Are you trying to improve the way you treat customers at your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business?
Trust me, you’re not alone. I’ve heard marketers, product developers, CEOs, and share their struggles on how to effectively build a customer-centric company.
Thankfully, there are tons of ways to put customers at the center of what you do. Here are some creative solutions to make customers happy:
1. Send Timely Swag
If you sign up for New Relic, you’ll get more than software. You’ll also get a “data nerd” t-shirt.
In an effort to bring new customers to the company, New Relic began offering t-shirts upon sign up. Instead of printing shirts that said the company name, the shirts said “data nerd,” as New Relic knew their audience was made up of data scientists and analysts. The shirt is about the customer, not about New Relic.
Customers began sharing photos of their t-shirts in Facebook posts, Tweets, and blog posts, resulting in publicity for New Relic. Not only did New Relic put customers at the forefront, but they turned them into brand ambassadors who could spread the word to friends and colleagues.
— Tommy Lloyd-Davies (@tlloyddavies) June 16, 2015
Lessons from New Relic:
- Catch customers when they’re excited to share. For example, find them when they first sign up for your product, on their birthdays, when they first make a deployment, or when they reach a milestone within your software.
- Create swag that taps into who your customers are. Make it about them, not about you.
- Bake swag campaigns into existing marketing strategy. Swag needs to be connected to bigger goals, such as acquiring new customers or retaining existing ones.
2. Feature Their Stories
It’s easy to feel like customers are just names and ID numbers in a CMS, but each of your users has a living, breathing story to tell. If you want to build a customer-centric software company, you need to put names and faces to your customers.
Grasshopper, the entrepreneur’s phone system, created Tell Us Your Story, a campaign that encourages customers to share their journeys.
Grasshopper then features these stories on their Happy Customers page and on their blog. Grasshopper even helps their customers get press in larger publications.
Grasshopper is able to share how many happy customers they’ve got, while customers benefit from publicity.
Lessons from Grasshopper:
- Feature customers on their terms. Make it more about their stories and less about you.
- Set up a system to collect customer stories. You can use tools to capture results. If you are collecting NPS data via an app, use that app to manage the process of thanking customers for their feedback and sharing their stories.
- Use the stories wherever you can. Don’t confine these stories to one page on your site. Figure out how to use them in videos and podcasts, or pitch them to the press.
3. Create Extremely Educational Content
The internet is brimming with blog posts, videos, and other marketing assets. As an SaaS company that depends on the internet for new leads and customers, you need to create content that can compete.
This content will educate your customer, showing them that you’re an authority and a brand they can trust. How to do it? Put your customer at the center.
Help Scout provides customer support software that seamlessly integrates with email. Sure, the software is easy to use and beautifully-designed, but the company also goes out of its way to create amazingly helpful content.
Knowing that their customer base is obsessed with providing great care, they create blog posts, eBooks, and other assets to help their customers succeed in their everyday jobs.
Lessons from Help Scout:
- Make it work for you and your customers. Every company is different, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to content.
- Create personas to speak directly to customers. These personas can help you craft content that focuses on individual’s pain points and problems.
- Solve problems. Don’t create content for it’s own sake. Create resources that help solve difficult problems for customers.
4. Sharing is Caring
According to a study by McKinsey, emotional consistency is an extremely important factor in building customer relationships. The study found that customers experiencing positive emotions with feelings of trust were the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty.
You can build this trust and sense of loyalty through consistent sharing. Customers want to know problems are being solved, so blog about problems your customers are facing, how you are solving them, and include quantitative measure like NPS.
For example, each month, Unbounce publishes an update to share how they’re doing in their customer service efforts. They share how many tickets came in, the month’s NPS score, what types of requests were made, and a number of other metrics.
Lessons from Unbounce:
- Capture customer sentiment. Find a tool that can help you understand how your customers are doing. Consider using NPS because it is simple and fast for the customer.
- Be transparent. Don’t be afraid to share results with your entire team and especially your customer base.
- Commit to sharing consistently overtime. If you continuously share how you’re doing, you’ll build relationships with customers who will come to expect your updates.
Put Your Customers First
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. No matter what you sell, put your customers first. Happy customers will share their positive experiences, becoming brand ambassadors that make up an important part of your overall marketing plan.