Alice DefaultThis is a guest post by Alice Default, who’s is in charge of marketing at Front, with a sweet spot for content. She loves books, to-do lists and food (like a lot). Get in touch with her at @alice_default

A few weeks ago, when Lumio (one of Front’s very early adopters) learned that we were moving to the same city as them, they did something that we would have never expected: they invited us to dinner!

Not to try and get a discount, or talk about business — we don’t even work in the same industry. They just liked our product so much that they wanted to meet the team who was behind it. Talk about flattery.

We know that being in contact with clients is important, and we’ve done it all: product demos, sales calls, Skype feedback sessions, etc. But this one night with the Lumio team made us realize how essential it was to go even further than those basic touch points.

Today, as marketing automation and pre-written conversations become more and more prevalent, caring for your customers and nurturing real relationships is crucial to growing a successful business.

1. Strive for customer awesome

Caring for your customers starts with awesome customer support — the numbers speak for themselves. When you know that 89% of customers will go to your competitor after one bad customer service experience, you’ll want to turn any bad experience around quite quickly, and immediately put any measures into place to prevent a bad experience in the future.

But you can definitely go beyond support in order to make and keep your customers happy — you should always strive to do more when it comes to your customers. As we like to say, don’t compete for product awesome, compete for customer awesome. 

2. Don’t let a robot be in charge of your communications

Stay as close as you can to your customers for as long as you can. As your business grows, it becomes increasingly important to schedule well thought out and segmented automatic messages to keep in touch with your customers even when you’re not physically behind your computer. But you shouldn’t be in a rush to scale all of your customer support straight away.

Keep sending personal emails that you’ve crafted especially for your customer. Let him or her know that you genuinely care about them and that you’re thankful that they are using your product.

And if you feel like going even further, think outside of just email. At Wufoo for example, they have every member of the team send out written postcards to their customers just to say thanks.

Thank you letter written by a Wufoo developer to a customer
Thank you letter written by a Wufoo developer to a customer

We like to keep the automatic emails down to welcome emails only and to schedule private demos after the first week of trial. The rest of the exchanges we have are entirely manual. For now : ) The exact moment when you want to automate your messages is really up to you, and what you want to spend your time on. We just recommend you interact with your customers as much as possible, they deserve it!

Download our free checklist for more customer retention tips

3. Involve customers in your product

Because your active customers are using your product on a very regular basis, there’s a big chance they know a lot about your product too, and even have things to teach you about it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them to ask for their advice, like Feedly did.

In June, Feedly asked its community to help them understand a crash because they couldn’t figure it out for themselves.
In June, Feedly asked its community to help them understand a crash because they couldn’t figure it out for themselves.
We asked our customers to choose the keyboard shortcuts they wanted when we first introduced them.
We asked our customers to choose the keyboard shortcuts they wanted when we first introduced them.

4. Don’t be afraid to change your plans for customers

Most of the time, customers will ask for an important feature that takes days to develop. But from time to time, they’ll ask for a simple feature that would be quite easy to make. We love to work on those requests (a new simple feature or small bug fix) as quickly as possible, even if it’s just for one customer. This usually means that we put our weekly tasks aside for a bit, but we definitely think it’s worth it.

New feature

You might ask what we do with the important feature requests we receive. First, we always think about if it’s in the vision we have of our product and if it is, we ask our tech team if it’s feasible. More often than not, the feature request is already in our roadmap and we just let the customer know when it will be done. And when it’s not, we run a quick survey with our active customers to see if it would be of any value to them. And obviously, we make sure to keep the customer in the loop at all times!

5. Follow up with customers and get interested

So we’re telling you that making your customers feel awesome is really crucial. But we also love to think that they’re already awesome when we first meet them. That’s why we made a list of our customers on Twitter — to keep updated on their news and to be able to congratulate them when something cool happens on their side.

Twitter list

For all of our customers that don’t use Twitter (as well as the people that talk about us without being users), we use Mention. We’ve set up keywords for our most active users and get in touch with them on other subjects than Front whenever possible!

mention

6. Meet with customers in real life

I’ve told you about how we had dinner with the awesome team at Lumio. This is really something that we recommend to create real relationships with your users.

You can also steal this great idea from the guys at close.io: they go visit their customers on a regular basis to understand how they use their product and how they can help them to get the most value possible. There’s really nothing more valuable than genuine one-on-one, in person conversations.

Wrapping up: Make them want to see it again

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney

Ultimately, this quote from Walt Disney is what you should strive to achieve. Having your customers feel like they’re at Disney World when they’re using your product or talking with you is really the best goal you can set for yourself and for your company. There’s no need to build castles to do that, just show you genuinely care.

6tips

I’d love to know what are your tips for making your users feel awesome. Let me know in the comments!

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Guest Blogger @Mention

Alice is in charge of marketing at Front, with a sweet spot for content. She loves books, to-do lists and food (like a lot). Get in touch with her at @alice_default.