How Fitbit is *rocking* Customer Success

This is the last in our series about Fitbit and Customer Success. In the last three videos, we talked about how Fitbit can teach us (almost) everything we need to know about Customer Success and made analogies between personal fitness trackers and Customer Success.

This time, we’re going to look at how Fitbit is actually doing Customer Success. Because in addition to providing fertile ground for making analogies, as a business, Fitbit is actually doing a phenomenal job at Customer Success. So in this last video, we’re going to look at Fitbit as a case study in Customer Success.

To frame the mechanics of their business, here’s how it works:

  • They sell a personal fitness tracker, which is a physical device that connects to an app on your phone or website on your PC
  • They’ve got about 10 different models priced from $49 to $250, in addition to a variety of accessories, like watch bands
  • They’ve also got a premium subscription service for $50/yr

In sum, they’re selling a hardware device with a number of optional accessories and a subscription service all supported by a mobile app and website.

As a B2C company, they’re selling their product to millions of people and at a relatively low price point – so we know off the bat that their Customer Success strategy is going to be automated, scalable, and low cost. Whether you’ve got millions of customers or hundreds, the objectives of Customer Success are going to be the same:

  • More logins (daily activity)
  • More revenue

Of course, we know that customers who login more and spend more are those that are getting more value from your product. That’s a given. So, what is Fitbit doing to achieve these two Customer Success objectives. Let’s see:

First, let’s look at how they’re driving logins (daily activity):

  • They’re sending lifecycle emails, related to the product puchased. Some examples:
    – “Today is the day! Your order has been shipped.” – Getting me excited about my purchase
    – “Say hello to your Blaze” – Welcoming me to the product
    – “Blaze 101” – a weekly email teaching me how to use the product
    These are there most impactful tactics – driving directly to value and ongoing usage.
  • These are interspersed with more general emails that apply to all customers:
    – “Check out the 2 newest features from Fitbit”
    – “Find your perfect step goal”
    – “Be good to your heart with these 12 heart-healthy foods”
    These are a little less focused, but still driving to more frequent usage and value.
  • And then there are automated emails related directly to usage of the product, such as this one:
    – “Your battery is low: here’s what you can do.” – Here, they’re preventing a negative – battery death, which can be a big problem with battery powered hardware devices – as we know from my other video on the Arlo security cam.
  • Finally, outside of communications to the customer, they’re making ongoing improvements to the product itself: – They’ve gone from a very simple pedometer in 2011 to a product that gives you all kinds of reasons to check in every day…and even hourly
    – With these new features, come many opportunities for Fitbit to bring cusotmers back to the device or app, such as:
    – Weekly progress report emails
    – Badge notifications
    – And messages or challenges from friends
    Product improvements are obviously more of a long term activity and involve many aspects of the business. That said, you can see that their teams are working hard to drive daily usage, which is perhaps the prime factor in cultivating successful customers (for most businesses). As a Customer Success leader, you’ll want to be involved in helping the product team build features that drive daily activity and value.

Now let’s look at driving revenue:

  • They’re doing it through cross-sell and up-sell emails:
    – “The new Fitbit Blaze is finally here” – This one worked on me – I bought the Blaze
    – “Fitbit Alta is now available”
    – “Fitbit Blaze and Alta now available” – As you can see here, they’ve made a bit of a mistake, since I’d already purchased the Blaze… which is a problem with their drip email campaign rules not totally being in sync

And finally, let’s look at their customer service, which straddles both primary objectives. To ensure that customers are using the product every day and are in a position to purchase more of it, customer service has got to ensure that customers are not having any problems that would prevent them from doing so. So, let’s look at Fitbit’s customer service as it relates to an issue I had with my Fitbit Zip.

  • Back in 2013, I purchased a Fitbit Zip – and earlier this year, I lost the piece that keeps the battery in, so I contacted customer support to see if I could get a new one
  • The response I received was that my Fitbit was out of warranty, so they couldn’t replace the piece, but they could give me a 25% discount on a future purchase
  • I took the 25% and bought the much more expense and feature-rich Fitbit Blaze

This is a great example for how they took a customer problem – a potentially fatal problem in terms of Customer Success, in that the product was no longer working at all – and turned it around into a revenue opportunity. To boot, since their product had improved so much since the last time I purchased a Fitbit, it also resulted in dramatically boosting daily activity.

All around, Fitbit is doing an excellent job at driving daily activity and revenue, while fighting fires with their customer service. I give them an “A” for B2C Customer Success at scale. And that concludes our series on How Fitbit teaches you (almost) everything you need to know about Customer Success. Hope you enjoyed and we’ll see you next time.

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Ben started his career as Lead Engineer at a social software company, acquired by Student Advantage, and co-founded a company that built award-winning web sites for Nokia, The North Face, Sony Pictures, and Calvin Klein. In 2002, Ben became CTO of DFILM, a web and mobile company with clients such as Sam Adams, Hyundai, Old Navy, IBM, The Sierra Club, and Scion. Ben graduated from Stanford University with Honors, Distinction, and Phi Beta Kappa.

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