Since 2012, Birdeye has given local businesses of all sizes a competitive edge by helping them deliver an exceptional customer experience. Birdeye’s premise is intriguing: make your customers happy, Birdeye says, and they’ll do your marketing for you by singing your praises on sites like Google and Facebook. This unique pitch has helped Birdeye attract over 60,000 businesses to its platform in just eight years; these companies take advantage of Birdeye’s online reputation management and unified messaging capabilities to stay engaged with their customers at all times.
From the beginning, Birdeye’s founders, Naveen and Neeraj Gupta, knew that Birdeye would be a SaaS, subscription-based platform. “The key financial and operational consideration that Naveen and Neeraj had from the very beginning was: how do we collect payment from our customers on a recurring basis?” says Waifa Chau, Birdeye’s CFO. The team explored several subscription billing solutions, guided by two key principles.
First, Birdeye looks for business partners who understand its needs and the market it plays in. “We want partners who recognize that we’re a startup and offer an intuitive, easy-to-use solution—the easier it is to pick up and start using, the more likely it will actually help our business,” Chau says. Second, the company isn’t as “tool-happy” as many other organizations. “Compared to other companies, we try to be a lot more strategic in the solutions we adopt,” Chau says. “We always ask ourselves, ‘what are the tools that make sense for us and that can really make a difference?’”
Naveen’s and Neeraj’s search led them to choose Recurly, which has served as Birdeye’s subscription billing and management platform since the company’s founding. Recurly has helped fuel Birdeye’s explosive growth, integrating with the rest of Birdeye’s tech stack to deliver on the company’s every need when it comes to subscription billing and management.
We don’t want to waste money on a plethora of tools that are only used by a handful of people—we’d rather spend on things that drive value for our customers and employees.
With the company’s rapid growth, Birdeye’s executive team has always kept a close eye on metrics like customer churn and revenue. Of huge importance to many SaaS businesses is mitigating involuntary churn, which occurs when customers inadvertently don’t pay an invoice on time, thereby recovering revenue that otherwise would have been lost.
Recurly offers a multi-pronged approach to revenue recovery. There’s the Account Updater functionality, which connects directly to the four major card networks (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) and automatically retrieves any updates to cardholders’ card numbers or expiration dates on a recurring basis so these cards are charged correctly every billing cycle. “We’ve been told that Account Updater runs in the background, working its magic. What we know is that it works flawlessly,” Chau says.
When I think of Recurly, I think of simplified billing. I come from the world of billing, and trust me, it’s normally a lot of manual work. Recurly just makes it easy, and in a hypergrowth business, that’s exactly what you need.
While most Recurly merchants opt to use Recurly’s dunning management system to reach out to customers whose payments have failed, Birdeye has chosen a different approach. Birdeye leverages Recurly’s powerful Salesforce integration, using Salesforce as a one-stop-shop for all things customer-related, including dunning. “We push a lot of data from Recurly into Salesforce, and vice-versa, so that any of our CSMs [customer success managers] can immediately see if, say, an account hasn’t been reviewed lately and they have a past due invoice from Recurly. The CSMs can then send dunning emails directly from Salesforce, customizing them as necessary and sending them to the right contact on the account,” Chau explains.
Chau has many plans in mind when it comes to accelerating Birdeye’s business, and he sees Recurly playing an important role in that growth trajectory. One of his key priorities is to move the company off its existing accounting software and onto an ERP system. “Recurly's integration with several ERP systems will help us sync a ton of important subscription financial data and make reporting a lot simpler for us,” Chau says.
The CFO also envisions launching a number of new pricing tiers, especially as Birdeye grows and the needs of its customers become more complex. He says that Recurly’s wide variety of billing models is top-of-mind. ”We’re looking forward to being able to add these billing models easily using APIs and the Salesforce integration, without having to manually go into every account in Recurly and set things up one by one,” Chau says.
Chau knows that new growth opportunities will emerge, and he’s glad to have Recurly as a partner. “We’ve been really excited to see how Recurly’s capabilities have grown alongside our own needs, and we’re eager to see how Recurly’s features align with our future roadmap,” Chau says.
I think subscriptions are just continuing to grow and grow. Everywhere I turn, everything’s moving toward a subscription, like movie tickets and consumer services from companies like Apple. Everything we think of will probably be on subscription soon—even food!
Birdeye’s leadership in the reputation management and local customer experience space shows no signs of slowing down: the company started moving toward the enterprise space well before COVID-19 struck, minimizing the impact of the pandemic on its business. With Recurly, Birdeye’s subscription billing model has plenty of room to fly.