The Value of Strong Customer Relationships
Around the world, folks are beginning to emerge from isolation protections. Many are trying to do all they can to make successful business decisions in an unknown and complicated environment. People are anxious. They feel disconnected. And businesses are facing tough decisions.
The anxiety we feel about what the future holds can overwhelm us, leading to quick business decisions that might permanently damage an organization’s viability by degrading the customer’s experiences.
However, more than ever, we need to get closer to our customers. We need to redefine our understanding of what customers value and what they need in in this new world. We need to be committed to meeting and hopefully exceeding their needs with the product or services we deliver. This is what will stick with them, making our businesses more resilient, even in this unsteady environment.
Simply put. Now is not the time to cut back on customer experience, it’s the time to dig deep to help your stakeholders increase the ROI of your product or service – differentiate yourself from that of a vendor and establish yourself as a ‘trusted partner’.
The Benefit of Customer Loyalty in a Down Economy
In an economic downturn, most companies are forced to reduce spending. Yet, there are many ways your loyal customers can help carry you through these uncertain times.
Many organizations will seek to consolidate their spending among fewer vendors and secure bigger discounts. If you illustrate your hunger to collaborate and work as a trusted partner, you have an opportunity to not only keep the customer but possibly expand the relationship. If you have product/service lines that a customer currently does not use, look for the right opportunity to educate them on the additional options. Ideally, you can help them save through consolidation and they can help you expand.
Understanding your customers and the new challenges they face helps you better align your offerings to their needs. Customers who feel heard and understood can also serve as an extension to your sales team if they see value in what you’re offering. That’s because a satisfied customer is more likely to share their experience with you for a testimonial or case study – and has a greater willingness to recommend your company to friends, acquaintances, or colleagues who are in the market for a trusted partner.
4 Steps for Preserving Customer Revenue
Investing in the customer experience and developing loyal customers is key to preserving your revenue when the economy is unstable. What are some steps you can take to develop your relationship with customers to ensure as the spending drops, your company endures?
1. Understand buyer motivation.
In an unstable economic environment, current and prospective customers alike are looking for solutions that improve their productivity. They want the investment to provide meaningful value. Importantly, they need to trust that their partner will stand the test of time.
When the business climate, competitive landscape, or perceived value proposition are changing quickly, investing in a Sales Win Loss program becomes more important. The insights captured not only help improve sales effectiveness to better align the company’s strategic objectives with potential buyers, but they also help inform product development, which benefits existing customers too.
2. Maintain a strong onboarding process.
For customers you’ve recently onboarded, the first interaction with your company can make or break a relationship. Are you doing all you can to set customers up for success at the very beginning?
Implementing a customer onboarding feedback program during this phase will help identify any challenges your customers may have and allow you to address any expectation gaps before they become problems. Asking the right questions will also reveal actions your organization can take to accelerate time to value – a key driver of loyalty and success metric for many buyers.
3. Solidify customer loyalty by illustrating positive action from customer feedback.
To transform a first-time customer into a loyal fan who is willing to sing your praises, customer experience must be a cornerstone of your corporate culture.
You need to evaluate how well you’re meeting customer needs and expectations once they move to the next phase in the customer journey. When you establish or reinforce your CX excellence as part of how you run your business, your customers will notice that you’re there for them.
4. Take time to learn from customer churn.
There will always be uncontrollable cancellations in an economic downturn. Having said that, there’s still plenty of opportunities to listen, learn, and collaborate with customers to reduce the chances of customer churn. Even if that means gleaning feedback from those customers that have churned.
A Customer Defection Analysis is a program that provides tremendous value. For example, you can identify trouble spots within your company and the root causes of defection so you can address them quickly. In the end, you’ll deliver better customer experiences and increase customer retention in the process.
Customer Pulse Surveys
Right now, executives are evaluating all spending to decide what they need and what they feel they can cut. Each interaction with a customer is an opportunity to connect and see if they are getting what they need.
Implementing a shorter pulse-type survey to help answer important challenge-type questions that are top of mind among your customers’ Decision Makers is critical. This candid and timely feedback can assist you in pivoting quickly to ensure your investments align with the customers’ strategic objectives and validate your role as a trusted partner.
If your employees are clearly engaged and going out of their way to proactively communicate with customers, they’re more likely to become the kind of loyal customers that carry you through in a difficult economy. Similarly, if you have customers that have troublesome experiences, you must address them as soon as possible. Every negative moment could spell the end of the relationship during this downturn.
We are all facing unusual circumstances now. We can’t know how things will change in the coming months, but one thing is certain: reinforcing strong CX practices is certainly a worthy endeavor.