Read any business magazine and you’ll see one story about how a plucky young startup turned big business on its head. You’ll find tons of advice on how your small enterprise can beat the large corporates at their own game.
While these stories make headlines, they’re misleading. Don’t get us wrong; we love it when the underdog wins. We just don’t feel that the large corporates are your primary source of competition anymore.
With 99.9% of businesses in America being small enterprises, big business may be the least of your worries. Smaller companies are more adaptable and able to offer better service. They’re more likely to infringe on your business.
That’s why we’ll look at things slightly differently in this post. With 96% of clients agreeing that great service is essential to customer loyalty, we have to change our approach. It’s no longer enough to provide excellent reactive customer service; small businesses must start getting proactive and build customer success as well.
What Is Customer Success?
The concept refers to how much use your clients get out of your products. Say, for example, that your software has seven features and your client only uses two of them. Your customer success rate in this instance is low and requires attention.
Why Is Customer Success Important?
The more the client uses your product, the more indispensable it becomes. The product’s value in the client’s eyes increases, and they’re likely to be willing to pay more for it. Also, if they use every feature, it’s more difficult for them to switch to a competitor.
How to Improve Customer Success?
Here’s where you get to differentiate yourself by providing excellent service. Customer success starts at the first stage of the client journey. Whether you’re selling a product in person or online, you must match the client with the best option for them at the time.
Start by providing a comprehensive resource on your website. Think of every possible question your client might ask and ensure you answer it carefully. Include clear written and video tutorials going through each feature step-by-step.
The benefit is twofold—you create a valuable resource for clients and also help online shoppers find the correct product for their needs.
When you’re selling one-on-one, ask your customer what they need from the product. What’s most important for them? By doing this, you can zero in on the best package for them. Will you lose sales when the product’s not a good match?
Yes, but that’s the whole point. Do you want someone out there telling everyone they know how useless your product is? If you push someone into a sale that’s not the right fit, they’re not getting the value they deserve. The performance will disappoint them, and they’ll be frustrated at wasting the money.
Good luck convincing them to buy anything else or refer any clients to you. A comprehensive needs analysis at the beginning, on the other hand, clarifies the customer’s expectations and ensures that they get what they need.
Now take it a step further. Create a client roster of customers you don’t see often or those that have just made a purchase. Start reaching out to them in person, if possible, but at least via email. You could check how well the product works for them and ask them if they have any questions. The key is that this is a courtesy call, not a sales one.
Your sole purpose here is to ensure that your client is getting the full benefit and to build the relationship. You’re doing this with no hope of them purchasing, upgrading, or looking at your new catalog.
Naturally, if they ask, you may provide them with advice on other products that might suit them. Just keep in mind that this call isn’t about your business needs; it’s about improving customer satisfaction.
Why Is Proactive Service Effective?
Most of us are used to reactive service from the institutions we deal with. Unless we’re behind on our payments, or the company wants to sell us something, we don’t hear from them.
Having a firm reach out to without expecting anything in return is a novel experience. It shows that the company values their clients and that they see the relationship as two-sided. More importantly, it can stop issues that arise from causing too much frustration.
Maybe a client would like to use more features but doesn’t have the time to learn how. Perhaps there’s a small issue that they find a little annoying. It hasn’t escalated to the stage where they call support, but it impacts their satisfaction with the product.
Proactive service deals with such issues effectively and creates a stronger bond with the client. Their impression of your company will improve, and they’re more likely to become brand ambassadors.
Firms need to start approaching customer service differently. Most, if not all, companies today understand the value of providing an outstanding experience for clients. Many firms work hard to improve their offerings.
Falling behind in this critical area could leave your business vulnerable. Start considering proactive measures to incorporate customer success, and you’ll be better able to future-proof your business.