The thoughts of Matthew Crist, a designer in Boston.

Jan 9, 2014

Building an Active Customer Base

Your existing customer base is the best source of increasing revenues for those building things on the internet. The cost of acquiring new customers is more expensive than growing existing customers into larger accounts.

This is true for consultants, freelancers and individuals who are running web apps. In order to start building existing customers in to larger accounts, it’s important to think about building them into a loyal, active customer base.

Customer Service

The best place to start increasing the loyalty of your customer base is through your customer service. Great customer service is a requirement to for a loyal customer base.

Providing great customer service not only powers customer loyalty, it can also build a small army of free promoters for your product or service.

User Experience

Companies that focus on great user experiences tend to have extremely loyal customer bases. We all know some of the great ones like 37 Signals, Dribble, Cuban Council and Simple.

Many startups are now starting with the user experience and building the rest of the company around that.

Initial Experience

An important thing to consider with a user experience of an app is with the initial experience or the zero content pages. It is the first impression that your customers notice and it had better make a good impression.

Often times on projects as consultants we forget about this and don’t invest the necessary time to design and develop these views. We often take the end view which is full of content and data, and then patch together that initial view at the end.

Instead, focus on the initial view up front and invest the time to help users become acquainted and familiar with your app.


Every interaction with a customer needs to be consistently branded, easy to respond to, friendly and professional. This means that you need to get rid of that no-reply email address. If you send an email message to a customer, then it should be easier to reply to.


Services like and Intercom make it easy to automatically communicate with your users to build engagement. They do this by tying into your user data which you can then use to automatically send your customers messages about your service or application.