Keep your customers close: Why customer success is important for business
The year 2020 – where normalcy is getting redefined.
No one could have imagined that the world would change drastically within a fortnight. COVID-19 Pandemic is something that the world was unprepared for. The outbreak has forced individuals and companies alike to rapidly the change the way they live and work. Many aspects of business and life are being challenged and the next new normal may look way different from what it was a year ago. Companies are doing their best to sail through the economic crisis thus generated by pandemic.
Customer success takes a new definition against the backdrop of this pandemic. Amidst the crisis, customer acquisition will be more challenging than ever before. For the near future, it is time for your business to focus on customer success. “Keeping your customers close” is the only mantra that keeps your business steady and the focus now shifts to strengthening the relationship with your customers. It is essential for your customers to know that you are there for them in the time of economic downturn and the relationship that you build during these times is going to be crucial for the long run. This is where the Customer Success Manager plays a major role.
Understand your customers
If you want to keep your customers close, you need to know them better.
Who are your customers? What is their line of business? Who do they interact with? What issues are they experiencing right now, in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic?
Businesses ought to face serious economic crisis during pandemic situations such as the COVID-19 or the economic slowdown that engulfs the world aftermath. During such times, businesses may be forced to shutdown due to rapid decline in sales, which will lead to chain of other unwarranted consequences like layoffs, discontinuation of service or product and so on. As a result, your customers will no longer need the product or service from you, thereby impacting your business as well. It is imperative that you and your team evaluate the customer impact during such crisis.
Segment your customers by industry, check their revenue pattern, sort them by priority, see who needs your help at first, address them (if not all, but a handful) with increasing business measures
Analyze the situation
The time is ideal for you to come up with the best solutions for your customer’s problem. But you should know where to begin. Start by performing an analysis. Brainstorm with managers and customer success representatives in your organization and evaluate the following.
- Will your customers be able to continue normal operations, like before?
- If not, how will that impact their business and their collaboration with you?
- How long can you sustain with added benefits for your customers?
- What is the likelihood your customer will go out of business as a result of this slowdown?
- How has the slowdown impacted their cashflow?
The path becomes clearer once you have answers to these questions. As a customer success manager, use this opportunity to show that you care for your customers. Deliver amazing value and build strong relationships that will last long.
The Solution – Retention is the key
Customers will be willing to ward off all those unnecessary expenditures, may let go of temporary or extra staff, stop services and software purchases, and so on. This is where you can lend an extra arm to offer them assistance by extending your services. Your customers will appreciate the support and work that you did to help them when they needed the most. You will be remembered for a longer period.
Be proactive. Reach out to your customers in need, and let them know that you are together with them to overcome this crisis.
- Offer discounts, if you can, to customers who are in deep financial crisis, until the situation improves.
- Add more features free of charge, which you think is essential to run or retain the service.
- Offer them a sustainable upgrade plan that will give them added financial advantages
- Provide extra support through various communication channels.
A 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-100% increase in profiles for your company (through referrals, upsell, upgrade or new purchase) – Source – Fred Reichheld, author of Loyalty Effect.
Retaining existing customers is the only way to keep your business afloat during crisis such as these.
Give your customers short-term free access to key modules or services to help them overcome the crisis. By doing so, they get a preview of these features and will see first-hand how it benefits them. There is a long-term benefit for you in terms of loyalty – they will be more inclined towards your business once the crisis is over.
Let your customers know that You are there for them, be it any time – either during the global financial crisis or the new normal world, that is getting redefined in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Very well put Ramesh, Great !!
I wanted to add one more point as keeping the customer informed about the progress of the situation while in the process of providing the solution. As well Make the customer understand why did problem/situation arose (root cause) and what measures have to be taken by the customer to mitigate the issue in the future as an action plan. So that we are keeping the customer trust by keeping them informed.
Excellent point, Dinesh. Thanks for sharing this valuable tip. As always you bring a different view to the table.
Thanks Ramesh. Cheers !!