As a CSM, a key focus of your day to day activities will be to maintain constant communication with your clients. Throughout their customer journey, there’ll be a number of touchpoints and you’ll most likely be dealing with different stakeholders throughout the way.
Frequent support and communication will be key, and the basis for building healthy relationships with stakeholders. But how can you ensure that these relationships lead to long-term success and build client loyalty?
To help you on your mission towards building long-term relationships that drive loyalty, I want to share some learnings that I’ve drawn from my experience working with a number of different customers, and that have helped me keep the right focus.
The key is to remember that a solid customer relationship will drive loyalty and high levels of retention, the most important metric of any SaaS business. When speaking to clients and managing daily support and communication, it’s important to keep this end goal in mind.
Honesty and trust
A good client relationship is like any other relationship in life. It has to be built on trust, honesty, and the belief that there is a shared interest in achieving a common goal. What that goal is and what its completion will look like is something you will collaboratively define. Honesty will lay the foundation to gain trust and help you demonstrate that you have a shared interest in achieving a successful result.
Demonstrate a solid understanding of your client’s business and their goals, and combine it with your product knowledge. This will allow you to make valuable recommendations and to demonstrate that your services transcend a simple commodity, and that you are able to add value to their business because you understand it.
Invest in face to face time
This is particularly important with those stakeholders you identify as key decision makers. With busy schedules, finding the time to travel for onsite visits can sometimes be challenging. However, nothing builds relationships better than being physically present. Attitudes and behaviours that signal trust and empathy do not translate in the same way over the phone. Getting your customers to trust you can be better achieved when you spend time with them. This will also help you gain more context of their business as the opportunity to have more open conversations increases. Wherever possible, find opportunities that can lead to face to face time.
Champions make a difference
Throughout the client journey, you’ll be dealing with different stakeholders from different areas and levels of the business. Identify those who are your product champions and work closely with them. Recognising champions is key in helping you establish trust and credibility with the rest of the business. They are more likely to open up to you and share feedback with you. Nourish those relationships and use them to help you with those who you need as product advocates.
Different stakeholders will have different interests and motivations to achieve the end goal. Some will often be under pressure to deliver specific results to their business and will put this pressure on you to deliver. Taking the time to understand what these pressures and motivations are, and why they are relevant to the end goal is particularly important to demonstrate that you have a shared interest in achieving a successful outcome and, most importantly, that you understand their needs.
Find opportunities to celebrate success with your clients. Day to day delivery and project completion can often be challenging as there is stress and pressure on both sides. This can distract you from appreciating the end results achieved. It is important to recognise and celebrate success together. They will appreciate their efforts and collaboration being recognised, even if it is in a simple symbolic way.
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