January 24, 2024

Grow SaaS Customer Retention with a Giving Mindset


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“The more you put into the product, the more you’ll get out of it.”

In SaaS companies, I often hear this reciprocal one-liner bestowed upon new customers to set fair expectations about a product’s performance potential and trajectory.

It puts the onus back on the customer to create their own fate through positive actions (not just intent).

But what if we turn the tables and apply this give-and-take philosophy to our own customer relationships to foster customer retention?

Reframe the context as the more knowledge, appreciation, and attention you put into your customers, the more value, loyalty, and advocacy you’ll get out of them. You begin to earn what your marketing dollars can’t buy: social currency—the gift that keeps on giving to your bottom-line.

So, how can your business build up customer retention?

In short, you need to provide your customer with equal parts value and gratitude.

Your product may have gotten you in the door, but customers won’t evangelize your brand if they don’t feel appreciated and part of a community. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

And, just like any committed relationship, words (read: thank you emails) aren’t always enough to express your gratefulness. It takes altruistic action.

Here’s a few ways ChurnZero shows our customers we 😍them.

Fly Your Freak Churn Flag

After a customer completes onboarding, their Customer Success Manager sends a care package with our coveted “Fight Churn” flag for the team to proudly hang in their office. The package also contains other branded goodies such as our Churn Monster cards, stickers, and notebooks. And as a thoughtful touch, we include a personal handwritten note from their new Customer Success Manager welcoming them to the family.

Fantastic shot of @GatherTech's Client Success team posing with their Fight Churn Flag. Thanks for sharing it with us! 📸 #CustomerSuccess pic.twitter.com/wJNHPi8bhq

— ChurnZero (@churnzero) October 9, 2019

We love to see our customers flying the Fight Churn flag. Thanks to @DonorSearch for sharing this snapshot from Halloween #CustomerSuccess #fightchurn pic.twitter.com/dDZaHgpOMG

— ChurnZero (@churnzero) November 5, 2019

We also have an ongoing user-generated content (UGC) campaign where if new customers snap a team picture with their flag and post it on social media, we’ll send them a cookie gift basket to “sweeten the relationship”. These photos are a fun way to create authentic content that genuinely excites our customers. What I love most about our flags and what makes them share-worthy is that they unite our customers and us under a common cause: fight churn. The flag represents their daily hustle and shared end goal of increasing customer retention—not promoting our brand name or product. Virality is about relatability; always make it about the customer.

Reward Customer Feedback

Using ChurnZero’s continuous Plays (automated messaging and tasks), every time a customer gives us 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. After the customer publishes a review, we send them an Amazon gift card to thank them for being a loyal customer and sharing their experience. We also give gift cards for customer referrals and references to encourage and incentivize worth-of-mouth marketing.

Impart the Gift of Knowledge and Networks

Gifting your unique expertise and connections to customers provides a different kind of enrichment—one that’s loaded in value yet priceless. Surprise-and-delight strategies don’t have to be limited to money-saving coupons and free upgrades. Reward your customers with unexpected insights and analysis. For example, you can configure a strategic report to give extra context to their out-of-the-box analytics or share hyper-relevant industry news that would be of interest to them.

You can also offer up your connections. Do you have a current customer that has an opening on their team, and know of someone in your network that could be a good fit? Then set up that introduction! You strengthen your customer’s team, provide a referral for someone in your network, and build trust with all involved. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Any time you provide proactive Customer Success, where you anticipate your customers’ future needs, you, in turn, give them additional value that they didn’t even have to search or request. Customer Success Managers find opportunities to make things better, take things further, and use their account and product mastery to prepare customers for the next phase of their business growth.

Look for ways to think outside of the box (literally) and give other contributions like; the gift of knowledge, the gift of encouragement, and the gift of community.

Spread the Saas Love

As a client to other SaaS companies, we’ve been lucky enough to receive a few memorable vendor gifts ourselves. Here are a few of our recent favorites.

Tweets and Tokens of Appreciation

We participated in HubSpot’s Customer Appreciation Day campaign by submitting a response about why ChurnZero loves working with our customers and included their hashtag #CustomerLove. In return, HubSpot sent us a handwritten thank you note complemented by customer-centric swag. In the spirit of mutual SaaS support, we tweeted about this unexpected, delightful gift and then HubSpot featured our tweet in their blog post.

Congratulate Personal and Professional Achievement

After software review site TrustRadius named ChurnZero a top-rated vendor in their Customer Success category, they sent us celebratory cookies. At ChurnZero, we always appreciate an edible gift and the cookies recognized our online accolades in a tangible (and tasteful) way.

In a similar fashion, software review site G2 sent the ChurnZero team commemorative swag complete with t-shirts and fun stickers to tout our new bragging rights for being named a Leader in their Customer Success category. But that wasn’t all.

As a Customer Success provider, we love when we see other companies take a sincere interest in getting to know their customers. That’s why when G2 sent our Director of Marketing a bottle of champagne after she mentioned her first-time home purchase during a routine customer call, we were impressed. Attention to and consideration of the small details are how you cultivate strong customer rapport, affinity, and influence.

A Lifetime Subscription to Service

SaaS companies rely on monthly and annual recurring revenue, so they can’t (successfully) operate using a set-it-and-forget-it customer mentality once a sale closes. Thriving in the subscription economy takes an ongoing commitment to not only invest in and improve upon your product, but also your customers. If most of your customer interactions involve you soliciting something from them, then you’re in a one-sided relationship. Your customer will eventually wise up and realize that there’s someone else out there who will treat them better. Lasting customer relationships give more than they take. That’s how you win subscribers for life.

Want to learn more ways to build customer retention through sending? Check out our eBook below for fun and creative ideas to engage your customers.

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