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Interviews 2013 - 2016

How Marketers Stay Productive: Chris Stainthorpe Of CustomerSure

April 9, 2015

This week we feature Chris Stainthorpe , Founder of CustomerSure. CustomerSure is simple web-based software to help you collect, share and act on customer feedback. It’s been designed for businesses who understand that good customer service is great for business; and the software provides a range of practical features that help to improve satisfaction, and drive up retention, repeat business and recommendations.

In this interview, you can read more about his work at CustomerSure, favorite marketing tools, productivity tips as well as his advice for budding marketers.

Your location: North Yorks Moors/Newcastle Upon Tyne.


Your favorite gadget: Aeropress.

You start your day with: Coffee.

Your favorite time-saving trick: Don’t do work you don’t need to.

Your top 3 blogs you read daily: Given up on blogs since the death of Google Reader!

“When people talk to us, we qualify the leads, and follow up as appropriate.”

Describe an average day at CustomerSure?

Whether I’m working remotely or in the office, the day is pretty much the same: Check emails to see what customer requests have landed overnight (all of our founders still deal directly with our customers), then dive into whatever I’m currently working on. There is no ‘average’ day — some days I might be consulting with new customers, helping them set up a customer feedback programme that actually adds to their bottom line, other days I might be developing new features for our core product.

As a Founder, what is your favorite productivity hack?

This might sound like a really boring ‘hack’, but I find the best way to be super-productive is to have REALLY clear objectives — what are you trying to achieve, and who are you trying to achieve it for? What criteria will you use to assess if you’ve succeeded?

Having a stupidly-clear understanding of all of those things really helps me, because it allows me to spend less time on decision-making (and we all make hundreds of decisions, big and small, every day). The ‘right’ or best answer is usually clear if I know where I’m headed, and I can quit procrastinating and get back to work.

As a person who is well-versed with online marketing/ inbound, I’m sure you rely on a few marketing tools to automate your efforts. What are the top 3 tools you use?

* We use Mention to keep track on all of our social activity. Although we pipe Twitter into our Slack, Mention’s still a great way of getting a broad picture of what people are saying about us, and anything the Slack integration might have missed.

* I love Campaign Monitor. They make it really easy to slice our ‘big’ funnel of interested users into smaller, more targeted segments, get the right content to those users, and evaluate how the content’s doing.

* Our Klipfolio dashboard is really important to us — it contains all the key metrics that we’re focusing on, pulled directly from our own database and our CRM. It’s easy to see if things are working or not.

Your company has a growing community of users. How do you use this treasure trove of customer insight to power your marketing efforts?

We talk to our users for two reasons (or three, if you count sending them cakes and chocolate)

* Retention is perhaps the most important metric for any SAAS business. So, we check regularly (but non-intrusively) for customer satisfaction. We use our own app, CustomerSure to do both responsive checks when we close a support ticket, and periodic (quarterly) NPS checks on every user. Every bit of feedback is read, shared and actioned.

Retention, and word-of-mouth referral is by far our best marketing.

* To keep our marketing messaging sharp (and our product grounded in reality), we need to talk to our customers to understand the problems they face. There’s no better way to do this than a good old fashioned face-to-face, or a phone conversation.

Because of our regular satisfaction checks, we know who our superfans are, and because they like what we do, they’re generally happy to spend 15 minutes chatting about their business.

What is your strategy for getting people to your site and then converting them to a customer?

This probably isn’t revolutionary or insightful — we focus on relevant keywords, craft useful pages which target those keywords, and encourage prospective customers to get in touch with us if they like what they see.

When people talk to us, we qualify the leads, and follow up as appropriate.

Online marketing isn’t our most important channel, and we don‘t spend as much time on it as we could. Because we’re a relatively high-value consultative sell, many more of our leads come from face-to face interactions and word-of-mouth referrals.

Is there any advice you’d like to give to budding marketers to help them work smart and stay productive?

Don’t forget your fundamentals! If you don’t know who your customers are, what problem you solve for them, and how to clearly pitch the benefits of that solution, then turn off all of your software, stop doing whatever you’re doing, and get on the phone — or better yet a coffee shop.

A big thanks to Chris for taking the time out to answer these questions! If you haven’t already, we highly recommend that you check out CustomerSure.

The ‘How Marketers Stay Productive’ series asks marketers their tips & strategies for staying productive. Every week we’ll feature a new guest and the tricks that keep them working smart. Know someone you’d love to see featured? Email Us.


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