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How do you stay in touch with your customers?


#1

I’m curious as to how you guys handle customer interaction during their lifetime on your platform or with your product.

I’ve struggled a bit with this to find the right spot for this. A lot has been said about using teaching as a means to build trust with potential and existing customers.

But what do you do after a customer signed up? What do you do to detect customers potentially having troubles using your product, how do you interact with them over the course of their lifetime as a customer? Do you use lifecycle emails like customer.io? Do you respond to specific events in their account to get in touch with them? Do you send them newsletters as a means to give them something to respond to?

As our number of customers increases I’m finding it more and more difficult to find the right means to talk to them. I’ve started setting up camp with customer.io, something I should’ve done a long time ago, to start a better lifecycle interaction. But I’m curious as to whether there are any good practices, any experiences to share.


#2

We use different methods to stay in touch with our customers, depending on what stage in the lifecycle the customer is in:

  • During evaluation: we send multiple follow-up emails after customers signed up for a trial. The emails contain some getting started tips and we encourage customers to email us if they have any questions (by simply replying to the emails). Most of our customers are actually emailing us during the evaluation, either with questions about using TestRail, feature requests or pricing/purchasing questions, so making it as easy as possible to email us is important.

    We also encourage customers to email us if they need more time to complete their evaluation. If you have a complex product, it can take some time for teams to integrate it into their workflow or migrate any existing data (and customers often have more important projects they need to work on), so we often extend trials to give customers more time with this.

  • Newsletters: we regularly send newsletters about product updates and other relevant news to all customers. This is a good way to stay in touch with existing customers and we also encourage customers to email us if they have any questions about the new release etc.

  • Support: when customers email us for support requests, we also follow-up with customers after a couple of days/weeks (depending on the request) to see if our answer helped them resolve the issue (we customized our help desk system to make this easier). We found that customers really appreciate this and this encourages customers to send additional details if their previous issue hasn’t been resolved.

  • Feedback: we also include a prominent link in the product’s user interface to send us feedback / participate in our forum, which adds another method to encourage customers to stay in touch.

We also want to improve this in the future:

  • The trial follow-up emails should ideally respond to the usage of the product during the evaluation. So if customers figured out all the basic things like setting up a project in TestRail or inviting other team members to their trial account, we should likely send different/more advanced tips in the emails.

  • Once we have more resources for this, we actually plan to pro-actively offer 1-hour product demos to the most promising trial sign-ups (I guess this works best for enterprise B2B products)


#3

For the past 3 years my customers have mostly been consulting clients, prospects, or development contracting opportunities, so they are pretty high touch. I’ve found Yesware (the Chrome Extension for GMail) to be really useful. It tracks emails, and allows me to keep a catalog of templates that I modify and use for each “segment”

The question is when does that become unworkable for a product? I think most of the answer comes from your value proposition and pricing. Many unhappy, barely paying/free customers, or a few very happy paying customers?


#4

We’ve just launched Rallypoint for early access and we’re actually starting to look at the same thing. We’re still pretty new at it, but having tried a couple of things, the resource and app we use to handle of this is Intercom. Their app is a simple elegant way to handle messaging (both in app and email) and also pretty awesome at tracking interaction with your app. It’s really setup to be able and try different sorts of messages and different points, to find out by yourself what works. On top of that, their blog is a great place to get some ideas on engaging your users through your product’s lifecycle as well. We’ve only just started using it, but are liking it so far.

I am very new to this, though, so I’m really looking forward to the ideas of others!


#5

We use Mailchimp (for lifecycle) and Intercom.io (for in-app and some automated “hey, we haven’t seen you in awhile” emails) at SERPs. Then we have a floating support button from UserVoice in our app, and that is how most customers reach out to us for bugs or a feature request.

In terms of lifecycle, we hit up our trials pretty heavy, and I’ve never got a single complaint that we email too much (we send 8-10 emails in a 30-day trial). I have gotten compliments though! If it’s too much for people, they just unsubscribe, no hard feelings.

We haven’t done much triggered emails yet (customer uses x feature, we email them about y feature, or how to use x feature better). I think one feature I’d like to add is if a customer hasn’t used a certain feature within x days, we send them something on how to get started.

One automated email that has worked really well for us, and people really appreciate is during a trial, if they haven’t logged for 14 days, we send them an automated email (using intercom.io) asking if we can extend their trial and if there is anything we can help with. That email gets the most replies out of all, and people appreciate that type of automation I think.