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Lessons from a Shaver: 3 Principles of Customer Success

Dollar Shave Club is one of the brands that are often brought up when we talk about the subscription economy. Instead of traditional repeat purchases, we subscribe to a brand – and that delivers convenience and savings on both sides.

I wanted to test a copycat service here in The Netherlands. I liked the idea, and the marketing finally got me. According to the website, I was supposed to receive my starter set within 5 days. Clicked order. Payed. So far, so good.

And then… things went horribly wrong.

My shaving odyssey

After the confirmation email, nothing happened for more than a week. I finally sent a complaint, and my order had been forgotten – so I got another confirmation email and they shipped the product again. 

While all that happened, I received another package from another online shop – and that package included a voucher for 50%  – for the exact starter package that I was still waiting for! So I didn’t only wait for ages (for a product I can replace quite easily), I also got a bad deal!

To top things off, the second order still hasn’t arrived. It’s been almost three weeks now…

I don’t want to complain. In startups, things go wrong sometimes. But in Customer Success, we often forget the fundamentals. We work on hyper-intelligent automations. We design the craziest playbooks. But when reality hits, we forgot about the 101.

So let’s look at the 3 basic principles of Customer Success that need to ALWAYS be in place to avoid situations like my shaving disaster.

Every new customer is special. ALWAYS.

Here’s the deal: Onboarding is such a normal part of our job, that it sometimes becomes TOO normal.

We start treating a new customer like a new line item. The truth is that the onboarding is probably the single most important part of our work as Customer Success teams. Check out this Gary V video, where they break down how to treat new restaurant customers to turn them into recurring customers.

⭐️  Create rituals that make you appreciate a new customer. A new customer needs all your attention. That’s how the shaver company could have fixed it: If they flagged every new customer in their system, their service team could proactively make sure that nothing goes wrong.

That’s the easiest way to turn a one-time purchase into a loyal customer, and the same holds true for enterprise SaaS.

Clear expectations are EVERYTHING

It will take you a while to respond to messages? Your team lead is on maternity leave? You currently have a high workload? Not a problem. If you tell me about it upfront. Don’t pretend that you will call me back in 5 minutes every time and that “customer service is our utmost priority”. Let me know exactly what I can expect from CS. How fast they reply. What my implementation timeline looks like.

And if there are weaknesses, be upfront about them. We are all human. Just don’t send me BS marketing messages that you can’t deliver on.

Be clear on pricing

You have hopefully already figured that out, but let me repeat it:

There is nothing worse than a pricing surprise before or while you’re about to sign your contract. You’re getting into a subscription long-term. If there are discounts, let me know early enough so I can calculate it in. If there are extra service costs, let me know in advance. If the price goes up/down because of some pricing tiers, send me the list.

And PLEASE, don’t let me find out that my colleagues at the company next door are paying half the price. It’s ok to change pricing strategy, but don’t just *click* and launch it. Transitioning to a new pricing model is a big challenge.

Are these 3 basic Customer Success principles in place in your company?