Startup Interview with Shihab Muhammed, Founder at SurveySparrow



Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: September 15, 2020

Want to know what your clients think about your new product or service? Or do you want to predict your customer’s buying habits? Well, you can do both by taking customer surveys!

But don’t you think that surveys have a low response rate? Well, this is what led Mr. Shihab Muhammed to the inception of SurveySparrow, an omnichannel experience management platform. It is designed to convert boring surveys into exciting engagements, and get insights from customers.

Let us know more about this platform from Mr. Shihab Muhammed in his interview with SoftwareSuggest.

In Conversation with Shihab Muhammed, Founder & CEO at SurveySparrow

You have worked with a multitude of leading companies like Zoho, Freshdesk, and more. Can you brief us about your journey throughout, and what helped you evolve?

I was fortunate enough to begin my career with Zoho and become the third employee at Freshdesk (today it is known as Freshworks). With Freshdesk it started with the six of us in a small place above a workshop and with the only aim of earning enough money compared to our previous salaries.

Fortunately, Freshdesk (today Freshworks) became a great company and a successful venture. These past few years of being grounded and continuously learning helped me evolve. I also learned to let go of things that can potentially bring you down. If you want to grow your startup, you need to change your job role every quarter.

I have had the opportunity to grow from a lead developer to a business leader who managed the Freshservice business unit at Freshworks (formerly Freshdesk). These changing roles have helped me grow as a person and as a professional with hands-on experience in various fields.

What led you to the inception of SurveySparrow?

Over the years, I have received many surveys or feedback requests from my bank relationship manager and the human resource department. Most of these surveys were boring traditional forms with several questions, and they failed to engage me. Therefore, like many, I was also guilty of ignoring said surveys while simultaneously, I was prompt in replying to surveys and feedback that was available through WhatsApp and Google hangout. This got me thinking about the possibility of what if the surveys and feedback collection was like chat. That’s how the concept of Chat Surveys evolved, which led to SurveySparrow.

What is it that SurveySparrow does differently than its competitors?

We aim to engage the survey takers by way of conversational chat surveys and increase the completion rates for our customers. Therefore, we provide solutions that are engaging, mobile-friendly, and store all data within one platform. This has proven to be quite effective as we are now seeing a 40-60% completion rate while a traditional form averages at 10-15%.

We see that the SaaS industry is growing at a rapid pace. Where do you see SurveySparrow in this scenario?

The subscription economy is growing not just in software but everywhere. Today, people subscribe to even cars. It’s a basic shift from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. SurveySparrow is going to be at the forefront of this revolution with a focus on helping our customers to build a better brand via customer experience, employee experience, etc.

How do you define work culture at SurveySparrow?

Company culture makes or breaks the business in the long term. Essentially, SaaS (Software as a service) business boils down to attracting great talent across the teams. At SurveySparrow, we created our 6 culture codes very early on, and we ensure that it is reflected in everything we do. Our culture codes such as Integrity, Passion, Accountability, Delivering WOW to the customers, Make it Work, Make it better and Solution driven is defined by our customer and employee experience.

What is success according to you? How do you measure it?

We wanted to build a company that will be loved by employees, customers, and investors in that order. When all the stakeholders in the company are happy, success will automatically follow.

Is there anything exciting that your users can expect from SurveySparrow in the coming years?

Definitely, we are betting big on AI/ML. We are building something cool which will predict the pattern from the data we collect.

What helps you stay inspired and motivated?

I am very passionate about building products which are loved by our customers. As a team, we are customer-obsessed, and there are always new challenges and new avenues waiting to be explored. That’s what keeps us inspired and motivated.

If you weren’t building SurveySparrow, what would you be doing differently?

Considering my forte is SaaS (Software as a service), if I weren’t building SurveySparrow, I would have done a product in the application monitoring space.

Any piece of advice you would give to emerging entrepreneurs?

Stay focussed and build a great product. It may take 36 months to get your product a market fit and continue working towards that goal. Once you build an amazing product your customers love, everything else will fall in place.

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