10 Proven Emails To Increase Customer Lifetime Value

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By Jeremy Gillespie

Many companies are afraid to contact their customers because they think it’s going to awaken “hidden” churn. The reality is, communicating with your customers is a high-value activity that will prevent churn and increase your customer lifetime value. Below we’ve outlined 8 different emails you should be sending to build lasting customer relationships. In addition they are broken down by how they are sent:

  • Automated emails

  • Customer Marketing emails

  • Personal emails

Automated Emails

These are your high-leverage emails meant to get customers up to speed, make sure they’re on track and put a smile on their face.

Thank you emails

This email is often overlooked, but a nice email from the founder or CEO when someone starts using the product is a great way to start off the relationship. In this email, you’ll want to touch on the following topics:

  • Thank them for trying your product

  • Introduce them to your brand and core value of the product

  • Let them know you’re there to support them (and where they can get support)

Don’t overthink this email. Just make sure it’s sincere and has a nice friendly tone.

Onboarding Emails

This is an email that’s commonplace now. Onboarding emails come at the beginning of the lifecycle and their primary purpose is to educate the user. Use these emails to ensure they feel successful with your product. Typically, you’ll have a series of emails in your onboarding sequence, the goal of each one is to get the user to successfully complete the next logical step in the product. These emails are often the first introduction to your product and the foundation on which you build the relationship. The user should feel like they “know” how to use your product by the end of them. This is the “aha” moment for the user and can also be part of the onboarding sequence, but we separated it because it’s special.

Activation Emails

Once someone has taken the baby steps (onboarding) to get up and running in your product, you want the lightbulb to go off in their head as they understand why your product is an indispensable part of their workflow now. After someone has been “activated” they should be shown high-value features to deepen the relationship and become further integrated into their day-to-day.

Collection Emails

When a customer has a billing issue and goes into collections, you must communicate with them and the initial emails should be automated. For emails asking for money, make sure they are sent from your domain, have clear branding, and that customers have a way to respond. In addition, it’s recommended to have these transactional emails come from a different email service provider than your marketing emails to ensure high deliverability. You’ll want to keep a close eye on opens and click-through rates for these emails.

Cancellation Emails

Cancellation emails that improve retention and customer lifetime value?! Yes. There’s even a silver lining when someone has decided to cancel your product. Take this opportunity to learn from your customers. Give them an easy way to provide feedback on your product. If they are a high-value customer use this email to schedule an off-boarding call to gather verbal feedback and make sure they leave on good terms.

Product Progress Updates

Value, value, value….

Whether you like it or not, if you’re not showing customers the value you’re providing them, they can quickly forget. Use product progress updates to show them how they’re progressing with the product. One important point to remember is you should not only show them usage stats (i.e. number of emails sent, calls made, etc.), you must tie the activity to the benefit. For example, you may want to tell them how much time or money they saved by using a specific feature set. Generally, the progress updates will center around the core features customers have experienced during “activation.”

Customer Marketing Emails

These emails are sent as needed to further educate and inform customers about the product or company.

Educational Emails

Education is the name of the game. Customers are investing time and money to use your product and they want to know about every bell and whistle you have. Try to send monthly, or at least quarterly, emails to highlight valuable products or features of the product. Pair these emails with a webinar or live training, so all users to see best practices first hand and give them the opportunity to ask questions. One way to go deeper on specific features is to theme the quarters of the year, and hold an educational event each month to help them become power users on specific parts of the product.

Product Updates

The last thing a customer wants is to be surprised when they log into the product, only to find big changes. When you make updates to the product make sure you’re communicating them to the customers. For these emails, tell them what has changed, why you changed it, and how it’s going to make their experience better. These emails are a great compliment to the educational emails and show customers that you’re actively improving the product and using their feedback to make it better.

Personal Emails

Personal emails are typically sent by Account Managers to keep a pulse on the customer, make sure they’re reaching their milestones, and uncover up-sell/cross-sell opportunities.

Proactive Emails

It’s always nice for a customer to receive a friendly email asking them how everything is going and providing something of value. Better yet, point them in the direction of their next milestone in the product. These emails should solve problems before they happen and show customers you’re there to support them.

Business Reviews

Depending on the size of the businesses you work with, these may be more or less frequent, but sending an email to schedule a business review is a great way to partner with them on their growth with the product. Use these emails to find a time for review, provide them with highlights on the return on investment they have received, and areas you think they can focus on in the coming months.

All of these emails are the building blocks to effectively communicate with customers regularly and build a relationship. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but this is a great starting point. Each of these emails should be regularly measured and optimized to improve the customer experience. Remember, these emails are high-value and provide an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with your customers.

The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers a comprehensive CSM Certification Program which includes such classes as Managing Your Portfolio and Customer Advocacy. For more information on this program and our other classes and workshops, please visit TheSuccessLeague.io

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Jeremy Gillespie - Jeremy is a growth marketing expert who loves using complex data to build creative retention solutions. He is a founding advisor to The Success League, and is also the founder of Built to Scale, a consulting firm focused developing customer acquisition and retention programs. He holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and MBA from Point Park University. He's a proud former Pittsburgher, currently living in San Francisco.

Success on the Road - New York, NY


By Kristen Hayer

Last week was a whirlwind week in NYC training not one, but two, awesome teams, from ListenFirst and Updater. I followed this with a weekend in NY celebrating a major family birthday. I’m writing this in the airport, heading to Atlanta to train another team, after which we’re headed to Seattle to do some consulting work with a team there.

I was struggling with what to write for this post, because I’ve been challenged with finding balance in the middle of all the travel. I need to eat, work out, teach workshops, write blog posts, and run The Success League. Oh, and sleep. Then, I realized that this is exactly what everyone deals with in customer success. Every CSM is trying to find the time to help customers with technical issues, be proactive, conduct executive business reviews, set goals, and drive new opportunities. Oh, and sleep.  

What did I do about it? I set small goals every day, and I took one day at a time. On teaching days, it was all about the workshops and making sure those teams got everything they could out of them. Running The Success League happened at night over dinner (food!). On family days, I multi-tasked. Exercise? I got in 16 miles over 3 days by walking around NYC. Sleep? Check, breakfast at 10. Eating? Umm, it’s NYC, so yeah. Best food ever.

As a CSM, what can you do to balance your time? Are there certain days where proactive work fits in best? Can you set meetings for one day a week? Consider scheduling solid chunks of time for various activities, and taking one day at a time. Good luck – I’m still working it out!

Spring CS Leadership Series to Start 3/26

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Are you a new or existing Customer Success leader? Our CS Leadership Training Program can teach you to be focused on metrics, goals, and customer outcomes. We can prepare you to work with executives and board members and deliver a solid return on investment in customer success. Classes included in our program are as follows:

Team Metrics & Goals - March 26, 2019

Building a Playbook - April 2, 2019

Planning a Team Structure - April 9, 2019

Developing Compensation Plans - April 16, 2019

Hiring Top Performers - April 23, 2019

Onboarding New CSMs - April 30, 2019

Goal Based Management - May 7, 2019

Reporting on Results - May 14, 2019

Sign up for a single course or join the full program at any time. Classes are available throughout the year.

All classes are held on Tuesdays at 9AM Pacific / 12PM Eastern.

Starting Soon: New CSM Certification Program!

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We want to help you to become a top performing CSM, which is why we created our CSM Certification Program. This course emphasizes long-term learning, provides practical applications of best practices, and includes tools that CSMs can adopt right away. You will receive certification after completion of the series and passing a learning assessment. The 16 classes included in the expanded series are as follows:

Customer Goals & Outcomes

Business Strategy for CSMs (NEW!)

Managing Your Portfolio (NEW!)

Kicking off the Relationship

Executive Business Reviews

Renewals & Churn

Customer Advocacy (NEW!)

Time Management for CSMs

Uncovering Opportunities (NEW!)

Asking Great Questions

Objections & Negotiation

Managing a Selling Cycle (NEW!)

Using CRM & CSM Systems (NEW!)

Cross-Functional Leadership (NEW!)

Difficult Conversations

Career Paths in Customer Success (NEW!)

Upcoming series begins on Thursday, March 28th.

Series repeats throughout the year.

CSPI Excellence Blog – Genshin Maruta @ Abeja

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By Andreas Knoefel

The Customer Success Performance Index™ (CSPI) measures operational Customer Success excellence in eight dimensions from Internal Alignment to ROI. In 2018 over 100 companies participated in the global CSPI benchmark survey and confirmed the strong correlation between high Net Revenue Renewal (NRR) rates and high CSPI scores. In addition to the summary of the 2018 global benchmark, I presented Lauren Costella at Medrio and Sue Farrance at Signable, two high performing customer success leaders in the US and UK.

Today’s blog post features Genshin Maruta, the Head of Customer Success for Abeja in Japan. With the help of Hiroko Otsu at Success-Lab Japan, who extended the 2018 survey to Japan, he was able to measure his performance and achieved one of the highest CSPI benchmark scores and Net Revenue Retention rates. Congratulations to Gen and his team!

If you would like to receive your personalized report, please take the 8-10 minute 2019 CSPI benchmark survey.

Customer success for Abeja

The summary of the 2018 global benchmark demonstrated already a difference between Japanese and other companies, even though Abeja is positive exception. I asked how Abeja sees customer success as part of their business strategy.

The retail industry embraced more and more SaaS solutions. Customer success is crucial to retain the relationship with our customers and we use best practices like user communities and data driven analysis to optimize the value for our customers.

Customer Segmentation

Gen shared with us how Abeja segments their customers, breaking with traditional segmentation strategies.

Our customers know their business and their business goals better than us. It is our role to align with these goals and provide solutions that enable them to achieve and exceed these goals. Therefore we segment our customers primarily by business outcomes before using traditional metrics like contract value to create a high-touch/low-touch set of playbooks.

Customer Journey

The customer journey should lead to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for each customer and the solution provider alike. How to get there differs between leading companies and those not quite there yet. Here is Abeja’s solution:

We took already one step to a customer-centric view with our segmentation strategy. We extend on this approach and define together with each customer how the journey unfolds to improve their business performance. The frequency, agenda, goals, and audience for each touchpoint are defined together and adjusted as needed. This increases participation and collaboration and fosters a positive climate to look beyond the current solution footprint into upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Demonstrate Success

A positive experience is nothing without renewal which is nothing without getting business value. Abeja is in a fortunate position

Our AI-driven solution measures retail engagement for our customers based on their desired goals and outcomes. Therefore we are in the position to track and measure the business value our customers are achieving. In our executive reviews we confirm this with our customers to ensure that every stakeholder understands the value they are getting with Abeja’s solution.

. . . . .  

Once more congratulation for one of the highest scores in the 2018 CSPI benchmark Survey. I hope to see you again for the 2019 CSPI benchmark survey.

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Genshin Maruta - Mr. Genshin Maruta is the Head of Customer Success at ABEJA, Inc. He formerly worked as an equity analyst at CREDIT SUISSE, as an entrepreneur at an internet advertising agency, and as a consultant of organizational development. He won the championship at the biggest Customer Success presentation competition in Japan in 2018. Graduated from Keio University and completed ESEC (Entrepreneurship Summer Extension Course) at UC Berkeley.

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Andreas Knoefel - Andreas is the inventor of the Customer Success Performance Index™ (CSPI) and a passionate customer success leader. He applies his practical and holistic approach to startups and giants SAP and Apple alike, combining his Ph.D. from KIT and MBA from Santa Clara with his international experience leading customers to success. He recently headed client success for NextLabs and is currently advising two startups on how to preserve their customer base and expand their revenue stream. Andreas finds work-life balance through modernist cooking, outdoors photography and teaching high-octane cycling classes.