Regina Brimmer, Customer Success Manager, Pilgrim Quality Solutions
Most Fridays, this is a B2B blog focused on strategies for Quality and Compliance management. But just this once, you’ll find you’ve clicked on an advice column. We’re going to give you some relationship advice that will go a long way toward nurturing your organization’s reputation for Quality. Today, you will pick up some essential tips for cultivating your customers’ success and satisfaction.
Defining Customer Success
How do you know when your organization is in a strong, healthy relationship with your customers? By definition, the state of Customer Success is attained when customers have achieved their desired goals through interactions with their provider. To get there, think of words and phrases like nurture, respect, TLC. Just as you would care for your spouse, partner, child, or even a plant so it can grow and thrive, you must provide the right ingredients to support your customers’ growth and success.
Ingredients for a Healthy Relationship
The ingredients will vary from customer to customer as every business has its own set of goals and measures its success differently. You cannot, therefore, take a one-size-fits-all approach when implementing a customer success program. When you engage in a provider-customer relationship, consider that every employee impacts a company’s bottom line. If you’re going to support your customer’s goals, you will need to work with all departments and divisions.
Once you’ve established relationships with the various departments and divisions, you will need to nurture those relationships with continuous two-way communication flow between customer and provider. Remind them you are there for them. Remind them you are listening to their needs. Remind them you care. Just like you would in any healthy relationship.
Navigating the Rocky Roads
Sometimes relationships don’t work out. Typically, they come to an end when one side quits investing in the relationship. They might stop listening to their partner; they might become complacent; they might get distracted by outside temptation. To maintain a solid bond with customers, it is critical that the provider ensure that every experience they have with them is seamless, consistent, and simply put, excellent. Every time.
The truth is, when a customer purchases a product, they’re really investing in a relationship, not the product. They are trusting that the provider is:
- competent as a manufacturer (the product is safe and compliant);
- forthright in their messaging (they are sincere in their labeling, advertising and promotions); and,
- dependable for ongoing support (the customer can turn to them for help should something go wrong).
Continuous Improvement through Advocacy
So, how does a company build that trust with its customers? The failsafe approach is by managing the customer lifecycle from start to finish, throughout the life of the relationship. This means that as a provider, you are not simply providing customer support when something needs fixing. That’s the reactive approach and it has been known to fail. You should be a proactive partner who is continuously monitoring both product performance and personal interactions. You are a “change agent” helping to drive your customer’s success.
One of primary proactive approaches that successful providers take is to create internal and external customer advocacy programs designed to simultaneously drive customer success.
Internally: Be a voice for your customers
- Ensure each of your internal departments is operating from a customer-centric perspective. When there is a constant focus on improving and enhancing the customer experience internally, it successfully translates to the external experience.
- Through constant two-way communication, find out what your customers love and what you should keep doing. More critically, uncover what is driving customers away and how to rectify that immediately. Identify areas of improvement.
- By ensuring that key areas of importance to customers are being considered and protected, you can identify or create win-win solutions for both the brand and the customer.
Externally: Be your customers’ biggest fan
- Highlight your partnership through your own outbound communication, playing up the synergies between your product or services and your customers’ successes. Customer case studies are a perfect showcase.
- You can build loyalty and inspire positive behavior from your customers by promoting their businesses along with your own. It’s a great way to share best practices, reinforce relationships, reward achievements, and inspire your other customers to step up their games. It’s a win-win. Customer loyalty and achievement awards programs are two ways to acknowledge your customers’ achievements.
Customer Satisfaction Stems from Customer Success
Just as you should engage in two-way communication, you will reap two-way rewards if you take the proactive approach. You will build on existing relationships and launch new ones within that customer entity; you will increase your percentage of contract renewals; and, you will grow your network of referrals. Happy customers evangelize and will spread your shiny reputation to your future prospects. All of these factors will support your reputation as a quality provider and boost your bottom line.
Pursue Quality Perfection with Pilgrim as Your Partner
Pilgrim’s solution experts can review your current quality processes and show you how to get the most out of
them using SmartSolve®.