What crypto companies can learn from TransferWise

When you look at the latest crypto companies, it’s clear that good companies are being built outside of Silicon Valley. The challenge for these companies? How do earn trust and establish credibility? How do you successfully transition from a scrappy side project to a more mature company? Where do you go for relevant best practices? You are building the Wild West after all.

As I spend time researching the latest crypto companies, I’m reminded of the early days of TransferWise. For many Americans, TransferWise is not a household name and it’s likely a product you’ll never have to use (unless you’re planning to move overseas).

It’s a currency exchange that offers a simple user interface and peer-to-peer network that matches customers wanting to swap money with each other. This means foreign exchange (FX) rates can be drastically reduced in comparison with bank charges where money is actually moved overseas.

TransferWise’s most recent valuation of $1.6B makes it one of the UK’s most valuable tech companies. The Estonian built, London based fintech company was started 2011 and moves £1 billion across its platform each month and has over 1 million customers.

Over the past 7 years, TransferWise has developed industry-leading best practices on product-led growth (paid acquisition, web monetization and peer-to-peer referrals).

They also embrace a few non-traditional philosophies such as “mission-driven growth” heavily dependent on employee culture and brand building and an emphasis on autonomous teams (such as performance marketing) with no formal Growth Team.

So one of our autonomous teams is performance marketing. They have a product manager and engineers and can change anything on the site, that enables them to grow traffic from Facebook. Hence marketing is an autonomous team in its own right. The only shared teams which don’t have a growth KPI are HR and finance” – Neilan Peiris, VP of Growth at TransferWise on GrowthHackers

After spending time analyzing the TransferWise’s experience, I realized there are a number of valuable learnings that apply to all crypto startups who need to build trust quickly.

Three ways to build trust quickly:

  1. Create ways to engage with the product (pre-signup)  
  2. Prioritize reviews, recommendations and in-product referrals  
  3. Make Customer Support a core function (hint: hire a dedicated product manager. Solve problems using product, not just people.)

Create ways to engage with the product (pre-signup)  

Currency converter with transparent fees

By bringing modules such as currency converters, calculators and product tutorials before a sign-up form, users can engage with the product and increase time on site.  

Possible metrics to watch:

  • Increased sign-up conversion rate
  • Reduced bounce rate
  • Test smart form fields: smarter retargeting, future personalization
  • Test waving first-time transaction fees

Prioritize reviews and recommendations

Similar to other transactional businesses, peer reviews are an integral piece is establishing trust with new customers. In the case of WeTransfer, reviews are powered by a credible third-party Trustpilot.

With over 40,999 reviews, WeTransfer has a 5/5 star rating.

Reviews powered by Trustpilot

Possible ways to solicit reviews:

  • Sign-up confirmation page: test incentive/non-incentive
  • First transaction complete: give/get offer to increase repeat transaction rate
  • Following happy moments: automated request for review based on NPS score

Make Customer Support a core differentiator

In many cases, this is easier said than done. In a recent post on Medium Coinbase reported 887% growth in Customer Support.  

Ensuring a consistent, on-brand experience across hundreds of new agents sounds nearly impossible. While supporting crypto customers is new, support for financial services has been around for decades.

Ways to improve Customer Support:

  • Mirror support best practices from banking (look at both self-serve and white glove services)
  • Focus on 1-2 channels to start: email and phone
  • Early social customer care should sit with Marketing
    • Pass early feedback to product
    • Create a weekly all-company update to keep customer experience top of mind
    • Build shareable moments into customer journey: incentivize positive mentions
  • Too early for dedicated support? Host a “ticket smash.” Ask all employees to allocated 1 hour per day to responding to customers. It’s a great way to build user empathy.
  • Customer Support extends far beyond agents. Leverage existing communities, empower early users to host user groups and don’t be afraid test non-traditional mediums such as political action committees, guerrilla marketing and more brand-building activities.

TransferWise Change.org campaign: http://stophiddenfees.co.uk/

If there’s anything we’ve learned from recent crypto success stories, great ideas can come from anywhere and small teams are punching well above their weight. To successfully transition from scrappy startup to credible company, small teams should look to more mature success stories. TransferWise is a $1.6B unicorn who successfully established trust quickly and built a credible tech company outside of Silicon Valley. Their product-led growth strategy is worth analyzing in detail and 5/5 star rating is nothing short of amazing. 

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