How Dedicated Customer Success Leads to Your Success
Marketing, sales, and support: these are the customer-facing departments in any agency. And for decades (if not centuries) that was all that most businesses needed in dealing with their clients.
But in a digital agency, something is still missing. Enter Customer Success.
Agencies of the past focused on sales and service. And most customers were satisfied. Making sure that a customer’s site (or software) was functional was all that was needed. But today’s customers want more. How can we do that? We can look beyond function to success.
Move from What “Works” to What “Helps”
When an agency focuses on a client’s success, their energies and attentions fine tune beyond what “works” and instead turn to what “helps.” And you know what happens when your customers succeed? You do, too.
When your agency focuses on your customers’ success, several things happen:
- Sales become easier.
- You sell to clients who are a good fit.
- Relationships are built.
- Renewals are seamless.
- Recommendations abound.
- The bottom line is better.
So what does it take to be a part of your customers’ success? Here are five things to keep in mind when focusing on customer success (and therefore loyalty).
1. Have a product that is worth paying for … and paying for again.
Recurring revenue is the sweetest way for an agency to thrive. You make more money through repeat customers than repeated customer acquisition; and customers would much rather stay with your agency than have to go in search of someone else. It comes down to two things: the product/service and the people.
If the product or service isn’t worth paying for, then nothing the people do will matter. So first focus on creating what your customers need and do it better than anyone else. Starting with a product or service that delights the client is the foundation for all the rest.
2. Be human.
Today’s business has become a digital maelstrom, with customers somehow adrift and seeking human connection. Digital voices on phone systems, email-only “canned” communication, and “about us” pages that don’t really say who you are, have all served to sever the human connection that used to be the touchstone of sales and customer satisfaction.
Indeed, many companies no longer post a phone number anywhere. Whether or not they ever need it, customers are happier knowing there is someone they can connect with. Being human builds customer relationships, and therefore loyalty.
So don’t be afraid to be who you are, talk to your clients like people, and be known to them.
3. Invest in the tools and people you need to support your clients in a human way.
With the tools we have at our disposal nowadays, we don’t need to supply phones to employees, or even hard-wire phone systems at all. Instead, subscribe to a phone service that uses apps on either your existing phone or computer, or both.
Most will work with headphones, etc., and allow your customers to connect with your customer success experts efficiently.
Benefits to a system like this (we use Aircall.io) include company ownership of the phone number, the employees’ personal numbers remain their own, voicemail is accessible in many ways, and you can automate when the number is reachable, or goes directly to voicemail.
4. Don’t say “thank you” too much.
“Thank you” are words that are so expected anymore that we scarcely even register them when we see or hear them. If the first thing a customer hears from us is ‘thank you,’ then we’re missing an opportunity to inspire them.
Instead of thanking your client for their business, use language that will bolster their decision to work with you, and inspire them about their working relationship with you.
For example, instead of “thank you for your purchase” try one of the following on for size:
- Congratulations on your purchase of…
- We’re so excited that you’ve made a decision to…
- With (our product/service) you will find that…
- How exciting that you’ve taken the next step toward…
- Wait until you see what you can do with…
- Exciting things are about to happen for you!
Language really matters! Use your communication to share excitement, enthusiasm, and inspire an ongoing relationship with your customers.
5. Never apologize for what you didn’t do, no matter how angry someone else may be.
I’ve always realized that I’m not the ideal solution to every potential customer’s needs. In my freelance days, I lost clients and I fired clients. Fit matters. So it didn’t work out with a customer? “I’m sorry” doesn’t really fit. Try language that shows your strength, maybe “it’s unfortunate” is better. It doesn’t show culpability and it allows you to own yourself without apology.
Of course, when I do something that I should apologize for, then “I’m sorry” is entirely appropriate. It’s nuanced, but think about how and when you can use another term instead.
How to Be Customer-Oriented for Success
So what kinds of things can you do to be customer-success oriented? Hire a person (or build a team) dedicated to your customers’ success. Then give them the tools and resources to create loyalty. Here are a few ways to do that.
Call your customers. Check in on occasion to see how things are going. Don’t wait until it’s time to bill their renewal to find out they’re unhappy (or worse, they just leave without giving any feedback at all).
Proactively connecting with your customers shows that you don’t just care about receiving their money, but that you care about their feedback, and their success.
As stated prior, having a way that customers can reach you without feeling like they’re being relegated to voicemail purgatory goes a really long way. It doesn’t mean you can pick up the phone at any time, but that you will and do get back to them at your earliest availability.
3. Add value
There are so many ways you can add value as an agency without giving up anything.
- Provide tips and ideas through social media.
- Write blog posts that inspire your customers.
- Give uncensored feedback on their projects. (Kindly, of course.)
- Offer a newsletter with tips and ideas.
4. Be human
One thing I tell my team is they’re human and should act accordingly. Of course, we expect professionalism, but that doesn’t mean you can’t comment on things that aren’t project-related.
If I’m on a Zoom call and a customer’s child walks into the room, I roll with it. I might even share a story where my cat walked in front of the camera, or a time when my headphones disconnected mid call.
Showing our humanity makes us more approachable, more understanding, and more desirable to work with.
It really does all come down to understanding your customers’ goals; connecting to the customer in a human way; being approachable; and doing outreach.
Dedicate a person or a team in your organization to customer success and you’ll contribute to your own success in the process.
This post was written (with love) by Michelle Frechette. She’s the Head of Customer Success at GiveWP and the Wonder Woman of the WordPress community. She knows a thing or two about customer success! Reach out to her on Twitter @michelleames or find her on WPCoffeeTalk chatting with awesome people and making everyone smile.
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