Why I Tell My Users To Try My Competitors

08 Dec 2015

Heads Up Before August 2018 Saber was known as "BugMuncher", so you'll see the name BugMuncher instead of Saber throughout these older posts. You can read more about the name change here - BugMuncher rebrands to Saber.

No two companies are identical, ever. Sometimes a company will spring up that seems to be a clone of an existing company, but on closer inspection there will always be some very important differentiating factors.

A classic example of this is the Samwer brothers, known for ‘cloning’ US companies for the European and general non-US market. I remember when they launched Paymill, essentially a clone of the wildly successful Stripe payment processor. At the time Stripe was only available to US companies, so while on the surface Paymill seemed like a rip-off of Stripe, right down to an identical API to the one that made Stripe so popular, there was one very big key difference: Paymill was available to businesses outside of the US, which happens to be a huge market.

Bare with me, there is a point to this rambling introduction. What I’m getting at is that while companies have competitors, it’s better to think of each company like circles in a Venn diagram, each with varying levels of overlap.

BugMuncher has a lot of competitors in the “Website Feedback” category, but not one of them is exactly the same as BugMuncher. They may have a different use-case, be aimed at different types of companies, have different features and integrations, etc.

The point is BugMuncher isn’t the right tool for everyone, and that’s OK. I recently had a customer cancel BugMuncher, telling me they had been unsuccessful in getting their clients to use it. I replied telling them that I understood, and thanked them letting me know.

A few days later I had a bit of a radical thought: “BugMuncher isn’t aimed at getting design feedback from clients, they’d probably be better off with TrackDuck, or maybe Usersnap, I should tell them that.” So I emailed them back and recommended they checkout those alternatives to BugMuncher.

It was this thought, coupled with my love of automating things, that inspired me to add a new email into BugMuncher’s email cycle. From today if a customer lets their free trial expire without converting to a paid account, they will receive the following email a couple of days later:

It might seem like an odd move, but to me it just feels like the right thing to do - if someone doesn’t find what they’re looking for in BugMuncher, why not try to help them in their continued search?

I’m not looking for anything in return, and I have no deals with any of my competitors. I just enjoy helping people, and if I can do so while going against conventional business wisdom, even better.

Although I have to admit it’s not entirely a selfless act, it did give me something new to write about :)


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