Customer story

From DIY to 515% ROI:

Findmypast’s digital transformation with Recurly

A genealogy website based in London, Findmypast is dedicated to helping families find long-lost stories and reviving precious memories. At its beginning, Findmypast’s only service was helping its customers locate records–a one-time purchase. But the digitization of records has made Greg Jenkins, Head of Product at Findmypast, realize that the business must change with the times and do more to stay competitive.

Read more to hear Jenkins’ story about his journey with Recurly and how he helped Findmypast evolve from a technologically outdated company to a seamless recurring revenue business that builds ongoing value for its subscribers.

The problem

Working backward, Jenkins quickly realized the majority of the issues Findmypast faced stemmed from the customer experience. From payment options to subscription plan adjustments, the homegrown technology Findmypast was using was limited in what it could provide to its subscribers, negatively impacting overall business performance and unjustly placing a heavy burden on the customer care team. Jenkins knew the team needed better resources and more support. So, the question arose, “Do we buy or build [a subscription solution] ourselves again?”

The evaluation

Quickly, Jenkins outlined every element involved in a reliable and scalable subscription management and recurring billing solution. He discovered the need for an entirely different infrastructure from Findmypast’s current system, including security and compliance demands, partner management, payment gateways, and more. Evaluating business resources, Jenkins wondered:

  • Do we have the resources that truly understand everything we need? 

  • Do we have the ability to quickly flex up when there are new compliance changes? Who is going to be reading up on the changes that are required? 

  • Who is going to be looking at the different ways you can move card payments and be able to update and complete that?

Findmypast logo

When you start looking at the infrastructure you need, it makes you question if you have the resources necessary to quickly flex up when there are changes. It’s better to have someone that delivers that to you instead of resourcing a whole new department. You can focus in other areas of your business.

Greg Jenkins, Head of ProductFindmypast

And the biggest question is, “How do you provide elasticity behind it?” The ability to anticipate all the needs and changes to come was a hefty consideration for Jenkins, who knew dedicating an entire team to maintenance and scalability was unrealistic. 

The process

More than having all the resources, Jenkins knew he needed to be able to build an entire subscription management and recurring billing infrastructure well and accurately. With Recurly, everything was already available with a team of subject matter experts to make necessary changes. For example, Jenkins appreciates having partnership managers who have relationships with payment gateways, and he can relax knowing they’ll automatically implement updates regarding compliance changes.

Findmypast logo

[Subscriptions are] constantly changing, and you need the flexibility to have the time to look ahead, look at what markets are doing, look at what the future’s holding, look where you want to go as a business–rather than spending all your time going, ‘How do we fix what’s there now and how do we optimize?’

Greg Jenkins, Head of ProductFindmypast

Deemed “the heart transplant,” the transition from Findmypast’s archaic homegrown solution to Recurly enabled the company to take on new opportunities without impacting the rest of the business. With more flexibility than ever before, Jenkins and the Findmypast team can now spend more time thinking about what they want to achieve without the panic and disappointment of knowing that it’s going to take months or resources they don’t have to make it happen.

The results

Nine months into working with Recurly, Jenkins and his team have solved 84% of the problems (and counting) they identified when considering whether to dedicate more resources to expand their homegrown solution or to outsource with a partner. Since then, Jenkins’ subscriber-first approach has reached new heights, almost entirely eliminating the subscriber experience friction customers were once burdened with. 

Moreover, Findmypast has been able to build more revenue opportunities. This past year, for example, customers were finally able to complement their subscriptions with an add-on to the 1921 census. Prior to Recurly, subscribers had to enter their payment information in a separate checkout experience as add-ons were not possible. Furthermore, the customer care center is less hampered by payment issues thanks to Recurly’s advanced payments and recurring billing services.

Findmypast logo

With Recurly’s dunning engine, Findmypast has designed compelling strategies to reduce churn and fuel revenue growth.

Greg Jenkins, Head of ProductFindmypast

With Recurly, Findmypast is better positioned to capture the expected growth within the market and has experienced:

  • A 5% increase in conversions by offering different payment methods, which also led to a 19% increase in mobile registrations

  • Improved its dunning management by almost 11% and dropped its failure rate by 12% 

  • Positive gains in revenue and an almost 500% return on investment

The compounding effects of the stronger and scalable subscription management and recurring revenue platform that is Recurly have allowed Jenkins and the Findmypast team to focus on scaling the business limitlessly in exactly the way they want to.

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