Leaders must foster collaboration between engineering, customer success teams

I love the collaboration that I get to witness working within the world of startups. In fact, seeing this clear window of teamwork and connection develop at early-stage companies was a critical motivator in my decision to start another tech company.

In my experience, at the beginning of any startup, it is so small that everyone is habituated to working with everyone. However, maintaining that culture of collaboration and codifying it to be part of your company’s DNA is critical to your growth.

In my experience and in talking to other founders, as a company scales there are two teams that grow separated from each other, sometimes to the point where neither clearly understands what the other team is doing. These two teams are engineering and customer success.

Continue reading this column in Forbes, where it first appeared.

Christian Wiklund is CEO of unitQ.


Embrace customer feedback data to drive business success

It’s no surprise that today’s customers have high expectations when it comes to product quality. And companies have high expectations as well — product quality is incredibly important to an organization’s ability to differentiate itself and compete. But if those expectations aren’t met — if there’s a disconnect between customers’ expectations and how the product actually functions — customers can become frustrated. They might go to a competitor, or they might simply give up on the product altogether.

It is critical for organizations to remember that what you can’t measure, you can’t improve. Fortunately, in today’s environment, there is an opportunity to utilize data collected from users to address quality in a way that wasn’t possible even a few years ago. 

The most significant piece of data for organizations to consider is the voice of the customer. This data is the single most important source of truth when it comes to product quality, and it comes complete with actionable insights and precise information about what users are saying about your product’s performance, features and capabilities. 

Continue reading this story in Profile Magazine, where it originally appeared.

Christian Wiklund is unitQ CEO and Co-Founder.

Best Practices

Top reasons to involve marketing at the strategy table

As a two-time startup founder and CEO, I often think of my role as enabling all of our teams to come together and work toward the same larger strategy. All too often, though, I see hyper-growth tech companies start to become fractured and then go down a disjointed path of different goals.

On highly technical teams, marketing can often be overlooked and, therefore, not brought to the table for strategic initiatives. This can be dangerous because the strongest companies remain united on prioritized goals that drive expansion, adoption and engagement.

Here are three strategies that I have seen be successful in both equipping marketing teams with what they need as well as helping entire organizations see the value in their marketing teams:

Continue reading this story on Forbes, where it originally appeared.

Christian Wiklund is unitQ CEO and Co-Founder.


Learn how to turn customer insights into better products at our Quality Community event

We are passionate about helping organizations build exceptional products and experiences based on actionable insights from customer feedback. This feedback data is the best resource to help teams prioritize and execute fixes more effectively, and to bridge the gap between an organization’s current UX and their users’ evolving expectations. 

It’s an obvious business principle — that successful companies must focus constantly on improving the customer experience by leveraging user feedback. But practicing this principle, until now, has been much easier said than done. 

That’s why we built unitQ — an AI-based platform that is able to take your users’ qualitative feedback and automatically consolidate, translate, and categorize it into real-time data that is actionable and measurable

Come to the unitQ inaugural Quality Community event

We have gained so much traction in our movement to arm organizations with a comprehensive understanding of what features customers enjoy, what they find hard to use, and what bugs should be prioritized or addressed in long-term roadmap strategies. Yet we want to expand the product quality movement even more, and that’s why we are debuting our inaugural Quality Community event

Executives from Pinterest, Upwork and DailyPay will demonstrate how they transform user feedback into actionable insights to strengthen their brand’s position and reputation in the marketplace. 

Our panelists for this online, interactive event include Vani Kumar, Head of Quality at Pinterest; Todd Ranson, Sr. Director of Customer 360° at Upwork; and Darlene Miranda, VP of Product Management, UX Design and Research at DailyPay.

The never-ending product quality journey

I’ll help moderate this first-in-a-series of Quality Community events that unitQ will continually host. And I’m excited to take the stage with Vani, Todd and Darlene as we discuss how organizations can become even more successful by blending user feedback with unitQ supervised machine learning and our growing artificial intelligence platform.  

Register now for the free, interactive Quality Community event that begins at 10am PDT on Oct. 6, 2022.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

Christian Wiklund is unitQ CEO and Founder.


Leverage what you have or build new features in a tough economy?

It was my love for building that initially drew me to engineering, but it has been my sense of focus and persistence that has helped me build two successful tech companies. Lately, I’ve noticed a worrying trend within the startup world: a lack of company focus. In today’s environment of hiring freezes, layoffs and decreased VC spending, focus seems like one of the most important topics for organizations to address.

When companies over-prioritize building new product features, they constantly shift their attention from one new shiny thing to another. This can lead to a scattered core solution, customer churn and financial burn. But when you optimize to fix what you have to improve product quality—instead of budgeting for building new features—organizations can increase retention, engagement and conversion during uncertain economic times.

There are so many upsides to fixing issues and working on your foundation. I was recently asked about tips to help leverage focus and build a strong organizational foundation. Here are my top three:

Continue reading this article on Forbes, where it originally appeared.

Christian Wiklund is unitQ CEO and Co-Founder.


The data CIOs are missing from their tech stacks

One thing that connects nearly all companies in today’s digital world is the universal quest for data. From data modeling solutions to business intelligence tools, there has been a big explosion of access to data velocity, volume and variety across all stages of companies—from startups to enterprises. Chief information officers (CIOs) are at the center of this movement, leading data revolutions at companies around the globe—but right now all technical talent is paying attention to what data is sharing.

However, I have seen many CIOs get bogged down by numbers and forget about both the qualitative and quantitative data coming from the audience who knows their company better than anyone: their customers.

I believe that to fully understand what the data tools are processing today, CIOs also need to prioritize paying attention to the voice and lens of their users. And I don’t just mean looking at how long customers stay on a webpage or what links have the highest click-back rates. Here are my four tips that CIOs can incorporate for their teams to help tap into new metrics and get better data to help their organization:

Continue reading on Forbes, where this article was originally published.

Christian Wiklund is unitQ co-founder and CEO.

Best Practices

What tech leaders can learn from a $500k bug

When I started the social media app Skout in 2007, I was blown away by our traction. We had over 50 million installations globally, had raised over $22 million from Andreessen Horowitz, and there were hundreds of incredibly talented employees making it all happen. 

Despite our success, and unbeknownst to us, there were many 1-star reviews on the Google Play app store in the Polish language, dinging our Android app in a language we didn’t understand. This small piece of the overall Skout community was frustrated and was telling us exactly what we needed to know, that the app was unusable in Poland, but we weren’t listening. 

Continue reading on VentureBeat, where this article was first published.

Best Practices

Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Poor Product Quality

Software, by its nature, has bugs. That’s not really a problem, since they’re expected; the problem is how your team tackles those bugs. The first step in stomping out bugs is identifying the issues before they become too big of a problem.

unitQ Monitor acts as an early warning system, helping you identify bugs before they become large problems for your company. unitQ Monitor monitors all your customer feedback, identifying new issues and alerting your team when it detects a sudden spike in reports from customers.

So what happens when you are flying blind without this warning system? You could enter a vicious cycle, where bugs go undetected and linger for far too long, causing customer dissatisfaction, leading to churn and the abandonment of your product for a competitor’s. Lingering quality issues can cascade throughout your organization, with more support tickets being submitted, more 1-star reviews being written, higher user churn, and lower engagement.

An Example of the Vicious Cycle: Lost in Translation

To help illustrate this vicious cycle, let’s walk through the business impact of one bug from the company I started before unitQ, Skout. When new users signed up for Skout in Spanish, the localization string for “male and female” literally got lost in translation — the genders were reversed in the signup flow. This bug went undetected for 4 months. Never mind that Skout had 35 people working in our Chile subsidiary. You know what they do? They speak Spanish all day long. Despite that we couldn’t connect the dots until we saw the user reviews come in, combined with second day return rates showing an anomaly for all Spanish users. Their second day return rate was half that of users in other languages.

As a result of this bug persisting:

  • Support volume increased, since users reported the same bug over and over again. 
  • Our app ratings decreased. We found that the average rating for a review containing a bug report is 1.5 stars. 
  • Conversion dropped, not only because of the low rating, but because the bug acted as a filter mechanism masking important product flows. 

This led to the worst case scenario: we entered into the vicious cycle of product quality. Our bucket started leaking with bigger holes, and eventually our loyal users began jumping ship.

We frequently found ourselves saying, “If only we found this bug 6 months ago, the business would have been 3-5% bigger today.” It became an obsession of ours: To hunt, quantify, prioritize and fix bugs. And nothing was more satisfying than launching fixes and seeing a big boost in engagement and retention metrics. Just like when we fixed the Spanish bug.

To learn how unitQ is helping category-leading companies like Chime and Strava break out of the vicious cycle, request a demo today.


Announcing Our $30M Series B Led by Accel to Power the First Product Quality Platform

“Is our product working as it’s supposed to?” It’s a dead simple yet fundamentally important question most technology companies consider daily, but staying on top of product quality has historically been an inexact science. App Store or Google Play reviews are far from comprehensive and represent sentiment over time, rather than a current snapshot. While Net Promoter Scores (NPS) have become a ubiquitous tool for product teams, they rely on surveys proactively sent out by businesses – meaning they’re more likely to capture positive sentiments and represent a tiny fraction of users. As a result, companies rely on manual processes and anecdotal data to make decisions on what should be fixed next, and the product suffers as a result.

unitQ empowers companies to take a data-driven approach to product quality so they can fix the right quality issues faster. unitQ Monitor, our AI-enabled product quality platform, determines what specifically is impacting quality at any given time, so that teams like engineering, support, product ops, and product management can identify, prioritize, and fix quality issues that matter most. Customers have seen significant improvement in growth, user retention, and engagement by leveraging our product, which then impacts bottom-line results.

In fact, on average customers are able to increase their product quality by 20% in 30 days, which correlates to a 20% improvement in their unitQ Score. We help them improve their product quality by identifying actionable insights in their user feedback from public sources like app reviews and social media, private sources like support tickets, support chats, and surveys, as well as the unitQ API, which connects to other external data sources. With these data points, unitQ automatically tags and analyzes quality issues and delivers the most comprehensive and accurate view of product quality yet.

Some of the most well-known consumer technology companies in the world rely on unitQ, including Chime, Pandora, Strava, The RealReal, and AppLovin.

Since we announced our Series A in March of 2020, we’ve more than tripled our revenue. Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve raised $30M in funding from Accel, with support from Creandum and Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund. This brings our total amount raised to $41M since launching in 2018. This Series B will allow us to expand hiring across engineering and go-to-market so that we can expand our reach and serve more businesses.

“One of the best ways consumer technologies can differentiate is by building a product that is reliable and consistently works as intended for its users, and yet up to this point this has been largely an inexact and manual undertaking,” said Andrew Braccia, Partner, Accel. “We invested in unitQ because it has the potential to transform how businesses think about product quality and its impact on usage, retention, and bottom-line results. At Accel, I’ve invested in dozens of consumer tech companies spanning industries – from Hotel Tonight to Etsy to MyFitnessPal – and know that a product like unitQ would be a game-changer for almost all of them.”

The Journey Ahead at unitQ

My co-founder, Niklas Lindstrom, and I started unitQ because we have firsthand experience with the challenges involved in measuring product quality. Before unitQ we founded Skout, a social app that had over 50 million app installations before being acquired by The Meet Group in 2016. During the decade we worked on Skout, we never lost sight of the user experience and our top priority was ensuring people were happy with our product. We would have loved to have access to a product like unitQ, which is why we decided to undergo the ambitious task of building a solution for ourselves.

This is just the beginning for us as the first company to take a data-driven approach to product quality. We aim to not only be a tool that every consumer business relies on for maintaining world-class products that people love to use, but also to be a resource for consumers that want trusted, reliable information on the products available to them so that they can make better decisions. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our amazing customers, employees, partners, investors, and advisors that have helped us get to this point.

We’re just at the beginning of this exciting journey. If you’re interested in seeing how unitQ can work for your organization, sign up for a demo today. If you’re interested in joining us, be sure to check out our open roles and get in touch.


Take Your Product’s Quality to the Moon

You may have heard that we reference “Product Quality” quite a bit here at unitQ. We believe quality is more than just product experience, it’s the entire surface area of a company. It’s also a characteristic that will become more instrumental for business success in the coming years. As its prominence is rising across different industries, let’s talk about how teams can take their product’s quality to the moon. 

Meet Product Expectations

The key is making sure the product works as expected. When someone is using a product, they have an expectation that things should work in a certain way. If there’s a disconnect with what’s expected with any product, it will cause dissatisfaction and ultimately churn. To prevent this from happening, the best place for businesses to start is leveraging user feedback data. The user base has almost complete test coverage as they interact with the product and its features everyday. If businesses can capture the data, extract actionable insights, and ensure the right information reaches the right person at the right time — they’ll empower their teams to take a data-driven approach to product quality and stay ahead of the competition.

Stay Laser Focused on Mission-Critical Insights

Many teams struggle with the manual and resource-intensive process of gathering and analyzing user feedback. There’s daily feedback to continuously comb through across multiple sources and across many different languages. In addition, users have various ways of articulating their experiences. The best way to overcome this challenge is finding an interface that can decipher the key insights and remove the noise. Once teams have that component established, they can begin to understand what needs to be fixed and build to drive superior product quality and experience.

Differentiate with Product Quality 

Companies can buy traffic, create feature differentiators, launch new things, but all these efforts are in vain if they’re not providing the best experience for their users. For example, if they’re spending money on advertising to drive traffic and users are met with a subpar product experience, users will turn away and the spend would be inefficient. If companies focus more efforts on holding themselves accountable to provide the best user experience, they’ll spend budget more efficiently, see really impactful results, and avoid churn.

Retain Users with Quality

Retention is growth. If you build a product that can retain users with high engagement and high conversion, then growth will come. Getting users to show up is the easy part, the hard part is keeping them around, and product quality has a huge impact on how long they’ll stay. Staying on top of product quality will allow you to squeeze more juice out of the lemon and make every marketing dollar you spend count.

What Doesn’t Get Measured Doesn’t Improve

Leadership needs to be able to measure things in a clear and measurable way in order to set goals and drive better outcomes for their users and, in turn, their company. When I talk with senior leadership teams and board members, I often ask: “How do you measure product quality?” The consensus was they didn’t have a metric. Now they do with the unitQ Score — the first product quality metric that helps businesses find and fix the right issues fast, deliver superior product quality and experience, and drive retention and growth.