May 21, 2019

How do you talk to your customers?


Do you use email or phone? Or perhaps, do you use specific tools? How do you select which customers to talk to?

What do you ask yourself when you need to talk to customers?

(I know that I am asking this question in a rather open-ended manner)

  1. 4

    First, I try to 'prime the pump' by sending a post-registration email that is super friendly and informal:

    Hey, glad you're checking out Buttondown :)
    Please let me know if you need any help getting set up, or have any questions or feature requests! I'd be more than happy to help — I also offer concierge onboarding, so if you need any help migrating back issues or existing subscribers from Mailchimp/Tinyletter/whatever, I'd be happy to do that free of charge.
    Have a great rest of your day, and don't hesitate to reach out!
    (Seriously, replies go straight to my inbox, and I love getting email.)

    This turns a lot of customer conversations from an outbound thing into an inbound thing, which helps a lot — folks feel comfortable and willing to reach out and give feedback.

    When I'm looking for more focused and directed feedback ("how do I make life easier for folks who are sending emails that have to do with programming?", "what API features should I work on next?") I don't do anything particularly fancy: I have a Google sheet where each tab is a question that I ask. Keeping track of it this way has a couple advantages:

    1. I get a good sense of who is willing to respond and who isn't;
    2. I develop an understanding of response rates and timing;
    3. I have an easy way of collating and synthesizing the responses.
    1. 1

      Thank you for sharing. This looks like a good way to 'open the gates' into engagement.

      For a newbie for myself, would you mind explaining the inbound/outbound terminology?

      1. 2

        For sure!

        Inbound: folks reaching out to you. (A “contact us” form is the most basic version of inbound sales.)

        Outbound: you proactively reaching out to folks. (Cold emails are the most basic version of outbound sales.)

        1. 1

          Thank you. I am now learning this subject.

  2. 2

    I am still trying to figure this out too, but I'll share what I do today:

    • I send all new email subscribers a survey (automatically) 2 weeks after they join, and then a follow-up a week later if they don't complete it.
      • In that survey I ask some specific questions and some general ones to figure out what they value and what features might resonate with them.
    • I also send around surveys with requests to follow up to my most engaged subscribers from time to time (maybe once per quarter).
      • In these surveys I ask specific questions based on what I'm building or thinking of building.
      • I ask them to indicate if they would be willing to do a follow up call so I can get a little facetime.

    The thing I like about this is that it's mostly asynchronous. Since I'm not working full-time on my project, I can't spend all day talking to customers, but I can send surveys and ask email questions anytime.

    Will be interested to hear what others are doing!

    1. 1

      What do you use to schedule the 2-weeks survey? Do you follow any guideline for designing your surveys? For example, survey length, wording, etc.?

      1. 1

        I pitch it as a 2-minute survey, so it's just a few questions. I use Mailchimp to add new subscribers to a drip campaign that receives the survey about 2 weeks after they sign up.

  3. 1

    chat functionality on the website / webapp / SPA and inside mobile apps. something like Drift or Crisp chat or Intercom

    for mass, there's email newsletters and sms

    for the beta groups there's a google group / fb group or a slack channel


    1. 1

      From my experience, it seems quite a challenge to manage so many channels of communication.