Insightly Insider - You Closed the Sale, Now Keep Your Customers Happy for the Long Haul

You closed the sale!  Awesome job!  Now onto the next one...but what about that new customer?  Too many businesses close the sale and have very little interaction with customers after.  Unless there’s a problem, customers are not likely to reach out to you either.  And, why should they?  

Whether you’re running a B2C or B2B company, your customers’ experiences with you and your team can define success or failure.  Happy, satisfied customers stick around, while unhappy customers look elsewhere.  And most turn to competitors. Keeping your customers engaged, satisfied, and coming back for more means prioritizing the relationship with a customer-focused culture and always listening to customer feedback to keep improving your product.  

Hi, everyone!  I’m Teresa and I am a member of the Customer Success team here at Insightly.  I’ve executed major marketing campaigns for a handful of fortune 500’s and I am excited to share my tips on how you can keep your customers happy and engaged after making the sale.  During the next 90 minutes I'll post my insights in 3 parts and will be in the community, live, taking questions.  Please post your comments and questions below (don’t forget to login).  I’d love to hear best practices from you on how you keep your customers engaged and happy!

 

Your sales team has spent hours, days, maybe even weeks or months bringing in a new customer.  Now what?  You need to have a plan in place to educate your customers on how they can get started with services/products.  This is typically referred to as onboarding and it is critical with new customers.  Depending on how many people you have on your team and the number of customers you have coming in each week, you could have various forms of onboarding.  Here are a few examples of some common forms of onboarding:

  • Self-Service: This is the most scalable method of onboarding and continuous learning allowing customers to move at their own pace.  With self service training, you need to ensure you have robust training materials that are clear and easy to understand all housed in an easily accessible place.  You should offer various methods for learning as no two people learn in the exact same way.  I, for example, am a visual and auditory learner so seeing videos and gifs within a text article are very helpful for me.   
  • One-to-Many: Webinars are a great example of one to many training where you can reach many people at one time.  If you have a standard way of using your service/product, this is a great way to onboard customers while reaching many people.  
  • One-on-One:  If your team is big enough, you can setup one-on-one meetings to help customize the onboarding process for each customer.  These specialized trainings focus on the unique customer’s use case of your service/product.  This is the most time consuming method of onboarding but keep in mind, it could be your most valuable method with certain customers.  

A hybrid approach of these three types of onboarding might be best for you depending on the size of your team and the number of customers you have.  I’m also happy to give you my feedback if you’re having trouble deciding what type of onboarding and ongoing communication is best for you.

 

The channels for customer interaction seem to grow every day. Social media, email, phone calls and other dialogue produce meaningful insights and outcomes that define the customer experience.  A negative tweet can’t only be the concern of the Marketing team. Every time a customer reaches out to your business, the sentiment they share should be measured, shared and analyzed. Most importantly, you need to keep the lines of communication open.

Here at Insightly, we keep our customers informed via a myriad of options: our Help Center (which you already know about since you’re here!), emails, in-product messaging, social media, our blog, etc.  It is important to keep in mind that just like learning methods, each of your customers are different when it comes to their preferred way to communicate. Using different methods to keep your customers in the know helps ensure no one is left in the dark.  You should also reuse content from one medium to the next so you’re workload is not increased exponentially as you bring in new ways to talk to your customers.  If you have a great blog post on a new feature, direct customers to that blog post via social.  Don’t make more work for yourself than necessary.  

Now that you are actively working to keep customers engaged and informed, you need to be sure your message is relevant to each recipient.  My rules of thumb are:

  • Keep it simple: A clear and concise message that gets to the point is not only more likely to grab the attention of your customers but also respects their time.  Complicating a message is the best way to have someone disregard whatever you are trying to say.
  • Personalize your message: Where possible, keep your message tailored to the needs of your customer.   

Don’t overdo it: With so many channels for communication, it’s easy to throw too much info at your customers and overwhelm them.  Keep it simple in both your message and your frequency of communicating with them.  

 

This is the most commonly neglected aspect of keeping customers happy and engaged.  You aren’t managing accounts or clients. You’re working with people. People respond to personalized service and businesses that actively try to improve their lives. If you’re not helping your customers, they will leave and if you’re not treating them as people, they will eventually leave.  

Sharing customer info and feedback throughout your company – and making it easily accessible – ensures that employees can speak to customers on a personal level. More than anything else, a personal connection keeps customers engaged. Personalized service will make your company stand out from the pack and attract prospective customers looking for something more from the companies they give their money to.  A few examples of simple ways to personalize the customer experience include:

  • Recognizing customer milestones
  • Sending tips and best practices based on their industry
  • Directly thanking customers with a gift for their feedback on review sites - good or bad as harsh reviews can oftentimes give you very helpful info on how to improve  

When getting personal, I always put myself in the shoes of our customers.  If there’s no value to the customer, then why am I sending this email?  And when I do communicate with our customers, am I being clear enough on the benefits to them?  If you are, then send away!  Once you have personalized your messaging to your customers, you need to ensure you keep an open dialogue with them.  Here at Insightly, we have our Help Center where customers can learn how to use Insightly at their own pace, share best practices, get help from the whole Insightly community, and post product feedback and requests to name a few.

Here are some common ways to get customer feedback and keep the lines of communication open:

  • Surveys
  • Beta Testing
  • Help Center/Community
  • Product Reviews
  • Reach out directly

 

Thank you everyone for participating in today’s discussion!  Customer engagement and happiness is a broad topic with many more aspects that we were not able to cover today.  So if you take only three things away from this discussion it should be:

  1. No matter what method of onboarding you’re using, be sure it’s easy to understand and customers are given a few different options on how to learn.  
  2. Customers need to feel the love even after they’ve gone through your all important onboarding.  New features and best practices should be shared with your customers on a regular basis.  Hosting learning events from webinars to discussions such as this one are a great way to keep customers engaged and learning.
  3. Just like you and me, your customers are people.  So, treat them like they are not just a dollar value on your balance sheet.  Personalize your interactions with your customers and keep an open dialogue with them.  


Does anyone have other tip or skills that they use to help with their customer engagement?  Any additional points are welcome!

Thanks!

Teresa

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Comments

33 comments
  • I've added it to my calendar! 

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  • Would love to participate though am busy for the first half. Will sign in then.

    Will this be on an Insightly webinar to view the part I miss?

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  • Yay - love to hear you guys will be joining the par-tay!

    It's going to be right here in the Community on this wall Melissa. And since you've commented, you're already following the thread :)

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  • so easy...:)

    Thanks.

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  • Hi Melissa and Amanda,

    I'm excited to have you both join!  

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  • Hi Theresa,

    9am PST is Dinner time in the Netherlands but I will try to join the webinar too. 

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  • Hi Jeroen! Great to see you. :) We hope you can make it but if not, we'll be archiving Teresa's complete discussion on this page so you can read her Marketing secrets (and those shared by other customers) even after the discussion is over. Thanks!

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  • Looking forward to it!

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  • Thanks, Kirill - So glad you'll be able to join us! 

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  • Hi everyone! We'll be be posting Part I of Teresa's discussion in about 5 minutes. Teresa will also be here, in the community, live to take your questions. Thanks!

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  • Hello everyone and welcome!

    We have officially started the discussion. Please feel free to provide feedback on your experiences and ask any questions you may have about customer engagement.

    I look forward to hearing from you!

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  • Our sales team is pretty small and we rely on webinars to help people view our product and understand how to use it! I'd love to hear your ideas on promoting webinars. We send emails with embedded links but we're not sure that is an impactful as we'd like. 

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  • Amanda we love webinars here!  Emails are effective for promoting webinars to a point but with email open rates typically below 50%, you're right it is not always the best option for each customer.  I recommend using social to promote your webinars the day leading up to a webinar and the day of.  It is also a good idea to keep your active webinars on your website and getting customers used to regularly checking out your webinars page.  For example, here on the Help Center, we have our recorded and live webinars always listed so customers don't need to wait for an email from us.  

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  • Thanks Teresa! 

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  • Hi Teresa. Do you have any tips you can offer to help us get a high open rate and click rate on links in our onboarding emails?

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  • Which version of on boarding have you noticed will keep a user as a long time customer? Would it be more hand holding or an independent approach of self service?

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  • My main client is wanting to offer all three forms of on boarding.  Currently he has asked me to put together some training videos for a  self serve form along with designing documentation for their clients to download.

    He is also wanting to have on boarding webinars and  One to One sessions for those clients that prefer this method of on boarding. He wants to make sure that his clients can come on board with the style that fits their business and employees.  

    It is exciting to work on all three forms.

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  • Hi Bengt, to get higher open rates for onboarding emails, you want a compelling enough subject that someone will actually open the email.  Onboarding emails provide helpful info for your customers and you should express this in the subject.  I personally find teaser subjects get the highest open rates.  This could hint at what is inside but the customer needs to open the email to find out what it is you're talking about.  

    For click thrus, making your email content relevant for the customer is the best way to get someone to click thru.  For onboarding, this may mean you need to have multiple onboarding streams for customers based on size, industry, etc.  The more personalized and relevant the content is to your customer, the more likely they will click thru.

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  • Teresa,

    What are your recommendation for frequency of communication?  Does it change depending on which social media platform you are using?  For example Twitter vs. Facebook or Instagram?

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  • Hi Humphrey, It really depends on your customer base but I have found a hybrid approach has worked best for the companies where I have worked.  The one-on-one training may not be possible given the amount of time it takes so for this type of training, you may need to consider this as a professional service at an additional cost.  In this case, self service and one to many training is your norm for your customers.  They can still reach you when necessary with this hybrid onboarding but you are not in training sessions all day which could be the case if you stick with a one-on-one method exclusively.  

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  • Hi Bob,  It's great to hear you find all three methods of onboarding are effective!  It really does change from person to person, so having options are always the ideal.

    For frequency of communication, I have found near daily (weekday) posts on social keep your customers engaged as long as you have something of interest to say.  For the different types of social I tend to keep it to a few tweets at most a day and one post a day on facebook when I have something relevant to say (so this could be only once a week).   

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  • Hi Teresa! We just had someone ask "How do you turnaround a customer who gave you a bad review?"

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  • I love this question!  Too often companies ignore their negative reviews in the endless pursuit for 5 stars.  First and foremost, if you can fix whatever their problem is, fix it!  By doing this you have demonstrated to the customer that you're listening to them and acting on any problems they may raise.  You need to address the negative reviews ASAP so the customer knows you're listening.  I also like to follow up a month or two after we have first reached out to a customer on their negative review to see how the customer is doing now. 

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  • Thanks Teresa!

    Allright everyone,

    This is a last call for questions! Teresa will be here live, in the community for another 15 minutes. This is your chance to get her advice and feedback. :)

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  • Last question for Teresa: "How do you ensure you reach all your customers?"

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  • What is your opinion on sending a survey after the fact. I know  a personal conversation is always best, though do you think a client may be more frank behind a computer?

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  • In order to reach all your customers, you need to be sure you're marketing where your customers are.  This means you likely can't use just one medium for marketing but need to use at least a few.  And don't create new content for each medium - reuse your content across all your methods for marketing!

    To reuse my own content above, here at Insightly we ensure we reach all our customers through various methods:our Help Center, emails, in-product messaging, social media, and our blog, to name a few.  A customer may not open an email, but if the message is an important one we will ensure we post it elsewhere such as on the Help Center and in a blog post so we reach them.   

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  • Melissa, I find surveys to be a great tool to get frank and honest opinions.  Most of us tend to be a bit more brave behind our computers than we are over the phone or face to face.  If you want to get more feedback after a survey, I would add a last question asking if the respondent would be open to a phone call.  This way you leave the option open for additional feedback via phone but do not scare off anyone who may be willing to fill out a computer based survey.  

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  • Housekeeping question - how do we come back to this discussion when we want to review the great tips and advice here???

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  • Thanks Teresa. Good question Amanda.

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