• Copy That

Customer Success Story: How Berlin-based startup Saiga prioritized UX from day 1

Updated: Jun 22



"If the UX is so poor that people don’t really understand how to use your product, then you won’t know if it’s because you’re not really solving a problem, or because the bad user experience keeps people from using your product the way you planned." Sophia Hofling


This is no ordinary case study.


This is the story of how one savvy startup’s approach to UX informed their product development from the get-go; how they adjusted their business model accordingly; and how, at the right time in their product growth, they got in touch with Copy That and we worked together to make UX writing an integrated, successful part of their product development framework.


In other words: this is the UX-driven story of Saiga.

 

Key results Saiga has achieved with Copy That so far


Main achievements:

  • Doubled monthly signups by restructuring and aligning their pricing page

  • Increased referred customers by 20% by applying UX writing principles to the in-app microcopy

  • Cut down support tickets to zero on all features developed closely with UX writers

  • Avoided UX-debt and saved time by making UX writing an integrated part of the design process and workflows

Revenue, brand, and tone of voice:

  • Ensured exceptional loyalty and retention (with very little churn) by creating a solid TOV from the get-go so Saiga’s personality resonated with customers

  • Received unprompted, positive customer feedback on their TOV

  • Established themselves as a global-sounding company with native-level proficiency throughout their product communication

  • Remained clear, concise, useful, and on-brand, while maintaining a revenue-, data-, and user-driven mindset to writing copy

  • Created a red thread from Marketing to Product so that customers feel like they’re communicating with the same company throughout the customer journey

 

Life admin, managed – Introducing Saiga!

According to Sophia Höfling, Saiga’s co-founder and Head of Product, "Saiga set out to help build a world where everyone – whatever their background, education, race or gender – can dedicate their time and energy to what they want to do, not what they have to do. With a team of 30 people based in Berlin, we’ve developed a service that magically gets people’s private to-do tasks done through the work of real-life people, empowered by smart technology and AI."


So what is Saiga, exactly?


Saiga is a digital service that people interact with through an app on their phone, where they can outsource high-value life admin tasks that don’t require a physical presence: from booking dentist’s appointments to finding babysitters, restaurants, or… well, anything, really!


Since the beginning of their journey, they’ve experienced exceptional customer loyalty, with very little churn and their loyal users giving them more and more tasks to do each month – so their future is definitely looking bright!



Keeping with the times: why Saiga focused on UX from Day 1


Traditionally, most startups opt for an established and lean sense of priorities when it comes to building the company around their product: keep the team small at first, with only the essential functions in-house, then scale up as you grow. UX design tends to come in at a later stage, typically somewhere around the Series B funding round.


Saiga, however, went against this trend and adopted a UX-led mindset from the beginning.


Why? Sophia says, “[Many companies] believe that super innovative tech doesn’t require UX right from the start. But if the UX is so poor that people don’t really understand how to use your product, then you won’t know if it’s because you’re not really solving a problem, or because the bad user experience keeps people from using your product the way you planned.”


And they’re not the only ones. For the past 5 years, more and more startups are seeing the benefits of being UX-minded from go.


For example, did you know that startups who focus on UX make 32% more revenue on average than those who don’t?


On top of being revenue-driven from day 1, considering UX ensures you don’t build up UX debt similar to tech debt. As we all know, this is both costly and time-intense to get rid of at a later point in time (e.g. you potentially need to rework your entire information architecture, change all your UX copy, revisit product naming, and so on.)


 

Example 1: Refer a friend


Draft copy

Final copy

We give 100€ discount on the next subscription fee for every referred signup 🎉

Refer a friend. You’ll get a €100 discount for the next month of your subscription for every friend that signs up (and they’ll get 50% extra credits for their first 6 months). Win-win! 🙌

Example 1: Here’s a before-and-after shot of Saiga’s Referral banner on a profile page. While our copy recommendations increased the length of the microcopy, it nonetheless led to a 20% increase in referred customers – so finding the balance between clear and concise can pay off big time! 😉

 

The rise of the UX-led mindset


Sophia makes a good and relevant point about poor UX and people’s patience for it. Over the past few years, expectations towards digital products have risen considerably – even in the B2B world, software solutions that are clunky and off-putting at launch time are much less tolerated than they would have been, say, 5 years ago!


It’s a bit like what happened with smartphones: before touchscreens and app stores, everyone was happy and content with their handsets, the way you had to manically press buttons to type, the grainy view of videos on those tiny screens...


But now that we’ve seen what smartphones can do, our patience has long flown out the window. We simply don’t tolerate poor UX anymore.


So Saiga chose to focus on UX – specifically, tone and voice and customer feedback. They’re in good company with this approach: although it hasn’t been the norm historically, companies like Stripe, Slack and Mailchimp are famous for adopting a UX-led mindset from the beginning:

COMPANY

BUSINESS MODEL

UX ANGLE

Mailchimp

B2B and B2C

​One of Mailchimp’s earliest principles was “designing with personality”, i.e. adding personal touches to the interface to make it more accessible.


Another Mailchimp cornerstone: customer feedback. They even had a toll free number in the early days to gather feature requests!

Stripe

B2B and B2C

​Although Stripe’s first official product designer came on board after 18 months, the founders had a user-focused mindset from the beginning, trying to tackle UX issues that their competitors couldn’t solve.

Slack

B2B

​Customer feedback was (and is) the epicenter of Slack’s product. Before they launched, they’d go through several cycles of intense customer interaction (test-iterate-repeat) before opening their product to the public.


Slack’s copy is heralded throughout the industry for its personality and clarity. On top of that, its team of UX writers are experts at bridging the experience from marketing’s promise to product’s delivery on that promise.

UX and brand go hand-in-hand


You’re building a brand from the moment you launch your product. And insufficient customer feedback and poor UX doesn’t just affect your product: it affects your bottom-line and your reputation.


As Sophia puts it, “If UX (in all its facets: tone and voice, visuals, interaction patterns) hasn’t been consciously considered from this moment onwards, you are most likely not building up as strong of a brand as you could.” And that means not getting as loyal a customer base as you could.


On top of being revenue-driven from day 1, considering UX ensures you don’t build up UX debt similar to tech debt. As we all know, this is both costly and time-intense to get rid of at a later point in time (e.g. you potentially need to rework your entire information architecture, change all your UX copy, revisit product naming, and so on.)

And loyalty goes a long, long way if your product adds true value to your users’ lives.


“Your MVP is most likely still a little buggy and potentially doesn’t solve your customer’s problem to its full extent. Yet, if customers see the potential and feel connected to your brand they will most likely overlook these shortcomings.”


Which means that UX and branding are inextricably linked!


“Too many people think of 'branding' as something that marketing teams create. But, ultimately, your product is at the core of your brand. That’s what enables product-led growth. So things like your tone of voice, the interactions with your product, and its entire visual language matter a lot when it comes to brand building – and vice versa! This is why we focused on Saiga’s tone and voice from the very beginning (and why we’re also looking into improving our visual branding just now),” Sophia says.



Creating a red thread from Marketing to Product


This is one of the many fundamental truths we agree on here at Copy That: we want users to feel like they’re communicating with the same company all the way through their customer journey, whether they’re just browsing the website, looking at pricing pages, or onboarding and using the company’s product itself.


This is where copy alignment between Marketing and Product comes in.



When you echo messages and terms throughout the customer journey, you create a red thread that breaks down silos between departments and writers.


After all, it’s the same story for the user (or it should be, anyway!).


At the end of the day, you want to ensure Product can deliver on the promises Marketing makes.


Or as Bobbie Wood from the UX Content Collective says, “By echoing messaging, value props, and product naming throughout the user journey, you’ll create pattern recognition that’ll help to comfort users, build trust, and increase retention.”


Growing pains: the UX-related challenges Saiga experienced


There’s this saying that “if it were easy, everyone would do it”.


And like any hiker going up the less-traveled side of a mountain, Saiga experienced their own set of sliding rocks and scratchy foliage while consciously keeping UX at the forefront of their product development – mostly on the logistics side, according to Sophia:


“UX is still a fairly young discipline. Think about it: in the original SCRUM setup, product design wasn’t even considered! Today, many organizations still have Product & Engineering teams where UX and/or product design isn’t really represented. So we definitely need a shift in mindset.”


We couldn’t agree more: in order to build a product-led company culture, everyone (and we really do mean everyone!) needs to understand that UX writers and designers need a seat at the product development table.


To do this, methodologies like the double diamond design process and different agile frameworks need to not just co-exist, but enhance each other. Easier said than done… But the end result is so worth it!


“Magic happens when engineers, product managers, and UX professionals collaborate effectively and end-to-end along the product development cycle. One way we do this is by building or integrating processes where UX is considered a key feature, or even running joint sessions where designers can explain the double diamond process and other design methodologies to the rest of the product development team”, says Sophia.


 

Example 2: From Vault to Docs

Example 2 (before): Here’s a WIP document storage feature that shows the result of the “magic” that happens when UX writers get involved during the product development cycle. The original name was Vault, but we strongly recommended testing out a feature name that we predicted would resonate better with users: Docs. Our main piece of advice was to prioritize clarity over novelty/branding to ensure that users understood the purpose of the feature.

Example 2 (after): When it comes to feature naming, we always recommend finding a balance between UX writing principles, recognizability, and following industry standards. Good rule of thumb? Go with feature terminology that’s implicit of its functionality so that no other words are required. If you have to explain a feature too much, chances are the name could be improved. And after all that’s said, you should always test out your ideas to avoid internal bias.

 

Rookie mistake: Looking for specialists too late


Another UX-related logistical challenge Saiga experienced was the question of manpower.


Obviously, streamlined startup budgets make for tight staffing choices: you can’t hire full-time specialists like UX writers or researchers right from the start, otherwise you’ll burn through your money like wildfire!


On the other hand, relying on full-stack product designers – however brilliant – to focus on these small but crucial product details for too long will distract their focus from the core product design work you hired them to do in the first place.


So the question remains: what to do?



Thankfully, you don't have to choose between a rock and a hard place!


While most start-ups tend to veer towards the relying-on-product-designers route, Saiga came up with two alternative solutions – and, ultimately, chose the latter:

  1. Hire multiple (i.e. at least two) product designers already from the start, or

  2. Support your main product designer with agencies, freelancers or interns as/when necessary (even in the early days!) for UX design, UX writing, and visual communications design support.

Based on their budget, main pain points, and desire to go for a lean approach, Saiga chose to go for the second option.

“A big advantage of using agencies or freelancers is that they help build up structures around the area you need them for (like setting up the right tooling, procedures, best practices etc.), and then we can ask them to support us in the future too, if we need them to”, she added.


And that’s how Copy That came into the Saiga picture! From our POV as a content design agency, we like to think of it as helping to build a foundation for future full-time UX writers that is free of UX-debt.


How Saiga recognized the value of UX writing


When Saiga reached out to us, they already knew what many other companies don’t: that UX writing is more than “just” proofreading or finding the right copy for a company’s concepts.


“It’s also about running our concepts through someone else’s eyes and getting extremely valuable feedback on UX glitches we might have overlooked… It’s basically like having a fresh design critique!”, says Sophia.


For our part, we were more than delighted to kick off our work together by having such a mutual understanding of what UX writing can bring to the table: which meant that we could immediately dive into introducing our copy doc workflows, the UX writing principles we live by, how we apply them to our work on a daily basis, and other valuable know-hows and validated insights!


Our UX writing principles, inspired by Google.



This is how we did it: Saiga’s pricing page


Our favorite memory of working with Saiga (so far!) has to be when we worked on the pricing page for their mobile app – not just because the changes we did had a huge impact (although that always puts a huge smile on our faces 😇), but because all the way through the process, their enthusiasm for what UX writing can do for their product was palpable.


 

Example 3: Pricing page


Example 3.1 (original version by Saiga):

Here’s Saiga’s very first pricing page. After some discovery work, Saiga discovered that users needed a much more flexible setup that suited many different types of lifestyles and user needs.


Example 3.2 (draft version by Saiga):

Saiga decided to create a tiered setup and credits system that could support a multitude of lifestyles and different user needs. Saiga got in touch with us and prepared a detailed project description for their new pricing page. The goal was to find a clearer and more user-friendly way of conveying the new pricing model messaging.



Example 3.3 (latest version by Copy That):

One thing we noticed once Saiga handed over the new pricing structure to us was the lack of clarity when it came to the new credits system and the differences between the tiered plans. We wanted to make it very clear which plan was the recommended one, and give it a name that reflected its flexible nature (hence, Flex).


We then ensured that each plan had distinct descriptions with task examples, as well as consistent messaging surrounding the features that belong to each plan. Because of this, potential customers can now scan the differences and benefits between the plans faster, with less cognitive overload.


The result? Saiga doubled their monthly signups already in the first month after our version of the pricing page went live on their website! (Now that’s the power of being user-driven💪).

 

Main takeaways: The top 5 UX writing benefits Saiga experienced


Since starting our collaboration 9 months ago, we wanted to find out what Saiga had noticed since we started revamping their product copy: how has it impacted their business and operations? Did it affect them at all?


And lucky for us, Sophia had already collected a handful of insights that validated and confirmed that we’re heading in the right direction:


⏰ “You’ve saved us a LOT of time!”

If you only take away one thing from this blog, let it be this: UX writing means so much more than merely churning out copy!


In Saiga’s case, Sophia says the real time-savers were the actual workflows we brought to the table, both within our copy docs and the systematic advice on e.g. the translation software and localization processes for their respective markets.


Why? Because with these foundational workflows in place, they’ll never have to start from scratch again (saving them a ton of time, and therefore money).


💕 “Extremely positive feedback from our customers”

Probably the single most mentioned compliment from Saiga’s customers is that its tone of voice feels light and human!


“Interacting with Saiga feels like talking to someone who is relaxed and calm, yet always to the point. The app is super simple, and doesn’t leave any open questions in terms of where to click or what to do…”, says a customer (which is the biggest endorsement any UX writer could hope for!).

❓ “Zero customer support requests on new features”

If this one doesn’t motivate you, we don’t know what will. Of all the customer support requests coming in to Saiga, Sophia says that not one of them concerns features that we provided UX writing for.


In other words, the copy we worked on for them manages to get the meaning across to their users, even the more complex bits! “Because of this, now we’re running every single piece of copy through Copy That”, says Sophia (with a wink).


💪 “Strengthened our reputation as a design-focused company”

In other words: if you build it, they will come! A nice side-effect of all of this has led to Saiga standing out as a company that understands and drives UX. This has helped to make Saiga’s profile even more attractive to the right talent and investors.


🌎 “Building our image of being a truly global brand”

Last but not least: Berlin-based Saiga’s UX designers are not native-level English speakers (which is perfectly fine, of course), but they wanted to ensure that the English in their app felt both native and natural.


Luckily, since we’ve gone over all of it with a fine-tooth comb, their product communication now supports their ambition of being a global company with native-level proficiency.



Moving forward: Happily ever after?


As you can see from this case study, our work with Saiga is still ongoing. Which is as it should be: writing in a digital environment is never truly static, especially when it concerns an ever-evolving, dynamic life admin tool!


Like Sophia said above, we’re still committed to making sure every last bit of Saiga’s product copy is up to par, and we’re honored to support their product development journey with our UX writing skills.


So instead of a happily ever after, here’s a happy bye-for-now: to task-filled futures in Berlin and beyond! 🎉



Further reading and resources


 

Copy That is a content design agency based in Copenhagen, Denmark founded by Oline Schoeler and Michelle de Maree. With a combined 20+ years of professional experience in the tech industry, they're on a mission to provide companies with content that converts, microcopy that packs a punch in small spaces, and UX writing that helps users navigate their way around a product—one word at a time. Today, Oline and Michelle work together with a wide array of tech companies: from startup to enterprise, B2B to B2C. Ready to put a smile on your interface? Get in touch!

Recent Posts

See All
Get in touch

Thanks for reaching out! We’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Copy That ApS

Copenhagen, Denmark

Stilllife_0010_6200x4100.png

Book us for a UX writing workshop tailored to your business