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:
Customer Marketing 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.