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The power of positive reinforcement: 13 customer wins worth celebrating
Celebrating positive customer behavior is one of the most effective methods for increasing product adoption and deepening customer relationships.
Yet many customer success managers overlook this simple practice. This is in part because the urgency to save at-risk customers can be all-consuming. In my experience, I often see CS teams fixate on an account’s challenges and forget to recognize the wins.
When working with customers, we’d do well to remember that appreciation can go a long way. By recognizing customers, you build their confidence in the product and their understanding of its value. Without this positive reinforcement, they’re more inclined to point out what’s lacking instead of focusing on the strides they’ve made.
Given that praise is free to generate and abundant in potential, it’s an invaluable form of emotional currency that every CSM can tap into.
The intrinsic factor: Why external incentives aren’t enough
Most of us have been in situations where we received a tangible reward—a bonus, perhaps, or an exclusive discount. While these incentives have their place, there’s an even deeper, more lasting reward you can leverage: intrinsic motivation.
Unlike monetary or tangible gifts, intrinsic rewards appeal to a customer’s inner motivations and values, such as a sense of achievement, personal growth, or the joy of being part of a community. By connecting to these deeper motives, you can encourage genuine loyalty that’s resilient to market winds and competitor offerings.
Intrinsic rewards also create a self-sustaining cycle of positive behavior. When you recognize customers for their contributions, they inherently feel more valued. This, in turn, motivates further engagement, referrals, and advocacy.
13 positive customer behaviors worth celebrating
Every positive action a customer takes is a step toward a thriving relationship. Here are moments that deserve some recognition.
- First product login: Trying something new can be intimidating. Reassure customers and get them to embrace this pivotal moment by offering encouragement and kudos.
- First high-value feature use: Bring this up the next time you meet with a customer. Congratulate them and ask how it went. Follow up by offering best practice tips.
- Early adopters of new features: Reward customers for taking a risk and trying new features. Send a message saying, “You rock! You’re one of the first users to dive into this new feature. What do you think so far?” This can also help you gather product feedback.
- Customer anniversaries: Beyond contracts and renewals, it’s an exciting moment when you realize you’ve shared a productive year together—celebrate it.
- Product usage milestones: Give customers a shoutout when they reach a specific number of minutes of activity in your product. You can also reward them for consistent product usage. For example, commend customers for heavily using a certain feature over the last 30 days.
- Industry and product benchmark achievements: Customers want to know what other customers who share the same attributes are doing and how they stack up against them. Praise customers whenever they reach or exceed a benchmark set by the broader industry or relevant customer cohorts within your company.
- Training course completion: Celebrate customers who show initiative by enrolling in a course, webinar, or workshop. It shows they’re invested in getting maximum value from your product.
- Goal achievement: When a customer achieves specific goals or milestones using your platform, it’s a shared success story.
- Feature use in a new product edition: Celebrate customers for exploring their new suite of tools after upgrading to a new feature edition.
- Community engagement: Applaud customers who actively participate in community discussions and events. Their engagement not only elevates their own knowledge but also strengthens the entire community.
- Support resource usage: Recognize customers for proactively seeking out support resources, such as a knowledge base or academy, as it shows an inclination to solve problems and increase utility.
- Collaborative efforts: Celebrate when customers collaborate with your team on case studies, joint webinars, or co-authored content. It’s a testament to a solid, trust-filled relationship.
- Active participation in feedback loops: Acknowledge those who participate in feedback sessions, surveys, or discussions. Their commitment paves the way for product enhancement.
How to track and recognize positive customer behavior
Here are a few ways you can stay on top of positive customer activity and reward it.
- Alerts: Set up notifications—using a customer success platform or product analytics tool—for when a user takes a positive action within the product.
- Adoption journeys: By creating a journey based on positive milestones, you can guide customers and celebrate every step they take towards those outcomes.
- Custom tables: One way to track when a customer completes a goal is by using ChurnZero’s custom tables. Every time you meet with a customer, review their goals. When they tell you they’ve reached one, mark it complete in ChurnZero. If you can’t meet with customers, you can also collect this data via survey. Then, create a playbook in ChurnZero so that every time you mark a goal complete, it triggers a message to the customer congratulating them.
- Playbooks: Deliver praise in real-time using automated playbooks that trigger in-app messages and emails. Remember to spread the love. Don’t just notify one main contact. Everyone involved, including end users, should receive your positive feedback.
- Success Centers: Get customers involved in their own success and track their progress in real-time using ChurnZero’s Success Centers, a centralized, interactive hub for communicating and collaborating with customers.
Celebrate small successes
It’s easy to feel underwhelmed with progress when you’re staring at those lofty end goals, getting caught up in the numbers, and missing the smaller successes unfolding in the periphery. In those moments, it’s important to remember that every win, no matter how small, lays the foundation for those big, ambitious milestones.
The next time you prepare for a customer meeting, ask yourself: what moments of progress could use a little confetti?
If you liked this article, you also might enjoy: Four steps to build a digital customer success strategy from scratch. As a CSM, you want to give every customer a personal shoutout. But sometimes that’s not possible when managing a large book of business. Learn how to reach more customers by taking a digital approach to customer engagements in this blog.