Your Shiny New Product Feature Isn’t Going To Get You More Customers, But This Will…

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After spending a lot of time with two very different B2B SaaS startups recently, after being right in the middle of the trenches as developers and marketing go head to head on what to do next, there is one thing I learned about what startups need to acquire their next customer.

It doesn’t come down to the next AMAZING feature. It’s not about having 100 features and your competition only have ten.

To be frank, features are like commodities. They’re plenty and everyones got them.

So, as an early stage startup, or any business looking to grow, instead of thinking of the next feature to release – and be honest, that next feature that was supposed to be released last quarter still isn’t – think about providing the most exceptional customer service that your customer has ever received.

That might sound cliche and that’s probably so. But, I recently spent about two weeks with a fast growing B2B SaaS startup called When I Work.

They are a work scheduling, time and attendance application that services SMBs such as restaurants, coffee shops, and retail (essentially any business that has hourly workers).

Chad Havarlson, the CEO, sat down with me and told me the story of how he acquired his first 100 customers and why their very first customer, a restaurant chain in Canada, is still with them today – 6 years later.

For full transparency I am employed by When I Work. This is not a blog to promote the business. I’m writing this because of the value I believe businesses will receive from this message.

When When I Work had their first couple of customers, Chad would literally get support tickets forwarded to his email and respond within the first five minutes.

He woke up in the wee hours of the morning to get customers the answers they needed.

He would be on calls with customers holding their hands as they set up their accounts – taking calls from Canada, California and New York at 9pm.

That’s a lot of personal attention to give customers who, at the time, were only paying $19/month.

He would literally dedicate hours of support to every customer each week. Even ones that were still in trial and weren’t even paying.

Chad told me that because of the exceptional customer service that When I Work provided they were able to grow to their first 100 customers in the first year and to over 1,000 paying accounts after year two.

To learn more about what your customers want click here.

Here Are Actionable Tips To Acquire Customers Through Exceptional Customer Service

1.    Utilize the element of surprise

Gregory Ciotti from Help Scout quotes psychologist Norbert Schwartz and tells us that an act of kindness leaves a bigger impact when it is unexpected. You can read more of his tips here

2.   Be as personalized as possible

It’s hard to be personable when you use automated responses while you scale. But these products make it easier to personalize messages.


Help Scout 



3.   Expand your FAQ section

The frequently asked questions section is one of the most under rated aspects of any company’s content marketing strategy.

Marcus Sheridan, the Sales Lion, wrote an amazing blog post about the importance of a company FAQ page. You can read up on the blog post here

The one reason that stands out to me the most is that having a well crafted FAQ section solves customer’s problems faster and reduces the amount of time you, or your customer service team, have to waste dealing with simple customer questions that could have been solved online.

Bringing it all together…

In the online, fast paced, give it to me right now world we live in, it’s good to remember that everyone is still human and people still need to feel that “human touch” when dealing with companies.

That being said, concentrating on delivering exceptional customer support will drive ten times the results for your SaaS business then releasing another new shiny feature that someone can get anywhere else.

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4 thoughts on “Your Shiny New Product Feature Isn’t Going To Get You More Customers, But This Will…

  1. Absolutely. Our team at Roadmunk has received the same feedback from customers, or would-be customers, when we’re able to respond in a matter of minutes. You’re spot-on when it comes to including a human element to support, too; sometimes with the complex system of support programs, policies, tickets and digital mediums — it’s easy to get caught up. Maybe the best answer is just a phone call in certain cases. Great article. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Rhys! It’s funny how something as small as a simple phone call can break through the clutter of our now, text based, instant messaging type world 🙂

  2. Nice article Jason. in the early days, customer service is a huge competitive advantage in retaining customers, and to a lesser degree in converting them (if you have a trial period that includes support). We experienced the same with LemonStand and continue to.

    Something to note here is that a shiny new, *meaningful* feature can help fill the top of the funnel. If you solve a pain with a feature that nobody else has, that’ll help acquire more customers that use your product, so they can experience your customer service in the first place. In the early days you probably want to engineer the experience in such a way that customers are encouraged to experience your support… I believe GrooveHQ blogged about how customers who engaged support were X% more likely to convert. Tools like Intercom make this quite easy nowadays.

    The thing about customer service is that every company says theirs is great. Having “great customer service” is not something you can market and use in customer acquisition, except through testimonials, but in that case it’s ticking one of the customer’s boxes on their expectations, rather than being something extraordinary.

    1. Danny, that’s a good point. You might have to have sexy features to get free trial users in the door (especially in B2B Saas) but it really comes down to how your org as a whole (support/sales/marketing) touches those free trial users that can make or break the deal. Unless you have a unicorn feature that sells the product itself…do you know where I can find one of those? haha…

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