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Capsule at 15: Looking forward

To celebrate Capsule's 15th birthday, we sat down to talk about the future, what we're doing, and why.

Olivia MacCunn · June 26, 2024
Capsule at 15: Looking forwardCapsule at 15: Looking forward

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15 years of Capsule! We’re all pretty excited on our end. We spoke to Capsule Co-Founders, Philip Haines and Duncan Stockdill, to get a good idea of everything that’s come before. Now, we’re looking to the future with CEO, Steven Ledgerwood, and CTO, Anna Dick. We’ve peered into the crystal ball, and while we can’t tell you what the winning lottery numbers will be, we can reveal what’s shaping Capsule’s future.

To understand how we’re carving out Capsule’s next steps, Steven and Anna reflect on what value we want to bring to our customers, how they operate, and where in the world they are.

Why are we doing what we’re doing?

We’ve been taking a lot of time recently to remember who we’re looking to help, and how the needs of our customers vary around the world. We’re committed to supporting small businesses - helping them get started, manage their operations more effectively, and scale their organization efficiently.

It’s something we want to stay true to and with every iteration of our product and every new feature, we refocus our approach around the outcome and effect on the end-user. It’s important for us to keep that feedback loop with our customers open, and we have a great team who do it well.

We hear time and again that our customers value the straightforward nature of our product - an aspect that we’re committed to maintaining. But at the same time, we want to ensure that Capsule CRM continuously offers great value and capabilities.

So how do we ensure that what we provide is both practical and straightforward for new and skilled CRM users alike? And how can we deliver the right experience for small businesses if it varies around the world?

Anna illustrates the importance of both reflecting on and answering these questions: “We’ve been focusing on really solving the issues and problems that small businesses tackle, and how a CRM can support that.”

To determine the key challenges facing small businesses, we first need to understand what and who a small business really is.

Image of CEO Steven Ledgerwood chatting in the office with long term employees

What is a 'small business'?

A small business (SME) in the UK is very different from a small business (SMB) in the US. A British SME is likely to employ around 50 employees, but in America, it could employ 500 workers - the scale is completely different.

A company with 50 employees already has a level of complexity in serving its workforce with the right systems, tools, and processes. A business with 500 employees naturally requires sophisticated software that can serve the company holistically.

We want to provide a product that helps our customers grow their business and ensure we can support them while they do. For many new business owners, setting up several platforms and services, and then learning to use each efficiently is overwhelming. Anna explains, “We want to make sure we’re building something that feels familiar and intuitive, but it’s got the impact of the big, complicated CRMs and marketing solutions.”

From there, the product team agreed on the key theme to center our management and product development around: providing small businesses with an uncomplicated but practical CRM, and helping them to grow their operations with Capsule’s help.

Jade Say who was our Customer Support Officer and now our Product Specialist works at her desk

Breaking language barriers, cutting out culture shock

Company size isn’t the only factor to consider. The way businesses and the people in them operate varies around the world. A channel that is the standard means of communication in some regions isn’t considered necessary or even appropriate elsewhere - more on that later.

Therefore, some businesses expect to see specific features or integrations as standard in their CRM. As such, we’ve been working to make Capsule suitable for organizations in various regions.

Recently, we launched Capsule in three additional languages: French, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. It was a huge task, and one we’re very proud of our developers for bringing to fruition. However, we noticed adoption in some geographies wasn’t really what we expected. So we did a little digging.

Steven recalls, “Duncan came up with a theory from back in the day about emerging markets using WhatsApp for business. That clicked for me because I'm from South Africa, which is an emerging market, we use WhatsApp for everything.”

We spoke to our customers, looked at the market, and how our competitors were operating in these regions and they were all facilitating a connection with WhatsApp. We realized we were missing the key part of business for organizations in many of these markets.

It was a simple but significant revelation that prompted us to build partnerships with technologies like Wati.io and CallBell to integrate with WhatsApp.

Our developers hard at work

Connecting Capsule with your must-haves

This brings us to another key theme for us: improving connectivity with the other standard small business technologies.

Steven frequently has meetings with new customers who “have two or three different technologies they’re figuring out if they can plug into our system”.

He explains, “I’m increasingly seeing that for us to be relevant to organizations, we need to have the best possible way of integrating their tools and technologies with Capsule, and reflecting the data points they need to see in our CRM.”

To provide a powerful and practical CRM, our platform must easily integrate with fundamental technologies handling things like invoicing, analytics, and email. Instead of diving head-first into developing tools simply because our competitors offer them, we’ve been taking time to reflect on what we should offer and what our customers truly need. He adds: “How do we build that ecosystem in a much more meaningful and tangible way?”.

It’s this philosophy that has driven our latest feature releases and updates, like creating a clearer and more practical home page, offering greater email inbox connectivity, and an improved contact and Opportunity import.

And there’s plenty more in the pipeline for 2024. Some examples of things we’re rolling out:

But we’ll be keeping the rest of our imminent releases under our hats for the time being, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for more exciting updates from Capsule.

The team works at various desks in our office

Summary

Over the last 15 years, we’ve built a team of talented and curious problem-solvers who don’t rest on their laurels. With the help of everyone across the business, we offer a CRM that is always improving without losing sight of the end-users.

We put our customers and their needs at the heart of everything we do, and regular get-togethers allow us to remind ourselves of the real pressing needs and pain points to solve for them.

We’ve come a long way since 2009, but we’re still shipping new features and updates, with plenty more exciting additions lined up for the future. The latest additions to Capsule’s executive suite, Anna Dick and Steve Ledgerwood are at the helm of a future of greatness for the company.

With that, let’s raise a toast to Capsule on our 15th birthday!

What’s next? Watch this space.

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