The Customer - The Center of the Board

If Content is King and Strategy is Queen, then the Customer is the Center of the Board. At the heart of every brand is the customer, who if you are successful in reaching, engaging and retaining, will place you in control of the game. I am no chess player but this analogy places emphasis on the importance of the customer in building and maintaining one’s brand.

Customer Success is the new buzzword. This philosophy originated from SaaS businesses that sought to find a better way to reduce churn for their services. The idea is that by providing the customer with unlimited support, information and education they will derive value from the holistic approach to the service and remain loyal customers for an extended period of time.

This concept, however, is not reserved just for Saas businesses. The concept is revolutionary for any and every business that serves customers (and that’s about all businesses). With the impact of digital, the power has shifted, and rightly so, to the customer. So how do we ensure customer success for our customers?

Change your mindset and company culture

This is the most important step in growing your company with Customer Success. Most traditional companies focus on their bottom line and pushing their products and services with little consideration to the customer. Digital companies and more specifically software companies have realised that this mode of thinking does not work for the modern customer. Customers do not want to be interrupted or inconvenienced, they want to engage with your brand, business and it’s content on their terms, as they should. Once we understand that the customer has this choice, we need to shift our company’s internal culture with a focus on understanding the customer goals and how we can assist them in achieving these goals.

Curiosity feeds the Cat

You need to be very interested in finding out as much as reasonably possible about your customers. And as much as they are willing to share. The more you know about their challenges the better equipped you will be to support them. This data is the fuel that feeds the kind of support you offer. Once your customers succeed, especially if they succeed using your product or service, then you succeed. It’s a win for all involved and the customer will have very positive feelings towards your brand and business. That’s Success! And, it keeps them coming back. Nick Mehta from Gainsight said it well, “The success of your business is inherently intertwined with the success of your customer.

Establish & Nurture Relationships

This is typically the sequence in digital and traditional companies:

   Marketing > Provides Leads

   Sales > Close Leads

   Service > Retains Leads (Customer Success)

At this stage where a lead is now a customer, is where service comes in to ensure that customers are retained and kept happy. It is very important to resist the trend to automate at this stage. People like people. And value a human touch and interaction. Two questions you need to ask yourself, why should my customer stay with me? And what value am I offering that helps me to stand out from the competition? By providing them with success services, you can be very confident that your customers will return, and return with glowing recommendations and references for potential customers. This reduces churn (rate of customer turnover), increases new leads, promotes revenue growth and gives you valuable data that ensures your customer’s happiness.

Customer Success is a method of ensuring everybody wins when doing business. It is an excellent concept to implement in your organization and should actually be a standard across every department, even those that don’t directly interact with customers. Because once you keep the customer at the centre of every department, Success is bound to follow.

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