How to lead the way in customer success - part 2
Companies are increasingly realising that offering a winning customer experience is the key to differentiating themselves from competitors and to acquiring, retaining and expanding their customer base.
Last month I pointed to the trend of companies like ours setting up dedicated Customer Success (CS) teams tasked with taking the lead in driving change and ensuring that customer experience is prioritised - and consistently high - across the organisation.
Based on our own learnings, here are three further ways that a CS team can truly engage your buyers and partners, create powerful emotional connections to your brand and set your company apart in the race for competitive edge.
Fulfil Your Social Media Potential
By definition, the CS team holds the reins of customer relationships, and by thinking on their feet they can extract huge value from their day-to-day customer contact to fuel your social media presence. Indeed it is a missed opportunity not to do so.
For instance, when our team has conducted an in-depth Value Review with a customer at the three-month point, they immediately take to Twitter or LinkedIn to share a snapshot of the conversation. They may give a brief insight into how the customer is using our CRM software, or simply welcome the customer onboard their journey with us. This is a triple win for our business: it makes the customer feel valued and highly engaged; it conveys to prospects that we put time and effort into nurturing strong, active and authentic relationships; and it contributes to spreading the digital word of mouth that plays such a key role in today’s purchasing decisions.
Of course, this is the new face of customer ‘case studies’ or testimonials. You could argue that the immediacy of social media is much more fitting and effective for this type of personalised endorsement than a long-form, written case study with its often convoluted approvals process.And given that seven in ten customerssay valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do for them, it’s clear that snappy online endorsements – whether written or in video format - are the way forward.
Turn GDPR Compliance To Your Advantage
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in effect for five months now. By this point every business owner has got a fair idea of how well their company is coping with the new data governance stipulations. For most, it’s not been a smooth ride and there may well be much work to be done in achieving full compliance.
Our CS team has made an important contribution to overseeing the GDPR compliance process, due to their role in bridging multiple teams and promoting consistency and regularity in customer interactions. For instance, in the course of their activity, they not only keep their fingers on the pulse of customer satisfaction levels and needs, but also the very practical matter of contact information and communication preferences. They can therefore take the lead in keeping our central database up-to-date, monitoring how customer information is being stored and used, and spotting any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in our data.
In marketing terms, CS-led customer engagement is the opposite end of the scale to sending out blanket emails or cold-calling. The team exemplifies the joined-up and proactive approach to data management that is required for GDPR, where there is no doubt that the customer is ‘opted in’ and that your information is accessible, accurate and – importantly - actionable.
Apply Insight To Business Partnerships
As a provider of CRM software, we rely heavily on indirect sales through our global network of over 50 Certified Solution Providers, many of whom have worked with us for years and know our solution inside out. To us, it made no sense to exclude our partners’ customers from our CS initiative, and in fact it has greatly enhanced both our channel collaboration and end-user insight.
One of the reasons that indirect customers respond so well to our CS team – as the vendor - is perhaps because we are not their day-to-day contact. Some feel they can be more honest with us in Value Reviews, even though they know that everything will be shared openly with their solution provider. Once our Business Partners started to see the benefits in terms of customer understanding, engagement and satisfaction, they became stronger advocates of this joint approach and now actively encourage us to engage directly with more of their customers.
The digital landscape is evolving quickly, and even as relatively far back as four years ago, the research company Gartner stated that 89% of companies“compete primarily on the basis of customer experience”. With this trend only increasingly, it’s no wonder that forward-thinking businesses are creating CS teams to give themselves the best possible chance of delivering a Customer Experience that contributes to the bottom line – faster, more valuable sales and predictable revenue growth.
Mike Richardson - Managing Director, Maximizer EMEA
As Managing Director (EMEA), Mike is charged with leading and delivering the marketing, sales, service and operational strategy for the EMEA region, alongside the management of the Certified Solutions Provider network.
Mike joined Maximizer Software in 2000, by which time he...