Keeping your business’s customers feeling happy and engaged has never been more challenging (or more important) than it has been over the past two years. But as the pandemic steadily continues to wane, a growing number of customers are continuing to expect more from the companies they purchase from, making it more important than ever to have your Customer Success strategies ready for the New Year.
Recently, we sat down with Mike Redd, CMO of Quala — a Customer Success (CS) SaaS company helping other businesses’ CS teams apply frontline insights to inform business strategies and drive success (and growth) for individual customers — and asked him what his top 5 tips are for achieving customer success in 2022. Here’s what he had to say.
“Customers tend to most commonly feel valued by a business when they feel that they’re listened to,” says Redd. “SaaS businesses get so much input from day-to-day interactions – phone calls, emails, and chats. When a business is able to take that information and meet new customer needs, they notice. Suddenly, they feel listened to by a business—they feel more valued as a customer rather than ignored as a statistic.”
Redd continues by explaining that it isn’t only the customer who needs to feel listened to and valued. The more that employees feel like they’re being heard, they also feel more valued by their employer. According to HubSpot, over two-thirds of employees said they would work harder if they felt more valued by their organization. This mutual value leads to heightened productivity and engagement, allowing employees to give back more, overall, to the business.
“To put it simply,” Redd tells us, “each business’s success is both rooted in and built upon their customers. Customer Success teams are at a really critical intersection of technology and customers – they pick up on things. The trouble is, there is no easy way to harness everything those frontline teams are learning, and tie it all back to dollars and cents. Creating a virtuous cycle of learning from frontline teams back into the business creates a truly customer-centric business and should be a top priority for just about every business..”
According to Redd, it is crucial that businesses possess ways to easily and effectively take note of what input and information their customers provide them with. That information, however, is only half of the CS equation; the other half comes from a business’s ability to translate that information into initiatives that improve the quality of customers’ experiences.
“The function of CS has evolved since the pandemic began,” Redd says, “and is likely going to continue evolving throughout 2022. The ultimate success of your business is entrenched in keeping your customers happy and feeling valued while also driving bottom-line results. CS is evolving so it is both operational, serving individual customers, and highly strategic as the eyes and ears of the business. CS teams will increasingly need to efficiently get the right data to support initiatives that can improve the success of all customers – that’s input into product roadmaps and customer experiences overall.”
In order to continue meeting the growing demand and changing needs of customers, Redd explains that CS leaders need to better understand what their customers value. For instance, a business’s existing product might be able to be improved to fill an emerging market gap, or a new strategic marketing campaign could be enacted to foster stronger feelings of support between customers and the business itself.
“Whatever the initiative might be,” Redd adds, “it starts with your customer data and ends with the value proposition of your strategic initiatives.”
If there are two core CS aspects that have become increasingly important in recent memory, but especially since the pandemic began, they are the customization and personalization of each customer’s experience. The experience each customer has with a business’s offered products or services is a key driver in evaluating their overall perception of a business.
The stronger a customer feels that a good or service they purchase is tailored to meet their exact needs, the more likely they are to create additional sales in the future. Furthermore, Deloitte found that approximately 1 in every 5 customers is willing to pay up to 20% more for a product they perceive as personalized or customized to them simply because they feel as if they are being treated less like a statistic and with more empathy as an individual.
“Finding, analyzing, and implementing initiatives around key customer data is vital to any business’s longevity,” Redd mentions, “but without understanding that each individual customer exists as a unique person with specific wants and needs, that data will only get you so far. Your customers want to feel listened to and valued, and that begins with empathy.”
It’s no surprise Customer Success teams are highly cross-functional, developing strong partnerships across the organization including Sales, Marketing, Product, and other customer-facing teams. These effective feedback channels between these teams are critical to attracting the right customers and delivering value back to them. This can be done by creating clear avenues of communication between your company and its customers, but also between your business’s internal teams in order to more effectively foster stronger relationships and mutual feelings of trust.
“Ultimately,” Redd concludes, “each business exists to serve their customers. That service can come in any number of ways, products, or forms, but it only generates repeated sales from customers when they trust the companies they do business with. This means that you need to not only foster trust between your business and its customers, but also between your internal teams so that they can better serve your customers’ needs.”
Indeed, the more trust your employees have in your business and its leadership, the better they will be able to help assist your customers at every stage of their experience with your organization. Likewise, the more strongly your customers trust in your business and the value it offers them, the better poised your business will be to meet its bottom-line goals.
Ultimately, the goal of maintaining customer success into 2022 is rooted in value. That value can come in a variety of forms, depending on the nature of your business, but relies on two predominant factors: communication and trust. By communicating openly and honestly with your customers to gather high-quality information and data on their expectations and experiences with your business, you and your teams will be better equipped to communicate with additional customers in the future in order to continue providing outstanding value to them, creating mutual success for both the organization and its users.