Customer Success Managers are tasked with continually staying up-to-date with user expectations and desired outcomes, as well as doing everything they can to help customers towards those goals.
While Customer Success needs company-wide buy-in, the task of customer relationship building often ends up on the CS team’s to-do list. Many great data-driven tools are helpful for scaling customer onboarding and success, but there’s one component that’s easy to overlook: the human element.
Communication is key in a Customer Success team, and the truth is that your customers want to work with people they like. Learning about customers and their goals both at work and in their spare time creates a well-rounded relationship. In turn, there’s more trust and collaboration in the long run.
How to Build Better Customer Relationships
It’s one thing to recognize the importance of building and maintaining relationships with your customers. However, relationships can be abstract. Below are a few steps you can take to make relationship building a systemized effort across your accounts and your team. Small investments, done consistently, can create a network of people who support each other on their endeavors.
The first step in strengthening relationships with clients is to make sure they know you’re dedicated to supporting them. Start by making sure they have up-to-date contact information for you across channels. You may choose to tell them those lines of communication are available after business hours as well. Another good practice here is to also provide a backup contact for your customers in the event you go on vacation or simply can’t be available. Consider a fellow CSM or a colleague in your support team.
Next, your actions need to speak louder than your words. Be diligent about responding to messages as quickly as you can, even if it’s just to acknowledge that you’ve received their message and will follow-up with you have answers (known as the no-response response). It’s also a good practice to schedule ongoing catch-up calls, even if there isn’t a pressing issue at hand. Matt Cafaro, one of our very own Customer Success Managers, thinks a worthwhile 2019 goal for all Customer Success teams is to “get more face time with your customers” in any format you can. “A regular cadence is always important for building and sustaining strong customer relationships.”
The secret to the best customer interactions? Make them feel like they’re your only customers because the information and resources you share are tailored to their life. To do this, take notes during or after each interaction.
Keep your notes in a central location regarding goals they’ve mentioned, interests they’ve revealed, motivations, or upcoming milestones. This way, you can send them tips and tools that are relevant to them. There’s no way you could remember every detail for every customer, so keeping reference notes will make your life easier.
Based on the notes you’ve taken, and what you know about a user’s goals, it’s a great practice to regularly share content that’s relevant to them. For example, you may send them an email that says “I remember that you mentioned wanting to achieve X goal/make Y improvement in your business. I’d be happy to set up a call to show you Z tool to help you do that.”
You could also regularly review your notes so that it’s easier to recall clients when you come across content. Who wouldn’t love to receive a message saying “I came across this article and thought of you – there’s an interesting point that might help you with that challenge you’re facing.”
To help keep yourself accountable and consistent, schedule time on your calendar to share valuable resources one-on-one.
Be There for Milestones
It’s great to let customers know you and your team are there for them if there’s an issue or question. There’s also value in being there for them in the good times, too. Add customers on LinkedIn so that you can stay up to date on their birthdays, promotions, and other life events.
Keeping a log of customer birthdays means you can send out hand-written birthday cards. You can also refer back to your notes to personalize holiday cards.
Cast a Wide Net
When possible, foster relationships with multiple people within a company. You may start with an initial point of contact, but it’s useful to befriend other team members as well. Just ask your contact who else is using your product, and ask them to pass your information along in case there are questions.
This way, you’re able to learn about company goals from different perspectives, understand how a customer’s team works together, and create a group of staunch supporters of your product.
Shine a Spotlight on Customer Wins
Offline behaviors are important for user adoption, and positive actions and customer wins should be celebrated! Call attention to goals met, progress made, or lessons learned. Highlight customer achievements with your audience in the form of case studies or testimonials. Another way to use customer wins for the good of the entire community is by asking customers to write a guest blog or speak about their experience. You can also get a few of your team members to pitch in on writing a private message for more shy customers.
Customers will feel good about their success, and their peers will feel motivated to reach their goals as well.
Bring the Group Together
Let customers know not only do you have their back, but there’s also a shared experience between your whole community. Create a customer-to-customer community that useful for collaboration, sharing best practices and advice, and learning. Bringing your customers together into a single community is also the perfect opportunity to learn their needs and opinions on a broader spectrum.
By scheduling time for small, consistent gestures over the entirety of the customer relationship, you transform your company from a tool into a complete resource in the eyes of the customer. Rather than merely being a product used to get the job done, you become a trusted resource that customers look to for guidance.
Want to learn more about Customer Success from your peers? Check out our Success Masters Community.