When was the last time you enjoyed corresponding with the proverbial used car salesman? That’s what I thought. I don’t remember either.
We’ve all had experience with good and bad vendors. What sets the good ones from the bad? My best experiences have been with people who listened to what I needed, educated me on the possible solutions, and offered solutions that best matched my requirements.
Here’s a good example of the above scenario: I recently replaced my front door. My house is over 100 years old so the door is a non-standard size. I could not simply pick up a new door at the hardware store; I had to get a custom-made door, which meant going to three showrooms.
Long story short, I received quotes that failed to meet my needs or expectations.
There was the ridiculous “we didn’t measure your door correctly, never mind listen to a word you said about your design preferences” quote, and the non-existent “we spent time and money sending someone to measure your door and spoke to you about your preferences but never sent you a quote” quote.
And then there was Jeffrey.
I couldn’t understand why everyone was having such a hard time determining a door system for my house. Wasn’t it just a matter of measuring width and height, and building a door to fit? Not quite.
Jeffrey explained it all. After listening to what I wanted, he explained the challenges and limitations so I could make informed decisions. It even felt like Jeffrey was more mindful of my budget than I was. At that moment - only about 20 minutes after talking with me - Jeffrey became my strategic partner, communicated exactly what I needed to know to achieve my objective, and he had the deal before I even saw a quote!
My door is gorgeous and exactly what I wanted. I wish every vendor was like Jeffrey! He genuinely listened, communicated exactly what I needed to know, and was a strategic partner in making me successful.
Are you doing this with your customers? Are you their strategic partner to create opportunities for the customer to be successful? And are you deploying strategic messaging to speak to specific individuals and not the generic “customer”?
What does it mean to be a strategic partner and to deploy strategic messaging? It is about following best practices:
Be a Strategic Partner
Collaborate on the customer roadmap
Become a strategic business partner versus a vendor
Provide a ‘long term’ view to the customer for revenue production
Create opportunities for customer to be successful and measure against their objectives
Always show the customer the roadmap and how they can continue to get better with your service.
Deploy Strategic Messaging
Target content based on role, not customer
Message directly to users. “Know the individual audience” versus “Message to the company”
Segment events based on roles (training, webinars, best practice discussions)
Use metrics to determine when, how, what to communicate
It is the customer experience that determines revenue. You need to listen to what the customer wants to achieve, and then help them achieve it.
Heck, the entire reason Customer Success exists is to make customers successful. Gone are the days when deals are captured based on product features and functions alone. Customer Experience is the key to keeping customers who can easily switch if they are not getting the expected value and experience from the product.
Bottom line: Make sure to build these best practices into your customer success program and open to door to the arrival of a welcome caller - Revenue!
About the Author
Kia Puhm is an entrepreneurial executive with 21 years of experience leading strategic corporate initiatives. She has held executive positions in account management, customer success, services, and support at companies such as: Oracle, Eloqua, Adobe (Day Software), Intelex Technologies, and Blueprint Software Systems. Kia has pioneered the art of Customer Experience by leading businesses through the transition to customer-centric organizations. Her methodology provides clients with a disciplined and sustainable approach to increasing customer lifetime value & loyalty.Follow on Twitter More Content by Kia Puhm