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Ben Dlugiewicz, YouCanBook.me: “retention is critical for all SaaS companies”

There is a saying “work smarter, not harder”. It perfectly describes today's interview theme – online scheduling tools.

Whether you need to plan a work meeting or online appointment, automating tasks without tons of back-and-forth emails will surely increase your productivity as well as save your precious time. However, only the proper tools and software can provide you with such luxury.

For this reason, Cybernews contacted Ben Dlugiewicz, Product Support Manager at YouCanBook.me – a web-based scheduling software designed to help businesses manage customer bookings from a single calendar – who will explain how scheduling can make your life easier.

How did the idea of YouCanBook.me come to life? What has the journey been like?

Co-founders Bridget and Keith Harris built another software tool, WhenIsGood designed to find the consensus on a time to meet with a large group of people. During this they kept hearing about a need to schedule the actual meetings and YouCanBook.me was officially launched in 2011.

Since then the company has been growing each year and is still completely bootstrapped. Recently there has been an influx of venture capital entering the online scheduling vertical. It is amazing to see that so many people are seeing the benefit of scheduling automation.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do? What technology do you use to make scheduling easier?

Our platform is a public-facing webpage on top of a Google or Microsoft calendar feed. You can fully customize your availability and all notifications that will be sent to the customer. This allows your clients, candidates, interviewees, and customers to schedule and manage the booking on their own without the back-and-forth emails.

Our platform was originally built on Java, but it is now being refactored with React.js to afford more scalability and will allow us to create additional features from component libraries much faster. Everything is housed within AWS.

In your opinion, what are the main issues new businesses face nowadays?

Two of the biggest issues facing tech companies are employee retention and increasing user adoption. With the ever-increasing competition for top-tier talent, employers should be empowering their workers to explore and grow in their roles while providing a safe space for them to show up as their full selves every day.

The benefits need to align with their expectations as well. It is no longer about ping pong tables and free beer, but an equitable vacation policy and working on projects that excite and challenge them.

All SaaS companies are plagued by churn. It is vital to get your new customers to value as fast as possible. You should work on creating an effortless experience so they can continue working with limited obstacles. This is achieved through customer feedback and then implementing improvements. This will increase customer trust as well.

How did the recent global events affect your field of work? Were there any new challenges you had to adapt to?

We have always been a remote-first company so we were well situated for the work-from-home mandates and change to virtual working. During the start of the pandemic, we offered Zoom access to schools and universities for free. We understand that many organisations had to pivot quickly and didn't necessarily have resources available for the new way of working.

We also saw an increase in subscribers in non-traditional sectors like retail to schedule in-store visits. This was also accompanied by other teams changing course to doing things 100% remotely from sales teams to recruiting teams. The pandemic has definitely shined a light on the importance of scheduling automation.

With work from home becoming the new normal, what do you think are the most pressing issues affecting the remote workforce?

The biggest issues are employee burnout and isolation. It is vital for employees to be reminded to take holidays and recharge. Also, think about setting up fun activities even remotely to help the team get to know one another and bond.Every other week we have use our All Hands meeting as a social hour to play a game together. One team member is designated to come up with and facilitate a game, it has been a ton of fun. Also we have a booking page dedicated for calls about anything but work. This gives the team the opportunity to connect without the pressure of work.

We typically try and get together in person at least once a year, but with the pandemic, we had to put things on hold. We recently started meet-ups again with groups meeting in Spain, Portugal and the US.

What tips would you give to companies looking to strengthen their relationships with their customers?

Build the features that customers are asking for. As mentioned this will help build trust and a relationship built off of trust is very strong. We are also working on proactive outreach to our customers to help them get the most out of the platform. Our amazing Customer Success Managers are working directly with our biggest customers to help strategize and improve workflows every day.

So the biggest tip is to talk with your customers regularly and capture their feedback and implement changes when possible. This has to be taken with a grain of salt as the features you build should serve your target customers it isn't possible to build a tool that will help everyone.

What other aspects of our daily lives do you hope to see enhanced by technology in the near future?

Autonomous driving. It will be great once the technology improves a bit more. Think of a future road trip where you and your family can watch a movie or play games while the car gets you safely to your destination. Think of all of the accidents that would be avoided, especially those where the driver was impaired. I saw a recent MIT study that showed with fully autonomous vehicles there would be a 25% reduction in time and resources waiting for red lights alone.

With that said the technology needs to be refined more before mass adoption and I can see the lack of a common network for communicating these large data sets could be problematic, but how cool would it be if we never had to drive again?

In this age of ever-evolving technology, what do you think are the key security measures everyone should implement on their devices?

Without a doubt two factor authentication. Setting up 2FA on all of your online accounts adds a convenient way to create another barrier for anyone trying to access your information.

You simply download an authenticator app setup 2FA within the app, snap a picture and you are all set. So only you with the right login information and access to the 2FA device would be able to gain access. Right now I have over 30 2FA codes constantly updating on my phone.

Share with us, what’s next for YouCanBook.me?

The biggest focus is on making it easier for teams to be up and running with minimal effort. We will be digging into the onboarding flow and removing as much friction as possible. In the near future we will have a better way for teams to organise their resources.

Beyond this we will be revamping the booking experience and will continue to build powerful features to help teams further automate their scheduling.

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