How we think about the value of customer relationships

Profile photo of author Andrew Bialecki
Platform news
May 15, 2024
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I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year talking to companies around the world about how to grow their business.

At Klaviyo, we’re big believers in the value of knowing who your customers are, having a direct line of communication with them, and using what you know to wow them. After all these conversations, it’s pretty clear this is what businesses want, too. 

To give an example, I talked with the head of a major US sports league last year and he told me, “Now that tickets are digital, we know the tens of millions of fans who attend games every year. But we also think of the hundreds of millions of fans watching us from their living rooms as customers. We want to know them and build great relationships with them, too.” 

I’ve heard the same sentiment about customers from businesses of all sizes – entrepreneurs just starting out to iconic brands. Everyone agrees – the fundamental unit of a business is the customer. Without them, there is no business. The issue we’ve found was that a lot of businesses didn’t know who their customers were. From their perspective, “anonymous” showed up, made purchases and disappeared back into the ether. In that case, there are only transactions and nameless, faceless transactional experiences. If you don’t know who your customers are, every sale involves educating someone about what you do and why you’re great – even if they already know. And you’re constantly wondering who will show up next, even if in reality it’s the same customers coming back over and over again. If you can know who your customers are and can optimize for each of them, that’s an easier path.

This is why the fundamental unit in Klaviyo is a customer (or profile). Our products exist to allow you to understand your customers and maximize the relationships with them. Customers win because they’re getting value they need, businesses win because customers keep coming back. And this carries over into why our first product, our combined marketing platform and customer database, uses profiles as the primary pricing unit.

This has a few key benefits. First, we want Klaviyo to be the place where you can store key data about your customers – we think of it as the brain of your business. Second, we firmly believe you should have the ability to know every interaction you have ever had with your customers, no matter if it was a purchase in your store, visit to your website or replying to a text, you should be able to easily query it. Third, great relationships might be built over a few messages or many, and we don’t want you to worry about that either. Good relationships are about more than transactions. If a message is educational, or funny, and it helps you build the relationship, we think you should send it.

We know a lot of you are making the shift to build relationships with your customers instead of thinking about only transactions. We’re going to help all businesses make this shift, and we’re committed to making buying and using Klaviyo as simple and flexible as possible. We’re listening, taking feedback and testing how we can simplify using and paying for our products. Our customers are the reason we exist and we like to stay very close to them, so keep the feedback coming.

Andrew Bialecki
Andrew Bialecki
Andrew Bialecki is a co-founder of Klaviyo and has served as our Chief Executive Officer and as a member of our board of directors since September 2012. Prior to founding Klaviyo, Bialecki served as Chief Technology Officer of RockTech, a sales and marketing software company, from April 2011 to June 2012, Senior Engineer at Performable, a marketing software company, from July 2010 to March 2011, and Lead Engineer at Applied Predictive Technologies, a business analytics software company, from September 2007 to June 2010. Bialecki holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics from Harvard University.