Loyalty and Chipotle: The Lifeblood of TaxJar

by Ashley Alongi December 9, 2016

So you get it by now. The TaxJar team is spaced out all over the country in our respective cities, with our local hangouts, favorite watering holes, and go-to lunch spots. But one thing we’ve noticed over the years is that if there’s one thing that has brought us together both in-person and over video chat, it’s food. Not just any food – 🌮.
Whether we’re at JarFest, our twice-annual company retreat where we have fun and focus on our strategy (which we all know is just an excuse to eat our way through new cities) or at home with family, there’s one particular taco provider that has become of a gold standard for TaxJar employees: Chipotle.
Customer Loyalty Lessons from TaxJar and Chipotle
And I’d like to tell you a bit why I think our love for Chipotle is more important than you may think.

A Delicious Role Model

Sure, call me crazy, but our Chipotle adoration goes beyond just the amazingly marinated chicken, the heaping piles of guac lovingly encased in a mouth-watering over-stuffed burrito… And don’t get me started on those lime salty goodness they call “chips” (read: “gold”). At a higher level, Chipotle stands for where we want to be as a company and the kinds of customers we want to cultivate.
Now wait a minute, I’m not saying that we aim for TaxJar to be the kind of company that is known for some unfortunate E. coli related incidents.  What we do want to create, however is product so good that we’ve turned a few hungry folks into “forever” fans. A sense of limitless product loyalty.
The non-Chipotle super fans out there probably don’t “get it.” But to us here at TaxJar, our loyalty means we’re still the few people you see sitting in the restaurants who have faith that we’ll be just fine after we walk out the door. We’re the ones thrilled that the lines are shorter than they used to be and that we don’t have to wait to find a table.  We are steadfast in our devotion to the burrito (or bowl), and we’re the ones that will stick by Chipotle, even in rough times like right now. And that’s what we’re trying to build here at TaxJar. Developing loyal customers that will stick with us through thick and thin.

Developing our Own “Loyalty Score”

As head of our marketing team here at TaxJar, I have the important task of working to tell TaxJar’s story to our customers and making sure that our products and customer experience are building the foundation for a product and brand that a customer will not just use, but LOVE.
If you’re a customer, you may have noticed that we’ve been sending out 2-question surveys asking “How likely are you to recommend TaxJar as a friend?” with a rating scale of 0-10 (Often referred to as an NPS survey.)
The reason we’ve been doing this is to make sure we have two-way communication with all of our customers, and it also allows us to determine a “score” to track our own progress. We’ll call it our “loyalty score.”
For reference: If we were rating Chipotle on this scale, you know we’d give them a “10.” And we’d probably try to somehow get our engineers to hack their survey to give them an “11.”
We know the folks who rate us more highly on the survey are our most loyal customers. They are happy with the amount of time TaxJar saves them from managing sales tax, and they’ll help promote us to friends and family when the conversation comes up. When we’ve launched new features and platforms, these have been the folks who have given their precious time and feedback to help us make sure we’re on the right track. These are the customers that motivate us every day and let us know we’re well on our way to building our own loyal TaxJar fanbase.
On the other hand, we also get scores from folks that don’t love us. We know there’s folks out there that don’t like Chipotle too, and we get it. You either don’t like burritos, or perhaps you’ve had a bad experience. Either way, we want to know. We learn the most as a team when we hear directly from our customers on what we could be doing better.
Most of these folks aren’t going to take the time to write into us out of the blue, so NPS gives them an easy and frictionless platform to voice their opinions and we can address any concerns they have and pass the feedback to our product teams.  Their feedback is our “gold” because it lets us know if there is something we can do to make it better.
But the best part of all is when we get a “6” from a customer that isn’t happy with us and later we re-survey and receive a “10” from that same user. Those are the most satisfying NPS interactions we have and it is the best way to track that we’re on the right path.  At Chipotle, this would be equivalent to patiently waiting in line only to find out when you get to the counter that they’re out of guac. …But then the employee gives you your burrito for free and you’re happy again.
If we can make it right, or build a new feature a customer needs, thats our goal. And even when we can’t make it right, being honest and transparent with our customers goes a long way. We can’t serve every type of burrito in the world (ie: refried beans, please!), but having the conversation helps build respect and good relationships from the start.  We have a goal of replying to every single person who responds so they know we’re real people and that we are listening on the other end. I’m proud to say we’re at 100% of our goal.
To wrap it up (no pun intended), we’re so thankful for our thousands of loyal customers, those that have tried us and left, and future loyal customers that will help make TaxJar what it is today. We’re growing quickly, but we wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of our loyal customers and their referrals, success stories and reviews.  
While you may have thought this article was going to be a tribute to the tacos, bowls, quesadillas, salsa, and guac, but really, the truth is the real lifeblood of TaxJar is cultivating customer loyalty. It just so happens that our team is largely nutritionally fueled by the same restaurant no matter if we live in work in Maine or in South California. 
Stay tuned for more posts on our journey. In the meantime, we raise a burrito to you!

Chipotle TaxJar

10/10 would recommend!

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