As COO at Wazoku I have a number of different responsibilities, however none of these is as important to me as the success of our customers. Not just success in terms of revenue growth (although clearly this is vital to a growing company) but success in terms of getting the best results from both our product and our service, feeling like they are each and every one our top priority.
There’s loads of stuff out there to read under many different hashtags about this topic, so I’m not going to pretend I’m reinventing the wheel here. What I want to do is provide some simple and clear tactics for those who are just starting to bring their B2B products and services to market, or for those of whom this whole area is maybe brand new and baffling.
So let’s get started with lesson #1: Manage your customer throughout their journey, don’t just focus on the contract renewal date.
So you’ve sold your product to someone – congrats – now what? Do you provide ‘top quality training services’ or ‘the highest levels of customer service’? Really? Well don’t. These things are simply expected of you, so don’t focus on them. Instead focus on the real reasons your customer chose your product – what outcomes are they actually trying to achieve by investing in you? By defining clear goals alongside your customer you can start to build a more accurate map to move them towards success.
I’ve been involved too many times where the focus is simply on ‘on-boarding’ a customer, then leaving them to their own devices – with the expectation that they will define and achieve their own success criteria. Then sending in an ‘account manager’ 90 days before the renewal date to start contract discussions. It doesn’t shock me to see customer churn rates are high in these circumstances.
So let’s define some quick steps to avoid this pitfall:
- Your first session with a new customer should be to closely define their real goals and criteria for proving ROI.
- Show the customer how you will achieve this by actually working in tandem with them, build a long term engagement plan with actions & targets on both sides. These plans can often run beyond renewal date – after all you’re both in this together for the long term right?
- Build in regular review stages (monthly best, quarterly minimum) to check on achievement of targets as well as overall ‘health’ (see future post for more on ‘customer health’)
- Don’t prioritise your customers. Make sure every customer knows they can ask you anything at any time and you’ll get straight on it. Customer Support isn’t as hard as many people make it out to be (again see my future post on this topic)
- Don’t worry too much about the renewal date – if your customer feels they have truly been successful with the product and received outstanding service, then the contract should handle itself.
Jon Landau is Chief Operating Officer, ensuring all Wazoku’s customers are successful using Idea Spotlight!