To work customer-oriented and with the customer in focus has acted as keywords for a long time to emphasize the importance of a deep customer relationship and a good customer understanding. However, the concepts are broad, and a bit leached out, and it can be challenging to understand what they mean for the business in reality. A concept that more clearly describes what you want to achieve is customer success. It's' not enough that you understand the customer and that the customer is satisfied. You want the customer to achieve success!
To have a structured approach when working with customer success has become an increasingly important factor in all industries and areas as an effect of higher customer demands and customers willingness to move if these demands aren't met. This is, of course, extra important in companies where the relationship with the customer includes short contracts, high competition from other companies and sales models such as SaaS (Software as a Solution). Working with customer success is thus a key factor for both your success and the customer's success. Read below about five key areas to take your customer success strategy to the next level!
1. Make the customer independent
Even though it is important to have a close relationship with the customer, it is also important that the customer is independent and feel that they have control and ownership over their everyday work life or the product/service they have purchased. Our experience is that in the long run, it increases customer satisfaction significantly.
Our strategy has been to live as we learn - we have created guides on basically everything a customer can wonder about. The user can either access these guides directly in their platform or our self-service portal. The fact that the customers find the answer themself means that our support has time to put their energy into quickly solving the trickier customer questions.
We also see that it is favourably that our support is available to everyone and not just to a dedicated person on the customer side. This creates more commitment for all users and gives us a more comprehensive picture of our customers' challenges. A system owner will have one perspective while a user or a customer service employee has an entirely different one.
How about your business: do you know the most common questions your customers have and have a clear and practical approach to identifying and answering them?
2. Give the customer support throughout the entire customer journey
A customer goes through different phases, and during these phases, they will have different needs. To ensure that the customer receives the proper support, it is vital to map the entire customer journey and identify its needs, goals and challenges in each phase.
At InfoCaption, we have a dedicated customer coach who gives the customer support throughout the customer journey, regardless of whether it is to ensure smooth onboarding, provide strategic coaching, support in everyday work or act as an accelerator when the customer is ready to level up. Of course, the relationship differs depending on the customer's size and needs. Thus it is essential to segment the customers and map the needs of different customer types to meet them efficiently.
To understand in what phase the customer is and what challenges the customer has, it is also essential to collect data and follow how the customer uses your product, service or platform. The data gives you the basis to directly provide the customer needed support if it has challenges in any area and gives you input for continuous development of the customer journey and the product/service.
3. Simple and smooth onboarding
Starting with something completely new is always a challenge, and it is important to make it as simple as possible for the customer. One matter is, of course, a short initial lead time so that the customer can get started quickly. This can include everything from rapidly completing agreements, setting up the platform, making the service available, to train the customer how to use the product/service/platform.
InfoCaption works hard to share good examples of how other customers use our platform and product as an additional tool to give the customer good prerequisites to get started. In this way, our new customers get a kick-start and an excellent foundation to start from in terms of the structure of their platform, training- and working methods. In addition, the onboarding is, of course, simplified by our already mentioned self-service portal, our support team and customer coach.
4. Inspiration och kunskapsdelning i olika format
Although the most important thing is to help the customer in the customer's regular workday and tasks, it is often valuable and appreciated by the customer to gain more knowledge and be inspired in other areas. There are many ways to do that, and it is essential to remember that different customers have different needs. Some customers enjoy shorter webinars or blog posts, while others prefer more upscale events. In the same way, some customers choose to participate digitally while others get much more out of being on-site. Based on the list below - do you cover the needs of your different customers?
- Event and Webinars focusing on inspiration and knowledge sharing in specific areas (physical and digital).
- Platforms or other fora with a continuous flow of inspiration and information that you control.
- Platforms or other fora are driven as a community and involve your customers in creating content and discussions.
InfoCaption tries to vary based on the points above, but we get extra happy when our customers find inspiration in each other's work. We try to promote this in our Share platform, a platform where all content is created by our customers who share guides and tips that they think other customers can benefit from.
5. Have mutual trust and take advantage of customer feedback
Having mutual trust is a key factor in all types of relationships and collaborations. It doesn't matter if it is a friendly relationship, collegial relationship, or a supplier/customer relationship. However, when it comes to the supplier/customer relationship, these are often characterized by strictness, tough negotiations, and challenging contract formulations. However, we at InfoCaption are convinced that this is not the way forward. Over the years, we have had much fun with our customers and had rewarding collaborative projects. We have been impressed by the customers' ability to use our product in ways we couldn't even imagine ourselves.
We can summarize the paragraph above that it is important to value each other's opinions in a relationship. To do that as a business, it will be much easier if you have a well-developed feedback process. This means you have an excellent way to get feedback from customers and a clear plan of what to do with the collected feedback.
We work with customer-driven product development, where we continuously feed our product development process with the feedback we have received from customers. We believe in having several standardized ways to collect feedback. For example, in our case, the feedback can come in a conversation with a customer coach, during the use of our product or in dialogue with our support team. In the same way that the support is open to everyone, all users and producers can also give feedback, providing a more comprehensive picture to develop both the product and the customer experience.
Again, think about your business: how do you collect and use the feedback you get from your customers?
I hope the article has inspired you to work even more dedicatedly with customer care and achieve customer success!