Startups are tough.
I am working with a B2B SaaS startup now where Customer Success was a major function from the early days… and it shows. It’s a great company.
I think of that now, because I’ve been bitten, as a consumer, by an incident with a B2C startup. In case there was any question (hopefully not!), Bitcasa has proven how critical CS is for B2C startups as well.
Whether it’s a function, or a value… if you’re not considering your customer in B2C land in 2014, you are in trouble. Bitcasa is in trouble. Not just legal trouble… if there are many other customers like me, or some recent acquaintances on the Twitter, there will be some folks walking away:
— Bryan Tapdick (@BTapdicky) November 14, 2014
I often don’t read emails from companies I do business with… especially if my account is in good standing. I keep them all (thanks Googs), but I don’t read them immediately (where immediately is defined as within a year of it being sent). As a digital analyst and business owner, I’ve been involved in email marketing forever, and I’ve found this to be a fantastic way to reference actual emails from companies I am familiar with. I don’t unsubscribe (unless you anger me). I hoard.
Fortunately, early last week I happened to notice an email I received from Bitcasa. The subject line kind of caught my attention: “FINAL WARNING: Move all files by Nov. 15″. As a customer with a pre-paid recurring annual subscription and a general fan of startups, I feared the worst: Bitcasa was going out of business.
Nope! Here it is:
From email@example.com no less (don’t make me link to KISSmetrics or Hubspot or something). I must have missed an email a long time ago, right?
Nope! Here it is:
I pay in advance for this yearly subscription so that Bitcasa will help me keep backups of my data. To protect me against loss. From October 23 to November 15 is 23 days. That was the amount of time given to a paying customer on a recurring yearly subscription in good standing through some day in February 2015. Well, now I have until the 20th thanks to the restraining order (and there is speculation that will be extended, since the whole situation is quite ridiculous).
I get pricing model problems, I get resource planning / utilization mishaps. There are ways to take care of those things. This is not one of them.
I personally was utilizing under 300GB of space. Migrating to a 1TB account instead of “infinite” (which I knew was BS — you can’t oversell any more than calling something infinite, right Verizon?) is not a problem. The problem I have is with the treatment of the customer. I’ve moved to a month to month subscription and will get the hell off ASAP.
I’m not even sure if I need to say anything else… clearly, the consumer was not top in mind when the decision to treat each and every one of us exactly the same (and not well). I have a long history with SaaS operations, business models, and client services / customer success. If you have customers on subscriptions, you treat them well. Again, it sounds ridiculous to even be saying that… but here I am.
Good luck to anyone in more serious situations than I, with critical or otherwise important files that they may not have noticed getting deleted, etc. This is crazy.