"I'm Not Loyal To You" - A Letter to Our Suppliers

Matt Barnett

Recently I stopped supporting a Patreon creator. They’re relatively small time with only a few hundred backers and I absolutely love what they do, but it’s been over a year since I saw any acknowledgment of me or my contribution from them. It made me feel like a bit of a dick but the time seemed right to stop my support.

Why? Because I expect the services and people I provide cash for to show appreciation. I often question if I’m being precious or egotistical. But is the fact I’m even asking myself that question proof that we’ve all come to expect far too little delight?

Why corporates beat “startups” when it comes to appreciation

So we’re a startup, the “anti-corporate”, and therefore we must love other startups, right? Well when it comes down to relationships and appreciation, not necessarily.

Let’s look at Intercom.io and Ernst & Young. EY help with our R&D return here in Australia, and Intercom are our CRM - we’ve used both companies in one way or another for 5+ years.

We must be one of EY’s smallest clients. This is a company that works with most of the very biggest businesses in the world. And yet every year without fail we are treated no differently to a large corporate client. If anything, we are treated better.

We’re invited to their celebratory events, Juan, Cam and the whole R&D team meet us for drinks, and if they are in the neighbourhood they always pop in and say hi. The results? We treasure them. If any other firm offered us a cheaper rate, we wouldn’t take it. It’s not about the money.

Now take Intercom. It’s an amazing product with a great support team and we’ve been with them for nearly as long we’ve existed as a business. They are one of our largest SAAS expenses here at Bonjoro: we spend $5k a year on the platform (and growing). But have Intercom ever just said thanks? Have they ever shown their appreciation for our loyalty? No. I get it, they are too big, and we are too small. But when a better product comes along (and the space is heating up) there’ll be nothing to stop us moving.

The Bucket of Myeh

My life is full of relationships: many are amazing, the occasional one is shitty but the remaining thousands are just...myeh.

However very few of those are human relationships. They are mostly my relationships with products, with brands and businesses, some of which we interact with every day! These relationships certainly don’t upset me, but they do not delight me either. My feelings on them are muted.

And that is what kills companies.

Make no mistake: this is the most dangerous place to be. You won't hear from us, you won't know we’ll be thinking of leaving until it’s too late. And then like that, we’ll be gone.

If a customer loves you, you’ll hear about it - yay!

If a customer is pissed off you’ll hear about it...yay again, because you can address this.

But if a customer is myeh - you’ll never hear a thing until they move to a competitor Probably 70% or more of all your customers at least fall in this category.

But here’s your chance. At Bonjoro, we have 36 subscriptions. I’ve listed all of them, along with what they cost, and how much appreciation we get. You decide if the value is worth it:

The good

We have some products and suppliers that we just love. They constantly help us, back us, and go out of their way for us. And in return, here is our praise:

Advocately – Amazing tool, but more importantly an amazing founder - Patrick. He’s there to talk, there to help. Patrick, we salute you!

Zapier - $20 a month - Hats off to the whole zapier team. Outstanding customer service, support and advice. I know they are a lean team for their size, and they have done nothing but take time with us.

Tank Stream Labs - Our office in heart of Sydney. Amazing team, amazing culture - who actively go out of their way to help us whenever we can. They’ve been an essential part of our story for years and will always feel like the home of our company. Brad, Jen, Janet - we salute you!

Amazon Web Services - So this isn’t so much a personal thing, but AWS have given us Startup Credits...Twice! And once we accidentally span up 260 servers, and they reversed the $10k overnight charge without question. Thanks Amazon!.

EY - Enough said already. If you need a great team to help you grow in Sydney, see Jan, Cameron, Riley and Amanda. Love you all.

Huckletree – Our offices in London that we actually left for 6 months last year for a cheaper option. We came back in January because we realised what we were missing: a beautiful space full of engaging people and priceless opportunities (and nice beer on Thursdays).

Interactive Accounting - Of course our accountants are great, right? Try having us turning up on your door whenever we get stuck, and still inviting us in. That’s the kind of thing that builds gratitude.

Buffer - $13 a month - This one is different. We know a few of the team through Bonjoro, but that’s not why they are here. Buffer are one of the few companies I’ve seen inject delight & personality into every single touchpoint!

Just look at this receipt for a payment to them! It still puts a smile on my face every time I read it.

Shayne Wilson - Our video editor, a champion of the highest order. Shayne is reliable and enthusiastic even when we come to him with tough briefs. He also sends us beers every now and again even though he’s doing the work for us!

Marlowe’s Way Coffee - $350 a month – Yeah, we need it. But we go there 50% for the coffee, 50% for the love.

Allinonecompany onesies - $200 a person - We order every team member a new bearsuit from these lovely ladies, knitting away in a field in Englandshire. They are delightful and you won’t believe how comfy their onesies are.

The myeh

Unsurprisingly most of our SaaS subscriptions fall into this bucket. I get it, SCALE SCALE SCALE. But you’re still at risk.

Intercom.io - $450 AUD a month. $15k all time - We’ve used Intercom.io for over 4 years now - we still have that original $80 discount from way back when. We love the product, and their support is always solid. We’ve referred many times, because the product is excellent. But we’ve never received a personal thank you just for being there. Our loyalty is to a product, not the brand, and if/ when my team make a reasonable case to switch I wouldn’t stop them.

Zencoder - $800 a month - Who-coder? We’ve just moved all our encoding work to AWS, I don’t think they even noticed.

Mailchimp - $80 a month. $4k all time - I get it, and I don’t feel hurt at all - no bad feelings guys. But when a better mail product suits us, we’ll shift at the drop of a hat.

A lot of companies fall into the Mailchimp category. You can judge them on product and price alone:

Dropbox - $85 a month (6 accounts) 
Segment.io - $128 a month
Google - $110 a month 
Clearbit - $200 a month 
Typeform - $45 a month 
Adobe - $80 a month - These guys deserve this for the 10 years of free Adobe I had all through Uni and my youth. Fair play. 
Envoyer - $12.50 a month 
Pipedrive - $28 a month. We just left this month. 
Freshsales - $160 a month 
Postmark - $20 a month
Nexmo - $100 a month
Forge Laravel - $13 a month
Qwilr - $40 a month
Basecamp - $40 a month
CircleCi.com - $66 a month
Github - $32 a month
Zoom - $20 a month
Bankfeeds.io - $11.30 a month
Xero - $70 a month
Crazydomains - $35 a month 

The ugly

So I wasn’t going to put this in, but unfortunately some companies just downright suck at customer service so f@ck it.

Vodafone - $150 a month. Your customer service hurts my face :( 
Rev.com - $1000 a month average.

This post is not about pointing fingers, I hope it doesn't come across that way. Its just meant as a signal, that maybe a few seconds of time can make a bigger impact than your realise, and there is plenty of time to change.

Bonus Round - Bonjoro Subscribers That We Love

Customer delight can work both ways. We are a supplier for a lot of companies, a subscription cost like the ones I outlined above. They never fail to delight us when we talk to them, even though they're already parting with their hard-earned cash for our service. We'd recommend them to anyone based on their personalities alone.

Design Pickle






Business Blueprint

Do you think it's right to expect companies to delight their customers? Have any of your suppliers done anything to make you feel that rush of appreciation recently? Let us know on our Twitter, @bonjoroapp

Growth tips
About the author
Matt Barnett
Papa Bear of Bonjoro
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