There’s no magic formula for making customers happy. A lot like making friends, building positive relationships with customers requires you to be human, be personal, and show them you care.
1. Speak the customer’s language
It’s likely that your customers don’t know every feature and aspect of your product — they’re not deeply ingrained in it like your team is. Make sure when you’re talking to customers that you’re using the words they use, not internal jargon. Spell out acronyms, for example EBR (Executive Business Review) or CSM (Customer Success Manager). This will help them understand better and succeed.
Quick tip: read through your customers’ websites to get a feel for the terminology they use. And last, have empathy. Make them feel comfortable. Be accessible. Be a good listener.
2. Embody the champion you want your customers to become
Excitement is infectious! If your team is inspired by and truly believes in your product, then your customers will feel it. A huge part of being in a customer-facing role is translating just how powerful your product is to your customers. The easiest way to do that is to be genuine. Be an advocate for your product, and your customers will be too.
A good way to do this is to remind yourself what the customer’s journey is. Have each new team member go through the onboarding journey a customer would go through. Tell them to poke holes, tell us what works or doesn’t work. It will help you all remember what it’s like to discover the product, and you’ll learn ways to spark excitement.
3. Lead with your core values
Your company values aren’t just about how you treat each other inside the office and work together. They likely represent the image your team wants to showcase externally, too. Make sure you’re incorporating your values into your customer conversations. Transparency is a core value for us at Front, and for Hillary at Guru, too. We both try to remain as transparent as possible with customers. The end result? They trust us, and they know we’re human, too!
4. Don’t just manage customer relationships, invest in them
Customers are people! Is your customer a dog lover? Getting married next week? Looking for ways to help their own team grow? Remember what what’s in it for them, for your customer. Get to know them on a personal level. They have not only the goals of their organization, but also their own personal goals. Are they hoping to lead their team their one day, or are they studying their masters in the background? The more you know, the better you can relate and help.
Find a place to make notes, whether that’s in Front’s comments section, or where ever you keep your customer information. Then ask them how it’s going. By remembering the details and following up, you’ll foster a stronger, more trusting relationship.
5. Share customer feedback with your entire team
Customer feedback should be shared with your whole team for many reasons. First, it brings everyone together: When you all feel in touch with the impact you have on customers, you stay united behind a common cause. Second, it provides encouragement: It reminds your team of the impact you’re making, and it inspires everyone to keep doing a great job 🙂
At Front and Guru, every role is focused on our customers, and we all make an effort to stay close to what customers want. At Front, we have a shared inbox in Front for all our customer NPS surveys, emails to [email protected], and responses on our app from review sites, like Google Play. That way anytime someone submits a survey, sends an email or leaves us a review, we can see it all in one place. Every teammate at Front has access to this inbox, so anyone can see the messages and read what customers have to say. (Read more about our feedback sharing process.)
At Guru, they have a public Slack channel to share the good and the bad with the whole team.
6. Close the loop
Everyone says this, but not everyone actually does it. If your customer submits a feature request and you fulfill it — even if it’s 9 months later — shoot them a personal email to let them know. Following up shows them how much you care and that you’re listening. At Front, we tag feature requests in our inboxes, so when a bug is fixed or a feature is launched, we can go through the tagged messages and respond to each one.
7. Think strategically about the customer’s future
Your customers all likely have a common goal their aiming to achieve with your product or service. By talking to your customer base, you’re becoming an expert in achieving those goals! Share that knowledge. Use examples from similar use cases and sprinkle them into your customer journey. This highlights your ability to anticipate their needs and challenges, proving your ability to be a true coach.
8. Be outcome-oriented
What outcome does each customer want from your product or service? It might not be the same for every customer. Make that the first thing you ask when you’re getting to know a new customer, and keep that top of mind in every conversation. Adjust your messaging or training structure to fit that.
If you have a large book of accounts that you don’t have check-in calls with regularly, then send a one question survey. “What are you hoping to achieve with Front this quarter?” When you’re focused on their goals, you’ll become an extension of their team, and it’ll be easier for both of you to succeed.
Our audience submitted some really great questions during our Q&A after this webinar. We answered them in 10 challenges of customer success (& solutions).
Written by Sarah Sheikh
Originally Published: 17 April 2020