Company: FreshBooks
Contact: Saul Colt, 'Head of Magic' at FreshBooks
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Industry: Small business services
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 28

Quick Read

What's the quickest way to a small-business owner's heart? Make his or her life easier.

Toronto-based FreshBooks was founded on that idea—specifically, taking the pain out of small-business expense tracking, billing, and invoicing. That service, however, is not all that has made the company what it is today.

While businesses around the globe have been faltering, five-year-old FreshBooks has grown from close to 300,000 users to over 750,000 in the past year, and much of that can be strictly attributed to word-of-mouth.

How'd they do it? Through a level of service that might best be described as refreshing.

"We treat our customers better than they've ever been treated, or expected to be treated, and we live up to everything we say we're going to do. We're overly attentive to listening to our customers, and we do fun and interesting things. That surprises people, and they talk about it," explained Saul Colt, who leads the company's word-of-mouth marketing efforts under the official title of Head of Magic. "It's so simple and ridiculously obvious, but for some reason more companies don't do it."

Read on for specific examples of how this online service vendor is keeping customers and winning over new ones, and getting a healthy dose of personal endorsements in the process.

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Kimberly Smith is a staff writer for MarketingProfs. Reach her via