One of the most revealing studies of animal behavior took place in a small lab in the 19th century. Pavlov was a physiologist whose research became pivotal to our modern understanding of the learning process. This learning process became known as classical conditioning, which involves learning to associate an unconditioned stimulus that already brings about a response with a new stimulus, so that the new stimulus creates the same response. In other words, Pavlov cultivated an association — a positive or negative association — between the occurrence of one event in the anticipation of another.
Pavlov’s discovery proved to be highly revealing of human nature, the most advanced of animals, in the field of behavioral psychology and beyond. Perhaps the most lucrative application of Pavlov’s classical conditioning lies within the idea of “customer success.” Although customer success sounds like another trendy buzzword, the success or failure of its execution is the difference between hyper-growth and failure for many start-ups.
For many software-based companies, most of the revenue pours in after the first sale. Regardless of the deal size, the longer you can keep the customer, nurture the relationship, and ultimately expand the relationship, the better. For your customers to remain loyal to your product/service and continue to pay more for it, they must feel and become more successful over time.
It’s arguable that keeping your customers happy and satisfied is one of the most influential factors contributing to your bottom line. One way to bridge the gap between your customer success/retention goals and your current reality is through automatic marketing methods like direct mail for short.
The best way to cultivate a lasting harmonious relationship with your customer is by showing them how much you care not only for their business but also for them. Direct mail literally delivers a personal touch to their doorstep. After closing a deal or reaching a certain milestone with a customer, send them a mailer. Over time, your customers will become “conditioned” to your proactive outreach. Two things that will happen as a result:
1. Reduction of Customer Acquisition Cost: Your customers become raving fans of the business, making them walking billboards for the brand.
2. Increase in Consumer Lifetime Value: Your customers will stay longer, buy more, and pay more.
Customer success may be a new idea, but the psychology behind it is not. HubSpot and Slack are perfect examples of successful customer success teams; they proactively help their customers achieve their desired outcomes. Customer success is often measured by a “health score,” which keeps track of quantitative and qualitative metrics like retention, satisfaction, product usage, as well as volume/type of support tickets.
A straightforward way to improve your consumer health score and turn a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one is by engaging them on a personal level through direct mail. It’s a thoughtful gesture that will trigger positive associations towards your brand, just as Pavlov’s dog developed a unique and subconscious desire for food.
The key to creating a successful company isn’t just keeping a balanced budget, product development, etc., although they are important. Customer success is arguably the most vital component to growing and scaling a business. Master customer success, and you’ll undoubtedly scale quickly even with limited resources and little human interaction.