Did you know the iconic Sweethearts candies started out as lozenges?
This may not sound like a far stretch for a candy that’s notoriously likened to Tums. (Nothing says “Kiss Me” like the taste of a chewable antacid, am I right?) Undergoing a bankruptcy-induced hiatus last Valentine’s Day (which strikingly, and rather strangely, garnered public outrage and media coverage), the conversational hearts turned controversial after arriving back in stores this year notably…silent. Cherished for their nostalgic nature, consumers were disheartened to find these candies bare, sans their affectionate sayings. The culprit? A printing issue as reported by their new owner, Spangler Candy. (Fun fact: The first new phrase Sweethearts ever introduced was “Fax Me,” a big hit among their fans.)
All of this to say, from the bottom of our hearts, we love our customers; therefore, we promise to never send you chalky candy on Valentine’s Day. Because the only thing more disappointing than receiving Sweethearts, is a box full of blank ones.
Now, read on to discover how to spread love among your customers and receive it in return.
Finding Loyalty in a Hopeless Place
If B2B SaaS were on a dating site, it’d be looking for a lifelong commitment; a scary thought for potential suitors when there are plenty more fish in the sea. With fierce competitors vying for your customers’ hand in subscription, you need to show them you care—and not just about their income (goal diggers wanted). Lasting relationships are founded on mutual respect, trust, appreciation, and happiness. What have you done lately to show your customers you’re grateful for their continued commitment? Just as love isn’t a one-way street, neither should be your customer relationships. To earn customer loyalty, you need to give more than take. Here’s a few ways to give and get customer love all year long.
1.) Welcome Packages
The start of a new relationship is always fresh and exciting. After making things “official,” comes the idyllic honeymoon stage which boasts potential, promise, and intrigue. This is the perfect time to celebrate your newfound commitment while the passion from your courtship is still alive and well. Send a welcome package to your new partner to reinforce your feelings and further assure them that they made the right choice. At ChurnZero, we send a care package with our coveted “Fight Churn” flag for teams to proudly hang in their office as well as other branded goodies such as our Churn Monster cards, stickers, and notebooks. As a thoughtful touch, their Customer Success Manager will include a handwritten, personal note. Reclaim the lost art of putting pen to paper to let your customers know it’s real.
Tip: Fancy, branded stationery is not a requirement for writing letters. Like humans, their beauty is found in their flaws. Don’t hide your endearing, imperfect penmanship with pristine, robotic type. “[T]hat smudge of ink, that crooked stamp, that less-than-perfect handwriting (mine is terrible!), that undotted “i”—is part of what makes a handwritten note so special,” explains GrooveHQ in their article on letter scripts that’ll wow your customers. As GrooveHQ emphasizes, “[H]andwrite everything: the note, the address, and your return address. This is important.” With letters from the heart, don’t type, always handwrite.
2.) User-Generated Content
We run an ongoing user-generated content (UGC) campaign where if customers snap a team picture with their flag and post it on social media, we send them a cookie gift basket to “sweeten the relationship.” By giving a little, you can get back a lot (of authentic content)—a real eye-catcher in an internet culture marked by fabrication and embellishment. Maintain a genuine brand image to attract prospects and give them the confidence to know they’re not being catfished by a less-than, imposter product. This provides you a priceless advantage and makes an impressive first impression to online buyers conducting their preliminary research before deciding to swipe right on your business.
3.) Customer Case Study
You know what they say: if you got it, flaunt it. Have a customer who is crushing their goals with the help of your product? Why not give them a public shout out? Sharing a success story gifts your customer positive praise and free publicity in front of a new buying audience. But following tried-and-true relationship advice, don’t only talk about yourself. Focus on the customer and their growth story (the keyword being story). Your customer is the leading actor and your product is the supporting role. Self-centered case studies that read like a laundry list of product positioning statements are off-putting. Make it relatable to the reader. Agitate, then captivate your audience by recounting pain points in painstaking detail. Be concise but vividly descriptive. Illustrate that you intimately understand their problems to leave a lasting impact. Like a good partner, you want them to think they really get me. No one relates to “siloed systems” or “streamlined processes,” but they do care about annoying their bogged-down development team twice a week with manual email requests for a customer’s product usage stats.
4.) Customer Engagement (Testimonials, Referrals, Feedback)
Maximize the love from your biggest promoters. After a customer gives ChurnZero a positive Net Promoter Score® rating, we send them an automated email and in-app message with a request to review us on a software review site using ChurnZero’s continuous Plays (automated messaging and tasks). Once the customer publishes a review, we send them an Amazon gift card as a token of our appreciation for taking time out of their day to share their positive experience. To encourage and incentivize worth-of-mouth marketing, we also give gift cards for customer referrals and references.
5.) Networks and Knowledge
It’s all about who and what you know. Don’t underestimate the value of gifting your unique expertise and connections to a customer. Making a mutually beneficial introduction is a surefire way to build trust among your network. It invokes a positive sentiment that’ll outlast any goodwill generated from swag or a material gift. You can also surprise-and-delight your customers with unexpected insights and analysis. For example, configure a strategic report to give extra context to their out-of-the-box analytics or share relevant industry news that would be of interest to them.
6.) Personal Achievements
Recognizing your customers’ personal achievements demonstrates your sincere interest in their success, not only as a business partner, but also as a person. Like when software review site, G2, scored brownie points for sending our Director of Marketing a bottle of champagne after she mentioned her first-time home purchase during a routine customer call. How thoughtful is that? Successful relationships pay attention to and celebrate…
The Little Things
Along with grand gestures, anniversaries, and key milestones, memorable customer experience also manifests from trivial, everyday encounters; the moments when it’s least expected. Catching a customer by surprise with a kind act spurs an affinity that can transcend poor experiences and preconceived notions. “Customer loyalty is driven by small things, the softer things that are harder to measure, and the little things which in isolation seem inconsequential,” explains B2B International in their article on how to win customer devotion. Or as Blink-182 so poetically put it “All the small things, true care truth brings.” (Also, “Na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na, na, na.” Say it ain’t so, but this song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.)
As with most things in life, consistency is key. Great things take times. Relationships need to be nourished and nurtured. Show up for your customers every day, not only when it’s conducive to your commissions, and you’ll lay the groundwork to gain a partner for life.
Customer Success Around the Web
- How to Create an Effective Customer Journey Map – Read about the importance of journey mapping along with templates to start your own.
- Do Product-Led Growth Companies Need Customer Success?– The short answer is yes, but learn more about the role CS plays in PLG companies.
- Simpson’s Paradox in Measuring Net Dollar Retention Rate– NDR is one of the most important metrics is a SaaS business, and you need to know how to measure it.