Giving Freshbooks a little love back

I went to SocialMediaBarcamp last week and had a few insights, but first and foremost, I wanted to comment on the philosophies of Canadian company Freshbooks, and specifically those of their Head of Magic (uh, coolest title ever?), Saul Colt.

Saul loves his customers.  Saul loves people who aren’t his customers. A few examples:

  • If he’s in a new city, he throws little get togethers for all his customers in that city.
  • Even though you can buy Freshbooks online (in fact, that’s the only place you CAN get it), Saul has gone out of his way to actually meet hundreds of his customers.
  • He bought someone flowers after she got stood up by a date… and if you’re thinking what does that have to do with anything, he bought them on behalf of Freshbooks, and the woman wasn’t even a customer. **Update: as per Saul’s comment below, she is a customer, but Saul sent her flowers simply because he thinks she rocks.**
  • He responds to every single Twitter out there (he’s pretty sure at least) that mentions Freshbooks, both good and bad.
  • He will actually tell you that he “makes love to his customers…. well, not in the physical sense… but still.”

Did I mention that Freshbooks is a company that offers invoicing and billing services to freelance professionals?  What do they need ot love their customers for so much?

Saul highlights one of my major philosophies not only in the business setting, but in life. Paying attention to the people around you - how they view the world, what they care about - is something I strive for every day in any setting I’m in.  I feel I grow from it, and my relationships have (I think) always been better because of it.

The same is true in business.   You always make better business when you care about the people you’re serving, even if you don’t need to have any further contact with them past a credit card interaction.  We’ve all been talking about this for some time now, so I don’t think I’m saying anything too new.  But Saul and Freshbooks have it right in action.  And even if we all know this philosophy is the right one, Freshbooks is miles ahead of a lot of companies out there.

So I say, keep making sweet love to your customers Freshbooks, because they sure seem to be enjoying it.  And the rest of us should start picking up some moves.

UPDATE: Check out Andy Sernovitz’s case study on Freshbooks and word-of-mouth (WOM).

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  • As someone who was attention starved as a child I need to say that this post make me beem with pride. Thank you so much for writing it and enjoying my little talk at SocialMedia Camp!

    Just to clear up one small thing...the woman I sent flowers to is a customer but that is not the reason I sent them...I sent them cause she is awesome!

    Saul Colt
    Head of Magic
  • Hi Kate -
    I think Freshbooks and Saul are taking the right approach. As a startup and web2.0 company, building their community one or two people at a time is not only important but very impactful to their bottom line. They are committed to their customers - to use their "making love" analogy, it's not just a one night stand. I had a chance to talk with Saul for a bit afterwards and think they are a model example of customer engagement that other companies, big and small, should look to for guidance on how to do it right.
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