Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Follow the 'Three Pillars of Customer Success' to improve your bottom line

You do everything possible to ensure the success of your company -- hire the very best people, manage by the numbers, and have an aggressive sales strategy. You’re probably thinking, “Okay, no news here, we’re guilty of striving to build a wildly successful business.”

But, have you thought about your customer’s success?

All companies depend on their customers of course, as a source of revenue. Yet, it’s hard to imagine that the happiness of your customer isn’t critical to long-term profitability.

Once a purchase is made, your work is just beginning. That’s just as true for a simple product as it is for a complex service where customers pay over time.

The idea of customer success goes beyond customer service. Sure, it’s important to rapidly respond to an issue after the purchase when something goes wrong. Except, that’s a reactive approach and doesn’t always work out very well.

Customer success is a way of thinking. Customer success needs it’s own plan of action. Customer success is a culture mindset.

When your company focuses on helping others accomplish their dream -- before and after the purchase -- your business and your customers thrive.

Proactive customer success embraces an attainment-oriented attitude from the buyers’ point of view. Maybe a better word is preemptive.

Customer success starts with making sure there is a good fit between your product or service and the buyer’s needs. And continues after your prospect becomes a buyer with activities and programs that support ongoing success.

Driving successful customer outcomes guarantees customer satisfaction, more future purchases, referrals, and a significant reduction in churn. Here are the three pillars of customer success.

Define and map the customer journey. Deeply understanding your future customers and how they buy makes it much easier to prepare for success. Chart when and how to interact at each step of the journey. Discover what your buyer considers as success at each stage. Create activities and “scripts” that overcomes concerns at each of these stages and makes it obvious how your business fulfills the big, desirable, and previously unattainable future your buyers wants.

Manage your customer’s success. Different products, services, and industries require distinct approaches, however there is one thing all have in common -- anticipating customer needs before the shiny newness of what they just bought from you wears off. Ideas to consider include a “thank you” package welcoming them and laying out the important things they need to know to get them started, customer support phone numbers, and the name of their in-house advocate to contact with questions. Think about onboarding activities that include video or live training. Also, an online customer success forum or club with exclusive access and quarterly gatherings will have a huge impact on the relationship with your customers. Above all, make it easy to get customer feedback and no matter how critical it may be at times, smile and see how you can do better as a company. Stay engaged and offer amazing value; do that and your customers will stick with you forever!

Build a thriving customer success culture. Customer success is an integral piece of the mission to flourish as a business. Make this happen by inspiring a culture of customer success across your company. Encouraging this idea will enable your team to be more effective in their customer-facing roles. This requires all areas of your business to be in alignment, from sales and marketing to finance and product management -- even the people who answer incoming phone calls. As part of this, get everyone on the same page with business objectives and the metrics that are significant to your success. One more thing; urge all members of your team to give feedback, including strategic partners, to provide needed criticism when they see something out of whack, without a finger waged in their face.

Customer success is all about delivering the best customer experience in your market. Continuous communication, education, and measurement is key. This is the best way to eliminate any gap between the way you market your solutions and the expectations of your buyers.

This is how your customers will achieve amazing value and reward you with long-term revenue success.

Ron Stein is founder of More Customers Academy, helping business leaders build strategic messaging and positioning that cuts through the competitive noise to grow revenue. Ron has developed his own highly successful 5-step Stand Out & Sell More approach to winning new customers as a result of his twenty-five years of business development, marketing, and selling experiences. He works with a range of businesses, from startups to large corporations across industries including technology and healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services and banking. Ron conducts workshops, leads company meetings, offers keynote talks, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or by email.