𝗖𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝘂𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗕𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗚𝗿𝗼𝘄𝘁𝗵
Updated: Aug 12
With climbing rope, strands are plied together to strengthen the cord and prevent catastrophe.
In business, there are also dangers. Customers expect a quality experience, and you want to reinforce the relationship to avoid dangerous churn and create more opportunities.
The costs of acquiring new customers vastly exceed the costs of keeping them. Also, the longer customers remain, the higher your margins.
While you may be hesitant to invest in customer success versus other areas, recognize that retention can grow existing business, cross-sells, and referrals even better (and cheaper) than new sales and marketing.*
Here are some considerations to improve your retention strength.
Be Grounded in Values
To make engagement collaborative across teams, start by applying these values:
Solutions Approach. If an issue arises, move quickly to discover and implement the best options for the customer. Discourage assigning blame and punishment.
Balance. Address the crises quickly; however, also think proactively about systems that will help prevent future similar issues from occurring. Laying the foundation for a long-term solution will help prevent future problems.
Learning. If a large problem arises, dig into what happened and determine ways to improve the situation that led to it. This may involve product changes, new processes, and enhancing software or skills.
To gauge satisfaction and to reveal potential issues before they get too onerous, consider these approaches:
Regular Cadence. Establish times to talk about progress and incorporate questions on satisfaction. In terms of a product, include ways to receive quick feedback and contact the team with any questions and concerns.
Probing Questions. Seek to learn more from deeper relationships by asking, “What is one thing that can be better?” or "What are your plans for next year?"
Gauge Changes. Request number values regularly and then compare over time to determine sentiment. While a slight difference between two points may be meaningless, a trend over time warrants attention.
Different Stakeholders. Contact direct users and decision-makers since they both determine your destiny. Involve them in strategy discussions occasionally to obtain useful feedback and to confirm sentiment.
To avoid problems and, if necessary, to improve resolution, focus on setting expectations, communicating constantly, and solving existing problems quickly and thoroughly.
Create checklists and processes for clients. When onboarding, clarify the deliverables and how to measure success. Explain how they can address and escalate concerns if needed.
If a problem comes up, let the client know what to expect for the next steps and when you will get back to them. If the problem is not resolved, don’t just be silent about it.
Reach out and say that you are still working on a solution. While most people will be understanding if they know where things stand, they’re likely to become more agitated if you don’t communicate with them.
Many problems with customers emanate from a lack of or poor communication. When onboarding clients, explain how to escalate any issues that pop up. Ideally, you will have more than one method including email, video chat, phone, or other contact information. Also, let clients know if there is another channel to offer feedback and suggestions outside their regular contacts.
Set quarterly meetings to discuss feedback and to ask about the new client’s major challenges. If you have thousands of users, consider contacting a random sampling and sending them a questionnaire. Depending on your audience, you may create a user group to share insights with you.
With live meetings, pose open-ended questions: “What do you see is our biggest challenge in serving you?” “How can we help you grow?” Pay attention to the other person’s tone and body language as well as their words.
If a problem arises, respond immediately. Acknowledge that you hear the client’s concerns and understand their aggravation. End every conversation with the next steps and the timeline to resolution.
Adapt a partner mindset. With customers, make sure they enjoy and appreciate the user experience as much as possible. For most people, the application of a product or the interactions during a service matter as much, if not more, than the effectiveness.
If there are new features or better ways to utilize a product, share that insight with your users. They will appreciate the tips and hopefully be more forgiving if there are issues later.
With business and enterprise clients, discuss how you will help them continue growing or performing well. Also, help them identify future opportunities and risks.
“Clients really appreciate specific ways to save money,
increase efficiency, and grow revenues.”
– Paul Bianco
If you face a problem, understand the presenting issue and the impact on them. If the customer using your product loses access, let them know what is happening in a clear, straightforward way and acknowledge their frustration. If a corporate client faces an issue, recognize how it’s affecting their work. If the problem persists, collaborate on a workaround to keep their business operational.
It requires enormous expense—time, effort, and money—to acquire new customers; however, once on board, they should be lucrative for your business model. You want a strong client success function to retain valuable revenues and to encourage existing customers to spread the word to potential new ones.
Key Takeaway: Be highly proactive and incredibly responsive in client success to retain and grow your revenues. The investment could yield exponential returns.
Photo by Shubhendu Mohanty who can be found here.
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