Today modern technology has made do-it-yourself the business and social norm. Looking to buy something? You’ll likely navigate to Amazon, type in a few keywords to search for the item you want, read the description, scan reviews, make your decision, and check out. Want to learn to cook something special for your next gathering? You’ll probably head straight to YouTube to watch dozens of people demonstrate a recipe step-by-step. Certainly, it’s empowering to be able to get what you want when you want it without anyone’s help. However, having a trusted advisor that anticipates a customer’s needs and proactively provides advice and support before it’s necessary improves the customer experience. Companies that view customer support as a competitive advantage rather than a costly line item will reap the benefit.
Creating a thriving business in today’s competitive landscape requires a culture shift toward a “customer-centric” strategy. The most successful companies engage with consumers in a personal manner, providing customized assistance from the beginning to develop a strong relationship throughout the entire customer journey. Think of your customers not as sources of revenue but as patrons and partners. At its core, a customer-centric approach equates success with happy patrons, realizing that the former cannot be achieved without the latter. When your team shifts its mindset, you’ll, in turn, have more loyal customers and good reciprocal relationships.
For a customer-centric strategy to be successful, the sales department and customer success team must work together and align their goals to focus on growth and net customer renewals. Traditionally, account executives are incentivized by customer growth, chasing sales goals by any means necessary even if the customer may not be a strong fit for the product. On the other hand, customer success managers promote customer happiness to keep account churn metrics low often at the risk of not pushing upsells. When sales and customer success teams make retention the key performance indicator, they’re motivated to work together to identify customer pain points and opportunities to improve the product and service for the benefit of the client and the business.
Building a Reciprocal Relationship With Customers
As companies raise the bar for customer service, customers’ expectations increase. Businesses are no longer judged on price alone, but also on the services and amenities they provide. For instance, customers know when they order from e-commerce giant Amazon, they’ll receive a seamless shopping experience and they trust that Amazon will manage any complications that arise in fulfillment. Customers are compensated for inconveniences and Amazon cultivates a “never have to worry” experience. Similarly, Apple engages customers by providing educational resources and convenient and efficient customer support.
When companies provide customers with a great service, they benefit by having evangelical brand ambassadors that drive profits. Maintaining repeat, loyal customers bolster reputation and acts as organic marketing in the current “referral ecosystem.” Loyal advocates can speak to the value of your product or service and help drive new revenue. Steadfast patrons are also more likely to risk purchasing new products from a business they trust and offer key insight into areas of expansion or improvement. Being a willing custodian of your current customers is not only a smart move for marketing but also for future growth.
Customer service should no longer be viewed as traditional tech support in a silo. Instead, it should be ingrained into the ethos of the sales, marketing, engineering and design teams. In fact, it should be the reigning culture of any organization. To embed this value into your company, talk to your customers to better understand their pain points and determine whether you are meeting their needs. Ask for their feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. Perform periodic reviews regarding product maintenance and performance. Lastly, integrate a customer-first approach into all departments so it becomes a core function of each employee’s tasks, goals, and achievements. In fact, at AnyPerk, every new hire is required to work at least a day in customer support no matter what team they are on including the executives. This immersive training inspires every employee to have a customer-first approach regardless of the tasks they’re performing.
A business strategy that puts customers at the forefront leads to happier customers, more collaborative teams, and a measurable increase in business performance. Customer success becomes your company’s success.