All About the Little Things

By Kristen Hayer

Last week I walked by my florist, a woman with a tiny flower stand on the sidewalk at the corner of Market and Montgomery in San Francisco, and said “Hi!”  It was clear I didn’t intend to buy flowers that day or engage in a conversation.  I simply meant to acknowledge someone I’ve spoken to in the past.  The woman who runs the shop, who I’ve had maybe 3 short conversations with over the past 2 months, said “Hi!  Oh wait, here…” and gave me a beautiful, yellow tulip.  “Have a great day”, she offered.

This is one of the most impressive moments of customer success I’ve experienced recently.  The fact that this woman recognized me, after 3 purchases, when she works on one of the busiest street corners in the country is impressive.  The icing on the cake was a pretty tulip to take home.  I spent the half-mile walk back to my car contemplating  ways I could help this woman promote her business.

To me, this experience emphasizes an important part of customer success that is often forgotten; the little stuff.  These are the things that keep us all going when the job is tough and thankless.  They also create a tremendous amount of customer engagement.  You can (and should) offer to help customers with your app, train them to be better at using your services, and make sure that your product aligns with their goals.  In the end, none of that will be as memorable as a baby onesie shipped to a client who is about to go on maternity leave.

How to Scale the Little Things

Wonderful, you say.  How do you scale when you’re all about the little things?  It’s tough.  You have to get creative.  Here are some ideas:

Keep the Little Things Alive

As a CSM, there are always customers you like.  You connect with them, you have fun talking to them.  They are your cool customers.  Take the time to record (in your CRM system) their important moments.  Did they have a kid?  Did they get married?  Mark those moments with a gift or a bottle of champagne.  I can’t say enough about handwritten notes.  I have saved almost every handwritten note I have been given.  If you’re a success manager, make sure there is time and budget allocated for this level of engagement, even if it isn’t with every client.

Engage with People

Do you have key clients? They might spend a lot of money.  Maybe they are a great brand for your company.  Don’t forget that behind every important brand is a bunch of people.  While they are probably excited about the company they work for, they are still individuals.  Take the time to learn about them and make sure they feel the love, not because they work for a unicorn, but because they are themselves.  Treat them like you would your “cool” customers.  See above.

Humanize the Automation

I was not, initially, a huge fan of Slack.  However, when you log in, the app greets you with an assortment of affirmations:  “You look nice today” or “Remember to get up and stretch once in a while”.  You’d have to be a robot not to smile when you see that, even though you know it’s automated.  It helps remind you that there are people behind Slack and they have sense of humor.  This is a great example of how to humanize the stuff you have to automate in order to scale.  At every customer touch-point, think of ways you can make it more personal.

If you keep the little things in mind, you can’t lose.  Not only do you gain a loyal and engaged client, you gain the referrals they will give you.  Speaking of which, if you’re in San Francisco, and need flowers for a special someone, go to the flower stand on Montgomery and Market.  You'll be taken care of!

The Success League is a consulting firm that works with executives who want to unlock the retention and revenue a top performing customer success team will bring to their business.