Automation as a Service: A New Approach to SaaS by Fluix

File:Fluix Logo.png - Wikimedia Commons

Fluix is a web app that offers process workflow automation and data collection solutions. At the time of its launch in 2014, automation software wasn’t a unique or exclusive product, and the competition for the audience was already fierce.

Back then, the company had a rather basic workflow functionality, a small team of 25 people, no marketing budget, no patrons among top niche players, and no media contacts to guarantee publicity.

And yet, in 8 years, Fluix has evolved into advanced software with industry leaders as clients, (Siemens Gamesa, Zurich Insurance, BMW, SAS Airlines to name a few), and a successful company with offices and employees around the world. What made this evolution possible?

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How a Service-Centric Strategy Became a Gateway to Growth

Fluix’s main audience is field service industries like construction, energy, oil & gas, roadbuilding. The projects they run cross continents, cover ground, water, and air, and involve thousands of people, working from diverse locations under often challenging conditions.

One would think that such industries are the most likely candidates for benefiting from automation. Yet, the disturbing number of project managers the company interviewed in the course of market research would describe the adoption process as “challenging” and “demanding” rather than “live-saving” or “productive”.

The reason for this lack of enthusiasm isn’t insufficient software options, a skills gap, data security concerns, or unwillingness of top management to invest in new technologies. It’s the absence of human element in the communication over client’s touch points, and the experience of unsatisfying interactions with software representatives.

That’s why from the very start Fluix built its processes and operational capabilities to target any customer with personalized experiences at every stage of the interaction. Such an approach didn’t allow for massive scaling but generated a retention rate of up to 97%.

As of now, Fluix doesn’t have a standard marketing team, and its marketing budget is more than modest. Instead, they use a referral program as the main acquisition channel: 90% of customers learn about the product from their partners or colleagues who are working with Fluix. Many ex-users of Fluix also advocate for the tool.

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Here are the five pillars that made this brand devotion possible in the first place, and have sustained it throughout 8 years.

1.  Assisted onboarding

In Fluix, typical registrants for a trial period are project managers who need to test the system before recommending it for the entire organization. And nobody wants to be left figuring out a new product on their own, no matter how user-friendly it is.

To help test all relevant features within 14 days, Fluix sales team and customer success team provide a 1:1 onboarding session to help get started and remove friction from their user experience journey. They manually help build workflows and create complex checklists, extract data into reports, and set up integrations with third-party apps.

A 30-min call with a team member can replace navigating through dozens of tutorials and save time, and project managers are busy people. The more they use the system, the more understanding they have of how it can solve their business needs.

2.  Transparent organizational structure

With a team of 53 people, Fluix doesn’t have numerous divisions with separate headquarters, leads and managers. It takes one email to reach out straight to the CEO with your business needs. They won’t be transferred through several people and miscommunicated as a result.

Same success managers support the account at all stages, from onboarding to integrations. Enterprise or a local business of 10 employees, clients aren’t kicked between people who aren’t familiar with their communication history.

3.  Accessible customer insights

For a customer-centric strategy to be a mindset rather than paper statement, all Fluix employees have access to customer insights. Public JTBD interviews and feedback are shared with all members, who can focus not solely on their functions but on how these functions align with customer’s needs.

The company holds regular talks on customer history, and stores them so that newcomers can also learn it for customer understanding. Employees can join some customer calls or listen to their recordings. At employee meetings and weekly reports, team leads give updates on the customer experience journeys, and what makes them successful. This helps everyone better understand how and why people use Fluix, and build roadmaps based on it.

4.  Consistent system updates

When Fluix releases big updates, they are smoothly incorporated into the basic interface people got used to. Users don’t need to learn to use a system anew.

This is important for field crews like builders, technicians and ground inspectors who typically aren’t too good with using digital tools, and don’t welcome many changes.

5.  Multi-platform support

Primarily, the Fluix app was developed for iOS devices only. But as more clients with teams operating diverse devices arrive, a multi-platform strategy became a demand.

In May 2022, Fluix released its Android version, which will simplify project management for hybrid teams. An administrator in the office can pre-fill the form on a computer, a site inspector fills it in on an Android device, and a subcontractor can sign it on an iPad or iPhone.

Everyone can work with the device they own and get used to. Companies don’t need to force managers to buy new equipment; managers don’t need to force people to learn a different application.

All these tactics work for Fluix because they were implemented from the start. The company has a user-friendly app with a product-led design, content-rich website and supportive tutorials. But so do many other products of the category. Fluix’s way to differentiate themselves from the competition is a hyper-personalized customer approach. And although it may slow down scalability, the investment pays off. As the company continues to develop its long-term vision, customer-centric strategies are what will make its foundation.

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