One common theme between all the web services my companies operate is our emphasis on customer service. Outstanding customer service is often our biggest competitive advantage in commodity service industries.
How We Do It Better
We love our customers and appreciate it when they choose to send some of their hard-earned money our way. Here are seven things we do that other companies often don’t.
1. We send personal emails to customers when their subscription payments don’t go through.
We don’t want customers to simply receive a string of cold, automated emails from our billing system when their payments get declined. We send a friendly, personal email to each customer who has had their payment declined more than once. It’s an opportunity for us to offer our help in getting their account back in good standing. The emails come from personal accounts, not system accounts, so that customers can reply back quickly. Our personalized emails get a phenomenal response rate of over 50%.
2. We send handwritten letters to long-time customers.
A couple of our services have been in business for nearly a decade, and we have some customers that have been around for nearly all that time. We honor those customers by sending them handwritten letters from time to time. The letters are mostly just to say hello, but customers appreciate the effort and the special recognition of being an original customer.
3. We send snail mail and stickers to new customers.
We love old and new customers alike. New customers get letters and stickers from us shortly after registration. Customers love the stickers, and it is our first chance to make a lasting impression. We like to set the expectation of excellent customer service as early on in the relationship as possible.
4. Customers love T-shirts.
Everyone loves a freebie, and it’s even better when it’s a T-shirt. We periodically have contests where customers and social media followers can win branded T-shirts and merchandise. It’s a good way to generate excitement about our products as well as provide customers with something they’ll likely use for years.
5. We run a better helpdesk.
We want customer support to be as helpful as we can make it. We’ve all had experiences where we’ve sent in support requests to a company and cringed when we saw how they handled it. Support for all of our products is handled in-house. We don’t outsource support work. We don’t mark tickets as “solved” until the customer is happy.
6. We have reward programs for our most loyal customers.
We make it easy, and rewarding, for users to promote our products. For example, one of our companies gives users a 50 cent credit toward their next purchase for simply mentioning us in a tweet. Other services give service discounts based on the number of years that a customer has been paying. Rewards programs give your customers financial incentives for staying loyal and promoting your service for you.
7. We promote customers to evangelists if they show extraordinary love for the brand.
I’ve written about the importance of having an evangelist program before. It’s important for marketing, but it’s also just as important as a method for showing the company’s appreciation of the customer. We like to reward our most valuable customers with even greater perks and more access to the company’s workings. We’ve found that customers want to know how things work, how we run our businesses, etc.
Do awesome things like these and you’ll be able to beat any competitor and create lifelong customers that love your company.
Over the next few days I want you to think about how you show your appreciation for your customers. Can you come up with another way to wow your customers? Implement your new idea and tell me about it in the comments below.