The great German poet Hermann Hesse once said, "Within you, there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself." Calm founders Alex Tew & Michael Acton Smith channeled this ideology when they brought their sleep, meditation, and relaxation app to the world in 2012. Now, a decade and several awards later, Calm boasts over 4 million subscribers and shows no signs of slowing down.
Their ongoing success is partly due to the business model itself. The world tells consumers to work harder and go faster. Calm, on the other hand, encourages the opposite; slow down, calm your mind, and remove the external distractions of every day life.
Another driver of Calm's success is their integration of customer feedback into product innovation—something many claim to do, but few do well. To collect (and action on) this feedback, Calm needed a partner who could elicit feedback in an inviting and engaging way.
Mindfully taking a different approach
Calm does things a bit differently. Anyone landing on their website will find this:
Each button enables app users to "find their calm" by self-selecting care topics. Calm's UI reinforces that the product is about the end-user, not any internal initiative or KPI. This application of mindfulness demonstrates exactly the "practice what you preach" value that many consumers want our of their brands.
The right partner at the right time
Calm is an innovator. They continuously improve the user experience by focusing on engaging features that appeal to both new customers and long-time users. Typeform helps Calm open a line of direct communication between their team and their customers. Unvalidated innovation efforts can be costly. This is why feedback from users directly informs Calm's innovation efforts.
Surveys are the most effective method Calm uses to gather user data. They engage with a select set of users to gain their feedback on current app experiences. This includes learning what works for users, and also what isn't working or what might be missing. They also use the forms to tease out new ideas to see which ideas resonate with people before investing engineering dollars into it.
"We need to know that we're building the right things for real problems and just keeping a pulse on what has changed," reports Chase Clark, Senior UX Researcher at Calm.
Polling users is generally simple and straightforward; there are a variety of companies who offer integrated APIs and products to easily enable online surveys.
"With the other service we were using, we quickly hit the cap, so we needed to find another solution," continues Clark. "With Typeform, we realized that we could get more surveys out and we wouldn't be limited in the same ways as we were with other survey companies we'd worked with in the past. This gave us a much broader spectrum of users we could survey to get more comprehensive results."
Calm originally turned to Typeform to solve the usage cap, but what secured them as a partner was much more. "Typeform is great for us because the product is straightforward and easy to use, and the support team gets us what we need. They're really responsive," says Clark. "We also love the design. It's just a better design, looks nicer, snappier, flows better—just seems a little bit more modern, which is more appealing for our users."
Calm can unlock the right data with the help of Typeform. They can understand the size of different customer types, make sure they're supplying the right number of solutions for each problem, innovate new solutions, and more. With this data in-hand, Calm can make better, more informed decisions.
According to Clark, the next step for Calm's partnership with Typeform is to start using the integrations. Instead of exporting and sharing data manually, Typeform integrations, such as Google Sheets and Slack, make data sharing seamless. By removing operational friction, Calm teams can instead focus on improving processes and building better forms. After all, their goal is to help people find their calm; the more data they have, the better they can cater the app experience to people's needs.