Why was the Ubertesters started? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
I co-founded Ubertesters back in 2013 following a true need for a different type of software testing that I had in my previous company. In my old company we developed a mobile app and needed global testers with devices to test for us with different devices, different languages, and in the actual target market, and could not find a flexible, affordable solution. So, we came up with the concept of “Crowd testing” – a large community of global freelance testers that are ready to test any product for the client and provide a list of bugs.
In the early days we developed a product, a SaaS solution to help companies to manage their own QA teams. Then, we added our “Crowd testing” services to allow customers to hire our large community of global testers to test their app and provide user-feedback and bugs/errors jest when needed.
Lastly, we realized that our clients also require remote QA people on a full-time basis because they find it challenging to recruit in-house QA people. So, we added to our offerings also ‘remote offshore QA engineers on outsourcing model an on a full-time basis”
What keeps you and your team motivated?
One of the things I truly hated while working for large companies was the endless, useless, long meetings, full of un-relevant people that were not sure why they need to be part of that meeting. So, the first thing I did when starting Ubertesters was a decision to avoid unnecessary meetings. And if there is a meeting, it is short, to the point, and only relevant people are invited. This is one of the main reasons that the team is kept motivated. In addition, we created a very pleasant work environment with a game room where people can relax during the day. Lastly, as a management mantra – I don’t micromanage! I set clear goals to the team and then let them figure out the best way to achieve them.
What challenges did you face in the initial years? What can your peers learn from it?
There were two main challenges we faced at the beginning. First, we had to compete with one industry giant and had to provide unique value proposition and beat the competition. Second challenge was how to build a large community of global QA experts that fit the profile and are willing to test during their free time for extra money. The entire business model was based on having enough global testers that can scale the client’s QA team in the fastest, most flexible, and cost-effective manner.
To overcome the first challenge we had to provide extra value to clients. So, we decided to create a “boutique” type of service that offers more customized and unique testing solutions together with superior and personal customer service.
We overcame the second challenge by using heavy social media activity and paying our testers a little more than the competition did and much faster.
Fostering a culture of feedback is crucial to the success of every organization. How is this true with your company?
I strongly believe that incorporating feedback into the corporate culture greatly impacts employee engagement. We use one-on-one meetings, formal recognition programs, and annual employee surveys at Ubertesters to boost our employee’s retention and productivity.
One of the key factors I learned from experience is that one must create an environment of “safe-Feedback”, in other words, employees need to feel safe and know that if they give feedback they won’t face negative repercussions.
About the adaptability, how do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this high volatile market?
David Cronenberg, a Canadian film director, once said: “I see technology as being an extension of the human body” and I fully agree with his quote and can see that technology is more integrated than ever in our lives. Therefore, I try hard to keep up with technological trends. I do it first by embracing web content. I do it through blogs, podcasts, forums, resources from trusted businesses, or a simple query on a search engine. Further, I follow Industry Social Media accounts (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) of companies and individuals that are considered true innovators. Lastly, I make time for online training and virtual events and webinars. All these measures allow me to stay informed about the latest technologies and for me to boost my personal and professional growth.
If you have to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?
The most important factor is the employees. Employees are the most important asset of a company. Satisfied, highly-motivated and loyal employees represent the basis of competitive company. Then, other factors include a defined clear vision for the company’s goal and purpose. This vision must be well communicated from the CEO to all employees so that they feel part of the vision and not just focused on their daily tasks. The third factor, in my opinion, is accountability and recognition. All employees must be accountable to achieving their goals and the company goals. And the leader must notice their work and either hold them accountable when underperforming, or recognize a job well done. The fourth factor in my opinion is to “make it fun”. People work better when they love what they do, and they can’t perform strict tasks all day without fun. There are several other important variables for creating excellence, but in my opinion, these are the top 4
Customer service varies, but companies can still be successful. How do you maintain the quality of your services?
We put the ‘voice of the customer’ in the center- our team uses active listening skills and the people are encouraged to empathize with the client, looking at the problem through his eyes and imagining how it makes him feel. Then, we respond as quickly as possible.
Second, since many of our customers are repeat clients that are testing with us on a regular basis, we invest heavily in “knowing our customers”, build good rapport with them, and realizing what are their main “pain points”. By building positive relationship, we ensure their return business.
lastly, one of our company’s core values is “We believe in exceptional customer service”, and our top management live by this value and all our decisions are based on providing exceptional service. This encourages employees to act in the same way.
What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation?
When we entered the QA services market there were several known giants. Our first value was Superlative Support. We decided to really listen to our clients and offer customized support that really addresses their needs and concerns. The second action was to focus mainly on SMBs by offering them the required flexibility, fast and superb service, at extremely affordable price. Lastly, we wanted to be positioned as a “Valued Advisor” in the QA field and become more of a consultant and advisor on how to build a better QA organization and not just being a seller.
How do you and your company contribute to the global IT platform and society at large?
I strongly believe in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and through that we contribute to the community. Our CSR activities are divided between several aspects such as Community-related activities (we support and sponsor local community QA events or mobile events, and we try to choose suppliers that are socially responsible), or environmental related practices (following friendly environmental practices such as recycling, “green thinking” printing and reduce paper waste, allow employee telecommuting, use LED Lightbulbs, etc.).
Lastly, we support and sponsor the local IT Soccer League in our Ukraine offices.
Do you have any new products or services ready to be/getting ready to be launched?
As part of our crowd testing services, we launched a new “Mystery shopper” testing program to allow retailers to get better feedback from real clients, pretending to be a true shopper. As part of the “Mystery shopping” service, our testers conduct secret test purchases, communicate with the shop’s customer service team, and reveal strengths and weaknesses of the client retail shop (either physical or online shop). The service provides customer with feedback to allow them strategic optimization and to be better positioned against their competition.
About your plans, where do you see your company a couple of years from now?
Ubertesters aspires to become the #1 global player in the field of crowdsourced testing within the next 3 years period. We will achieve this by continuing to grow through creativity, invention, and innovation. We will continue to put the ‘voice of the customer’ in the center, listen to our customer’s needs, and improve our service level.
Further, one of the main plans is to expand globally (market development strategy). We will do it be having additional sales offices in additional locations, and/or by acquiring other businesses.
The Leader behind the journey to success of Ubertesters, Co-founder & CEO, Ran Rachlin
Ran Rachlin is the co-founder and CEO of Ubertesters. Ran can proudly say that he has massive global experience, managing and leading new initiatives from inception to implementation and significant sales as well as managing large global organizations in different countries. Before starting Ubertesters Ran held several high-profile management roles in General Engineers (The Israeli distributor of GE), Mul-T-Lock (an ASSA-ABLOY group company), and Silicom Inc (NASDAQ: SILC). Ran Rachlin also hold an MBA degree with honors.
In 2013 he decided to leave the “safety” of the corporate life and co-founded Ubertesters, a startup in the field of software testing.