?
Will Fraser: We were working on another SaaS-based platform. We actually had a web app and wanted to build a referral program around it. We thought, Okay, this should be pretty easy to build.’ But as soon as you went beyond the very basic things, the complexity started to bloat. The program needs to tie into how we bill people, it needs to have a good user experience, it needs to have protection around fraud and security. We discovered that building it was not within our scope, and that’s true for the vast majority of companies.
What made you think you could offer something different from what’s out there?
We took a look at other products, and we really felt that they didn’t put the end user’s experience first. The customer would be sent off the company’s website, and they had to register, and so on. Some people are so willing to get a discount that they’re willing to jump through these hoops, but when you look at any of the really successful referral programs that have come in the past—Uber, for example—those programs were really native to the whole experience. So we put the end user first. We can work in a mobile app, a web app, and a physical retail store simultaneously. We go from engagement to fulfillment, too. If a person has just earned 10% off their subscription, we make sure it’s subtracted from your bill. And we can support subscription businesses, which are very different from transactional businesses.
Why should companies care about referral programs at all?
There are huge benefits. Referred customers primarily stay longer as customers and have fewer problems. They complain less. Referred customers are more profitable, so that’s a huge benefit to start with, and they cost less to acquire. The other thing is when your existing customers make a referral, they’re going on record to say you’re a great brand. So it actually helps retain your existing customers. For companies tapping into it, there’s a lot of growth potential here.
Are you seeing more companies adopt referral programs?
Yeah, the idea is really coming to the forefront with businesses that have an online presence. We’re seeing this switch where businesses are really looking at retention and referrals. There are some platforms looking at the retention, but the referral angle, for the most part, has been left in the dark. Companies are now sophisticated enough to realize they have to get there. One of the latest examples is that Tesla just put out a customer referral program—it’s gaining popularity in every industry.
What’s your biggest challenge right now?
It’s always a challenge to get our name out there. We’re always thinking about how we become synonymous with referral marketing. That’s a never-ending challenge, we understand that. We’ve focused a lot on in-bound marketing. People come to us through reading our blogs, downloading our ebooks, or by attending our webinars.
Are you going to be more outbound focused then?
We are starting to focus a little bit more on conferences, and on being where we need to be. So this month we’ll have people in Boston at a marketing conference, and at a conference put on by Salesforce in San Francisco. So just getting people out there into the world where we have potential clients.
What do you think of Fraser’s plans for Referral SaaSquatch? Share your (constructive) thoughts and feedback in the comments below.
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