We talked to Mike Slaats of Upvoty on how to turn user feedback into actionable product optimizations and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mike Slaats: Thanks for asking! We’re missing the social part of society, but we’re doing ok. We’re making the best of it.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Upvoty.
Mike Slaats: I started my first entrepreneurial journey when I was just 16 years old by creating a website where I sold printed design t-shirts. In order to sell more, I dove into online marketing, and soon I was really good at SEO, and other businesses started asking me to do online marketing for them. I then founded my second company, which was an online marketing agency. Within 3 years, we grew into a 7-person company with lots of fun clients, but I always dreamed of working on my own product, so I started my first online platform: A marketplace for home improvement.
Within 4 years, I managed to scale that business up to over $1,000,000 in annual sales, which was crazy! However, despite the success, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t fulfilled. It turned out that I loved the product, but not the market I was serving.
One day, because of the user growth, my team and I were looking for a way to collect user feedback. We couldn’t really find a great and affordable tool, so I then decided to leave the company to start a new adventure, which resulted in Upvoty: a user feedback tool!
How does Upvoty innovate?
Mike Slaats: We try to help businesses collect and manage user feedback in the most efficient way possible. We provide them with tools that they can serve their customers, a nifty and smart dashboard, and tools such as apps and browser extensions.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mike Slaats: It honestly didn’t. We had amazing growth. I guess part of the success is the fact that more and more teams are working remotely and are using software such as ours.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mike Slaats: My most difficult choice was to leave my previous successful business. But I’m now happier than ever. My biggest lesson learned: Choose a market and problem you’re passionate about solving!
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Mike Slaats: We use Crisp for customer support, Asana for project management, Slack for internal communication, Baremetrics for our subscription analytics, and of course Upvoty to listen to our users’ feedback.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mike Slaats: There are a lot of competitors in this space, but the great thing about user feedback: There are a lot of ways to collect and work with it, think of email surveys, or like we do with user feedback boards. There’s room for competition, and it’s actually a good thing because the more user feedback tools, the more companies can work with a tool they like. User feedback will always improve the products out there, which makes the internet an even better place.