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The term “customer success” has become somewhat of a buzzword these days. As more and more organizations begin to recognize and understand the importance of cultivating relationships, an entirely new industry has emerged. In order to truly master the art of customer success, however, business leaders must find a way to not only adopt the concept, but instill it as an integral part of the company culture as a whole. To accomplish this, companies should abide by the following seven key customer success principles.
Learn to listen.
It may seem obvious, but listening is often the most overlooked and underappreciated skill of a customer success manager. It’s not just about picking up the phone or responding to emails. It’s about taking the time to truly get to know the customer so you can learn precisely what his or her pain points, needs and preferences are. Only when you listen and seek to understand your customers’ points of view will you be able to truly achieve customer success.
Not all customers are created equal. If you approach your service and support as a one-size-fits-all solution, it will inevitably fail. Good customer success management depends on the ability to recognize the individuality of each client and address each one’s unique needs accordingly. Simply put, each customer with whom you work should feel as though their question or problem is the most important issue on your plate.
Don’t wait until a problem escalates to reach out to your customers. If there’s an issue, they’re going to find out about it eventually, and when they do, they probably won’t be happy that you didn’t tell them first. Sure, these conversations can be difficult, but they demonstrate that you are on top of the situation, that you’re working hard to make it right and – most importantly – that you care. Being upfront and transparent will help you build a stronger foundation of trust.
Be an advocate.
Your customers rely on you to do what’s in their best interest. Otherwise, you risk losing their trust and ultimately losing their business altogether. Make it a point to always go above and beyond and advocate for your customers, whether it’s for their personal goals, the projects they’re working on or their business as a whole. Never miss an opportunity to go to bat for your customers and they will reward you with their loyalty.
Say thank you.
Chances are you aren’t the only supplier of your product or service, which means at any time you could potentially lose good customers to your competitors. That should be strong enough motivation for you to find reasons to thank your customers for choosing you. Whether they come to you with a referral or they’re calling to bring attention to a problem, be appreciative of their efforts and show them you are grateful in every way possible.
Get them involved.
It’s much easier to switch service providers when you’ve never met or spoken to an actual person behind the scenes. It’s relationships that foster loyalty. A great way to cultivate these relationships is to get your customers involved in your business. Invite them to participate in events or to share their feedback about the latest product or service offering. The more intertwined they become with your business the less likely they’ll be to jump ship the moment something flashy or new comes along.
Over-communicate at every turn.
In order for you and your customers to be successful together, it’s imperative that everyone is always on the same page and working toward the same shared goals. Sometimes even the simplest miscommunication can change the dynamic in a negative way. To avoid this, make over-communicating a priority.
Mastering a customer success sales position takes time, effort and the right strategies. The seven customer success principles listed above should help ensure that your customers remain happy, engaged and excited about what the future holds for both of you.