August 25, 2019

First Customer Cancellation

Jimmy Lipham @jimmylipham

Achievement unlocked! This week we had the first customer come up and say "You know what? This is a great product, but it isn't quite right for me."

Even bigger shocker? It was our first customer on the early access list.

From the get-go, the customer had sort of an atypical use case for Repobox. They distributed more fully fledged software compared to traditional libraries that get shoved in a subfolder somewhere. However, we ended up sending the early access customer some steps to get their package published and API docs on how the licensing worked. In fact, we even developed the API in record time so that it would work with a custom Stripe flow and backend that they were using.

Over the next week while waiting for the customer to get a chance to mess around with the system, I say to myself "Yeah, you know, we can make things a bit better for this customer by writing a simple CLI tool that their customer has to use. They're already running several commands, so we can bake the licensing right in and make sure that they're getting the latest updates all in the same step."

That night, I stay up until 2AM finishing off this CLI tool, completely white labeled to the customer. Five hours later, the dreaded email comes.

You knew it would happen sooner or later... you just thought "maybe a little bit further down the road..."

The customer breakup email.

Well, shit.

Is it the customer's fault? Absolutely not! A lesson learned is that customers are at different cadences and points in their journey compared to where you are. It doesn't make sense for every customer to drop what they're doing and pursue an integration with an indie product. This is especially the case when your product is potentially injected into their customer experience. In fact, that customer has every right and obligation to be critical. They should be. This customer builds amazing things, things that help people, things that build freedoms, things that inspire. There is an opportunity in every customer, and every cancellation.

Takeaways

  • Don't spend time building based on assumptions. Talk and talk more often. Then build
  • I've done ten times as much customer development work on Repobox as I have other projects, but it's still not a silver bullet.
  • When customers leave, do every single thing you can to learn from that experience. Ask questions, aim to understand where that customer is at.
  • Carry the heck on.

Happy hacking, my fellow freedom fighters! 💪

Loading comments...
Today's Top Milestones
  • Launched today!
    Today's the big day... After spending months helping **hundreds** of newsletter creators to grow referrals for **millions** of subscribers in private
  • We finally planted trees!
    Back in July, I realized that Snap Search was now earning enough to support the continuous development. And I really wanted to do something more with
  • Open Report July: 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ customers edition 🤯
    💰 MRR: $7875 +24% 💵: $8290 +5% 🤝: 18 😊: 103 💔: 7 (vs 11) 👋: 651 (vs 287) <- Pirate flagHeavily inflated 🔎: 24,800 +35% Rocket Firstly, this mon
  • Top of /r/entrepreneur for a day
    Yesterday, a couple hours after my co-founder Mat posted on /r/entrepreneur, [the post took off](https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/comments/i3jtri
  • Launched Plugin On ProductHunt - The right way
    Yet again, another PH launch! Well, this time we did it the right way. The l
  • Prioritization Sticky Notes
    The best ideas on how to make a decision on what to do next. All the best prioritization practices on a single page. Save yourself a hundred hours on
  • 100 Signups
    It's been an interesting ride to get here, but Stacky just passed 100 users! This has been the result of several efforts, including blogging, social m
  • Launched on Indie Hackers
    Past few weeks, I was working hard building my website and products. I already build the core functionality and setup the checkout system. I still hav
  • First 3 customers!
    It took 48 hours post-launch and I have largely Indiehackers to thank for it. The initial goal was 100$ for the first week, but now Triggered is just
  • Reached 4K daily active users
    9 days since I got to 3K, a new milestone achieved - 4K users are actively using trends everywhere - the Chrome extension for data geeks to track curr