Editorial 15 Jun 2021

Delighting customers: inspiring ideas for SaaS companies

You got a new customer. Congratulations! Now sit back, charge their credit card and, oh yeah, make sure you provide them value. They happily use your SaaS and don't complain. Perfect, right? Every founder's dream. 😎 Or can you do better?

Photo by Alex Alvarez on Unsplash

When a new customer joins, it’s a new marketing opportunity. They could become ambassadors of your product. Those that’ll refer your product to others without you asking for it or paying affiliate fees. This is the kind of advertising you can’t buy, it’s almost priceless. But there are ways you can push your luck a bit. By doing a tiny bit more than they expect.

More reasons to do this:

“Customer service shouldn’t be an afterthought. Customer service is the whole point of a business.” —Arvid Kahl

This goes beyond perfecting your app’s onboarding flow (though there are ways to delight here too). But what often sets delightful customer experiences apart from good customer experiences, is the human touch: the relationship between your customer and you.

Here are 8 ideas that should inspire you to do something similar for your SaaS. Don’t simply copy these one-on-one, but use them to come up with something that fits your product, your customers or you personally. Note that most of these ideas “do not scale”, but that is why they delight.

Send them a postcard

In a world were practically everything is digital, people light up when they get an actual postcard. Freek Van der Herten from Oh Dear thought so too. When new customers sign up for his product, they get a nice welcome message via postcard. Resulting in many smiles around the world (and shares on Twitter!).

Ideas like these come from the most unexpected places. Freek: “I saw the new notification capability of a framework I use at a conference and thought it was pretty neat to use for Oh Dear.”

example postcard send by Ohdear another example postcard send by Ohdear

Give a thoughtful gift

Who doesn’t like to receive gifts? Most of your customers do! But a thoughtful gift, one that is more than the usual swag (mug, pen or stickers) will certainly wow them. A good example is where Nick Franklin, founder of Chartmogul, noticed Andrew Gazdecki of MicroAcquire often getting asked “What app is that?” when he shared his revenue. So they made Andrew a custom t-shirt. Keep track of your customers social media and seize the opportunity when it rises.

“It’s not the money that makes these efforts shocking and awesome, it’s the care and creativity involved.”—Gary Vaynerchuk


Send a short custom video

Sending a welcome email or sequence is good, especially if it’s customer-focussed and provides value. But if you want to make it a bit more special send them a personal welcome video! Marc Thomas from Positive Human: “Including a personal video message in the onboarding emails led to a conversion increase of 2.13%.”. These don’t have to be minutes-long video’s, just less than 30 seconds personally welcoming them will surely put smiles on their faces.

Customise their onboarding process

This one is for the developers. When you provide many different integrations in your SaaS, your customer might get overwhelmed. As Nuno Sancha from Fomo says: “We all know what happens when you give the customer too much choice, the paradox of choice kicks in and they might churn.” Fomo uses a service, called BuiltWith, to check the platforms that are present on their customers’ website and provides the one they recognise as a featured integration. Not just listing the most popular at the top, but real customised suggestions.

Send cookies

Who doesn’t love cookies?! 🍪 At AppSignal they even have something better: stroopwafels! As a company based in The Netherlands it was an easy choice to send these Dutch delights to delight. As Roy Tomeij, Chief Stroopwafel Officer at AppSignal says: “I used to bring Stroopwafels with me to conferences to create strong and lasting relationships. For AppSignal, I figured I could as easily send them by mail to our customers. We’ve since sent over 30,000 stroopwafels!”. A quick Twitter search shows how incredibly powerful this little gift is.

stroopwafels sent by AppSignal more stroopwafels sent by AppSignal

Help migrating from a competitor

If you provide a service with a lot of moving parts, a concierge or migration service might be a really nice way to ease the pain of switching. For some it might even be thé reason they do not want to switch. Make it as simple as possible for them: ask for set of credentials and all is taken care of for them. Need some inspiration? ConvertKit offers some great options.

Provide a discount when times are tough

2020 was without a doubt a difficult year for many businesses. Some were more impacted by the pandemic than others. If you are aware a customer, especially a long-term one, is in a difficult situtation, you can provide them with a discount that helps them to continue run their business. Joe Thomas, founder of Loom introduced lower prices for all during the covid-19 pandemic. Awesome! But you don’t have to be so public about this, when you learn about the hard times a single customer goes through, just suggest you can give them a discount to help them weather the storm.

“Fear makes people think only about themselves. I get that, and companies should do what it takes to weather a storm. But it’s a really powerful thing when it’s clear that a company is thinking about its customers before itself.” —Nick Francis, CEO Help Scout

Support their business

Got a huge social media following? Share something from a customer: a blog, a tweet or a picture on your account. If the content fits your audience, this might be really valulable to them. Does your team need to level up on something specific and got a customer that provides this? Hire them for a training or workshop. Or simply refer others to your customer’s business. A referral goes a long way.

Closing words

The key element is surprise, but depending on the situation you might soften the surprise a little bit. For example when you want to send something to what’s also their home address, ask them first if you can send something.

Most of these ideas won’t cost an arm and a leg, but nonethless it’s important to be aware of your CaC and choose the amount you want to spend for certain ideas. Do not forget to include postage costs when sending a box of cookies, for example.

While these ideas will delight your customer, remember your product is their to solve a problem. Little delights like these won’t change much if your product does not solve a real problem of your customer.

Anything I missed? Did you recently stumble upon someting delightful? Or does your SaaS delight in a creative way? Do let me know.

Need help with delighting your customers?

Get started for free. View plans and pricing for more details.