If you want customers who are loyal brand ambassadors you need them to not only feel satisfied with your products or services, but trust your company as one that really has their best interests in mind. In essence, you want them to believe that you genuinely care. That's according to Joel Holland, founder and CEO of stock video company VideoBlocks, a subscription platform that last month announced it would allow anyone to upload video and keep 100 percent of the profit when it sells. It's a strategy he says reflects the way he identifies with his customers as a former indie video producer himself. Here's his advice on how to show customers you really care, and the tech tools that can help you do it.

1. Listen to them.

It sounds simple, but humans have a basic desire to be heard and understood, even by the companies who serve them. Holland says two strategies are particularly helpful when it comes to garnering customer input. First, he recommends using a tool such as Delighted.com, which generates a net promoter score by emailing customers a quick survey asking them how likely they are to recommend your products or services to other people. He also uses SurveyMonkey to ask them what VideoBlocks should build next, what features would make their experience better, or where the company is lagging.

2. Surprise them.

Everyone-customers included-love receiving unexpected gifts. There's also a psychology of reciprocity involved because when people receive a gift they want to return the favor, even if it's in the form of loyalty to your brand. "We will surprise our customers a couple weeks into their subscription and say, 'Hey, here's a bundle of digital assets from our partner sites that we're giving you totally for free,'" he says. "And the response is wild. They're like, 'No way-really? Thanks! You're the best.'"

3. Over-deliver.

What it's not: Having a great product at a great price that lives up to the expectation that you set when you sold your customer. Over-delivering is taking it to the next step, similar to what Zappos did by upgrading customers to next-day shipping for free.

4. Reward them.

Customers who tell other potential customers about your product can be your best source of organic leads so it makes sense to positively reinforce the behavior. VideoBlocks uses a platform called ReferralCandy to allow customers to send a referral code to people in their network. When the code is redeemed the customer gets credit which translates into some kind of reward, whether it's cash or something else they want.

5. Use technology to thank them.

Relatively inexpensive cloud platforms allow you to easily and automatically thank customers. VideoBlocks uses MailChimp and Customer.io to send customers a note of thanks after they sign up or on their signup anniversary. "Every company should use a relatively inexpensive e-mail tool to send a triggered e-mail that [says] 'Hey, we just want to thank you again for being a customer,'" he says. "It goes long way."

Published on: May 21, 2015