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When Higher Numbers ≠ Growth

Abby Sullivan Mar 13 2020

Today, more in subscription fashion. (But it’s never really about the clothes, is it?) Plus, Jay Acunzo with advice on launching your brand’s podcast. And finally, Intercom comes in clutch with strategies for your remote customer support team.



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Ready, set, remote support

The remote work movement is undoubtedly heating up as COVID-19 creeps its way around the globe and we do our absolute best to keep it at bay. And we’ve seen a ton of advice on being the best remote worker, how to stay sane during it all, and tips for tools to use in the process. 

But little have we seen on the side that Intercom’s highlighting for us today: customer support. Which is hugely important because our companies are built on relationships

Customer support is helping customers achieve their intended goals, it’s a methodology for thinking about product, pricing, and experience that’s customer-focused and goal-oriented—and it’s one of the most important tools that SaaS and subscriptions have for boosting retention rates.

So just because this pandemic has forced many to go remote, we simply cannot ignore our customers and their continued success. And Intercom, the customer messaging platform, is here to help us from afar‚ as some teams temporarily shift from a regional team model to a fully remote one.

First up: Double down on teamwork best practices. Primarily, do this with a smart meeting strategy. Intercom found that there are three particular meetings you’ll need to stay aligned efficiently:

Also be sure you utilize the endless number of tools out there for team collaboration. There are many you already know, and some you may have never heard of (but are just as useful, so don't be afraid to test the waters). 

Another rule to heed: Bring in support automation and self-service—utilizing items like chatbots, automatic tagging, proactive support, and your help center. The shift to remote work is a good time to re-evaluate your workflows and see how you can automate more of them to drive greater efficiency. We’re fans of this at ProfitWell. Keep the train moving, swiftly yet efficiently. 

And be sure to create a sense of normalcy and joy. It’s too easy to get into this rhythm of isolation with remote work (especially amid a pandemic… I mean…) but small action items can really change that. 

Here’s some of what the Intercom teams are doing: 

    • Morning surveys through Slack, mid-day photo shares, end of day highlight threads
    • Team challenges. For example, remote power hours. Apparently these kinds of challenges can be great for both team camaraderie and delighting customers.
    • Frequent postings of their metrics dashboard on Slack to replicate their real-time metrics monitor at the office

It can take time to adjust, but remote work is effective and, in many cases, just as powerful as co-located. Yep, we went there. We’ve seen the data.

For now, embrace the remote. 


Stitch Fix could use a fix of its own

It’s not always about the fashion with these subscription clothing companies. It’s really about the lessons we can take from them—in acquisition, in pricing, in customer success. 

Stitch Fix, a venture-backed subscription company, recently announced its fourth quarter earnings—and we got some takeaways:

    1. It’s profitable.
      (Which we can’t even say for a majority of the big dogs out there, can we?)
    2. Its users grew 17% to 3.5 million.
      (Not bad, right?)

Not so fast. Stitch Fix’s stock fell 25% this week in reaction to those earnings. And although they’re using the beloved recurring revenue model, there’s a crack in the system. They’re offering something in addition to their core subscription product, which could be screwing them up. It's an option for users to actually buy the clothing straight from the website. (Which essentially isn’t any different than shopping from a non-subscription ecommerce site.)

And customers are reportedly spending half as much in their second year of utilizing the platform than they were in the first. So Stitch Fix amped up ads and brought in a whole bunch of new users, as we pointed out above. But the ARPU of the newer adopters isn’t reaching the levels as its early adopters, Robinhood Snacks points out. 

And this is not an isolated issue. We know there is a lot that companies get wrong about customer acquisition. And the data has shown that our addiction to customer acquisition-based growth is part of the problem

We’ve been digging into this for several years now. Here's what we've found

Is this your favorite show?

Before launching your brand’s podcast, marketing master Jay Acunzo urges you to ask yourself: Can it be anyone’s favorite show?

This week, he looked at the science of why people like stuff, what it does to our focus as marketers, and the change we need in our content to deliver something undeniably powerful for our brands and audiences.

We're always coming back to this idea of brand affinity. If our end goal is to gain our audience’s trust and love, we need their time. If we want their time, we need to provide experiences they willingly choose.

So, Jay asked Jay Baer, Founder of Convince & Convert—a digital marketing and customer experience advisory firm—about keynote speaking, why a busy exec might green light a show, and why they'd be compelled to invest resources and/or time into it. 

“There is only one way a show can succeed: It has to be somebody’s favorite show… If you can come up with an angle that is distinct enough to become someone’s favorite, I’ll support the premise. But launching a show that’s 5% different than an existing one, or 5% ‘better,’ is not a rational justification to create a new show.”

Because what does “favorite” actually mean? “Favorite” doesn’t necessarily mean something is amazing, we know. Jay says it’s about identity. “You like something because of you: because of who you are, what you’ve experienced, and what expectations you now have.” Our favorite things, they feel personal. 

And what’s plaguing too many B2B companies in this realm is that they’re simply focused on being relevant or enjoyable, Jay attests, but ultimately, it’s about being different. 

That’s it for your March 13 episode of Recur Now. If you have thoughts on any story we cover or news to share, send Abby a note to

This has been a Recur Studios production—the fastest-growing subscription network out there. If you find use for this show, subscribe for more like it at

By Abby Sullivan

Content Marketer

Subscription market insights you won't find anywhere else.