By Amin Akbarpour
In my previous post, I touched on using regular, proactive outreach to have value-adding conversations that build relationships with your clients. When you’re dating, you don't often stay with someone forever without the relationship actually going somewhere. As relationship-builders for our organizations, we have the goal of turning our clients into committed advocates. At any given point, we need to know where we stand in terms of customer engagement. There are different rungs of tangible evidence we receive from our clients that help us do just that.
Rung 1: Direct Recognition
The simple and straightforward, “Hey, I like you.” Just because it's at the lowest rung doesn't make this appreciation meaningless. It's simply the first tangible and measurable action a contented client will often take. Ultimately, we should be delivering such an impeccable level of service that they feel compelled to praise the service and care we provide.
Tip – Be a detective and find out how genuine this recognition is. Identify what your clients are noting as strengths of your offering and where there's room for improvement. Close the feedback loop!
Rung 2: Social Media Praise
“Why aren't we Facebook Official?” I despise this question, but I can't say that there isn't some merit to it. If you suspect your customers just haven’t thought about mentioning you on social media, start a campaign to generate some noise from your clients. Leverage holidays throughout the year as the theme (Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day are two that come to mind). It'll make your Marketing team happy too.
Tip – Always check in with your Marketing or Social Media team to make sure you aren't duplicating efforts or scheduling a campaign for a bad time.
Rung 3: Marketing and Sales Opportunities
Ever dated someone a friend set you up with? Referrals work, and are a great way of expanding business from within your current client base. If a client is telling you they love you and your organization, ask if they know of anyone else who could benefit from a service like the one you are providing. Offer a referral bonus if your sales team is able to close that deal.
Is your customer using your offering in a unique way that might provide an opportunity for a case study? If they just told you how much they love a certain aspect of your offering or your organization's customer service, ask if you can use that as a client quote. That's something your marketing team can run with and utilize in a myriad of materials.
Tip – Keep track of these exchanges in your CRM too. It can make for great data when analyzing the quality of relationships you have with your clients.
Rung 4: $$$
No surprise here that the top rung is none other than the bottom line. A client can say the greatest things in the world about you and your organization but if there isn't growth in revenue from that account over time, something isn't adding up. Pursue any up-sells or cross-sells that make sense for the client. Are they on a short-term subscription? Approach them about expanding their commitment by signing a longer-term contract.
Tip – Be understanding that in some cases, you may have maxed out your growth potential with a client. It's important to identify this early on so as not to pursue deals that simply aren't there, waste your time and your customer’s, and potentially damage your relationship.
Knowing where you really stand is critical to any relationship. Embrace a healthy level of paranoia. A client can say all the right things, their business could be growing with you, and you could still be on thin ice as they shop around for alternative solutions. Stay plugged in, be a good detective, continue to have value-adding conversations, and watch your relationships grow.
Trying to instill the techniques and strategies within your Customer Success team that let you see quantifiable health cues? Reach out to The Success League and get your team moving in the right direction! www.TheSuccessLeague.io
Amin Akbarpour - Amin is a customer success coach and architect. With relationship-building at the core of his practice, he molds teams by instilling the necessary principles to transform them into trusted advisors. Understanding what's needed for organizational change, he translates theory and ideology into practice and habit. Originally from Southern California, Amin is a University of San Francisco alum who is grateful to still be able to call San Francisco his home.