Two years ago, I was in peak wedding season.
I was 27, which meant that just about everyone in my life was getting married or engaged.
And if you’ve been through it, you know exactly what I mean when I say “peak wedding season.”
My girlfriend at the time (now wife) and I had six weddings that summer.
But there was one problem: I had 0 suits.
I spent the last five years working at tech companies — which meant that my closet was filled with jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers.
I had been putting off getting a suit for months, but finally push came to shove (it was Memorial Day weekend) and I had to go suit shopping.
So I went to a place that sells suits here in Boston called Milton’s, and I was dreading it. Not because trying on a suit is so bad, but because I felt like I was going to walk out of there with a $1,000 charge on my credit card and something I didn’t feel excited about buying.
But sure enough, I walked out of Milton’s 30 minutes later with two suits for a third of what I expected to pay — and the experience was even better than the price. The tailor was amazing.
He helped me pick out two suits that looked great, fit me perfectly, and I hate admitting this — but I actually enjoyed the experience.
Ever since then, anytime a friend or colleague has mentioned buying a suit, I tell them to go to Milton’s.
And what do I care about suits? I wear them a few a times a year. Yet I always find myself going out of the way to recommend Milton’s.
That’s the power of an amazing customer experience.
Creating A Great Customer Experience
The reason my experience at Milton’s was so good was because the tailor understood I didn’t want to be there and rarely wore suits — and yet he made sure that I left the store that day feeling great about my purchase.
It didn’t feel like a chore. It didn’t feel transactional.
It felt like a genuine 1:1, personal connection.
And this has always been a secret of the best businesses — the ones we tell our friends about.
As Bernadette Jiwa puts it, “the platforms and tactics we use to reach our customers in a digital world keep changing, but the strategy for touching human beings who make decisions with their hearts and not their heads remains the same.”
But when we start talking about one to one relationships today with online businesses, the biggest pushback is that “1:1 doesn’t scale.”
You typically hear things like:
“I just don’t see how one to one can scale for anything other than support.”
“I don’t want my sales reps dealing with people who aren’t qualified.”
But the truth is that you don’t need to completely overhaul the way you do sales and marketing today to make 1:1 work for your business.
Here are four small changes you can make right now so you can start having more 1:1: conversations — and start creating those amazing customer experiences, too.
4 Ways To Make 1:1 Work For You Today
1) Start using friendlier CTAs.
Here’s the funny thing about making the decision to stop doing gated content: it hasn’t impacted the number of email subscribers we get (see How to Generate Leads Online Without Forms).
On the surface, we figured once we stopped doing things like eBooks and content upgrades — two content types that are designed to capture email addresses — that we would get fewer emails.
But we’ve actually been able to grow our list by going against the grain and using friendlier CTAs at the end of each article we write.
In a world where reading content online feels like you’re getting heckled by street vendors at a public market (Download Now! Share This! Subscribe Right Now!), you can stand out by using CTAs that sound like something you’d actually say outloud to someone.
One of my favorite examples of this is what Jon Westenberg does with the articles he writes on Medium. I’ve never met Jon but I feel like I can hear him with this CTA:
Sure Jon, I’d be happy to hit that little green heart to recommend your Medium post.
And below is an example of one of our best performing CTAs — who knew.
PS. Can We Send You An Email?
We threw out all of our lead forms, but once a week we send an email to 7,000 people from companies like HubSpot, Pinterest, Help Scout, Dropbox, Zendesk, Wistia and more. Want to join them? Subscribe here:
2) Switch up your welcome email.
99% of welcome emails feel like one-way communication.
“Thanks for signing up! Now click on this other thing we want you to do right now.”
But that’s a huge mistake. Here’s why:
The people that are getting your welcome email are brand new. They just signed up. This might be the most engaged they will ever be.
You need to take advantage of that engagement and try to get them to respond to you.
Your welcome email should be designed to get a response — not to drive someone to a landing page or your blog or to watch a webinar.
Use that first email simply to strike up a conversation. Ask new people why they signed up, what they are looking to accomplish, what they’re struggling with, or what brought them to use your product or service.
Over the course of 12 days after we made this switch, we received 75 direct replies from real people telling us how they found Drift, why they signed up, and what they’re working on. Here is the email we use:
3) Start showing your face everywhere.
When it comes to doing business today, so little of it actually happens in person.
And that isn’t anyone’s fault — it’s just a product of living in this on-demand, online world. But because of this, we’ve started to forget about the most important aspect of doing business in the first place: people.
There’s a huge opportunity to stand out simply by showing people that you’re a real person, and one of the easiest ways to do this is by giving everyone that comes in touch with your business a way to say hello.
This can also be as simple as showing your face on your website’s live chat. Go to any businesses website, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to chat with them — but are you talking to a real person?
Putting your face on live chat is one of the easiest ways to show that you’re a real person — and as a result — start having better conversations:
4) Reach out to each new signup personally.
Most times you get all of the love from a company right up until you start using their product. And then at that point — poof — they are gone. They got what they wanted from you, so spending their time talking to you isn’t worth it anymore. It doesn’t scale.
And that’s exactly why reaching out to someone immediately after they start using your product can be so powerful.
People don’t expect a personalized message from a real person before any automation starts to kick in. A message from someone who is not looking to sell you anything. Someone who is not asking you to leave a review. Just someone genuinenly checking in to see how things are going.
What a great feeling.
This is something that Cara and Kevin have perfected here at Drift — and here’s their secret: they set up a channel in Slack that gives them a heads up in real-time whenever someone new signs up (thanks to a nice integration with our friends over at Segment):
And then they just use an emoji to mark whether or not they’ve reached out to that new customer or not yet:
And to take things one step further, Cara tweets at each new cutomers with a personalized GIF, too:
— Drift Aloha (@Drift_Aloha) July 21, 2016
If you’re reading this post, you know the value of 1:1 relationships with your customers. You’ve probably had this feeling before as a consumer.
But now the question is: Are you going to fight the status quo and try one of these things for your business? Or are you going to keep relying on the crutch that it just doesn’t scale?
Hopefully you can take at least one small idea from this article and start to make the change.