When you’re traveling in a new place, you want an awesome guide to make sure you have a great time. That’s what TripScout promises its customers. The city-tour app curates a customizable trip full of interesting sites, engaging commentary, and useful directions. As a start-up, they’re constantly working to improve and expand their product. And in the meantime, they know that the one thing they can’t skimp on is service. For co-founder Andy Acs, that means ensuring their communications are always personalized and relevant—and doing so at scale.
The behavioral functionality of Customer.io means they can provide targeted, timely service, even on a start-up shoestring. As Andy says, “We’re always improving, so while our content and product aren’t always perfect, our service can be. So we use Customer.io to personally reach out to our users while they’re on a trip. They get this series of personalized emails from me; they have my actual phone number. And people get a feeling of real connection and appreciation from that.”
Acs gives up his personal phone number when Customer.io identifies that a customer is traveling. Even during our interview he offered a call to anyone who wanted to discuss his strategy.
Keeping it real while scaling up
“We’ve gotten a good following by having great service that’s really personal,” says Andy. And that sense of authenticity is key in creating satisfied customers. “We get high engagement with those emails,” he notes, “and we need to keep that going as we keep getting bigger.” That’s where Customer.io comes in. The ability to trigger emails based on a customer’s actions means TripScout can reach out with a targeted message at the exact right time for every user, and the automation makes it easy at any scale.
TripScout has seen first-hand how the right kind of email can make a difference. As Andy notes, “We’ve sent 2.8 million emails, and I saw the power of those emails to drive business. But the reason those messages succeeded was because the content was high value.” Users extend trust when they give you their email address, and TripScout respects that trust by sending emails that people actually want to read. They use Customer.io to segment their messages and trigger them by customer behavior so that they know the emails they’re sending are valuable to the recipients.
Behavioral segments allow TripScout to send the most relevant messages to customers
Establishing trust creates high engagement
For TripScout, a key aspect of respecting that trust relationship is sending emails that offer something immediately valuable to users at every stage of the customer lifecycle, without it being about a sales push. “If someone downloads the app but doesn’t buy a city guide, we’ll send them a free promo code,” says Andy. “As soon as someone makes a purchase, we say thanks with a personal message.”
Customers are rewarded with a free city guide just for downloading the app.
TripScout uses Customer.io to send messages that meet customers where they are—literally. When someone buys a city guide and starts using it, TripScout knows they’d appreciate additional city info. “When we see signs that someone is on a trip,” Andy explains, “we’ll send an email with personalized travel tips for that city. Those emails get very high engagement because they’re about what that person is doing right then, and they’re not trying to sell anything.” The metrics show the success of the approach: when they recently sent a personal-tips email for people traveling to Washington, DC, the open rate was 58%.
Building relationships with a changing customer base
Because they can use Customer.io to scale up messaging while staying very targeted and personal, TripScout is well-poised to meet a changing customer base. “For a long time, most of our traffic was through organic search. People came to us with strong intent to buy,” Andy says. “But now that we’ve gotten some press, we’re getting more people just casually checking us out. And we want to build a relationship with them.”
That’s where segment triggered campaigns through Customer.io come in. “We’re using email to help push that lever toward conversion with a multi-touch campaign,” Andy notes. Using Customer.io’s powerful segmentation and behavioral trigger functionalities, TripScout guides this new user base from “just curious” to serious buying intent. “We’re getting more sophisticated with our messaging,” says Andy, “and sending those communications is pretty easy with Customer.io.”
Extending the customer lifecycle with better email
Now that TripScout’s been around for a few years, they’re starting to put a serious eye toward retention. “Early on, we thought of our app as limited use. Someone might buy a city guide, use it one weekend, have the best time ever, and then be done with their trip,” says Andy. “But now we’re looking at how to re-activate people down the line when they might be ready to take another vacation.”
Using data from Customer,io, TripScout is building their re-activation strategy. “We occasionally send a newsletter with a postcard and some updates about TripScout, letting people know about all the new cities we’ve added,” Andy says. “The engagement on those is really great, so we know people are interested in getting more from the app.”
The power of behavioral messaging for ongoing growth
As TripScout keeps growing, they’re starting to look at more ways to reach customers with the right message at the right time, and to dive deeper into analytics to refine their approach. “We first found Customer.io because we were using Segment, and asked them for a recommendation,” says Andy, “and the integration was super easy.”
As they expand their messaging strategy, they’re looking forward to leveraging Customer.io’s multi-channel capabilities and doing even more with the tool. Andy says, “We’re happy with Customer.io. It’s simple. It works. It suits us well. We know it can scale up. We know it can be even more powerful for us.”
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