On paper, “customer success” might just sound like a buzzwordy synonym for customer retention. In practice, however, there’s a philosophical distinction that implies an ongoing relationship with customers, as opposed to just waiting for requests. Now more than ever, businesses need to adopt this kind of customer-centric approach to marketing—but where should you start?
We’ve broken down customer success marketing into three main tenets. When managed correctly, these strategies can increase retention and save you the trouble of costly reacquisition campaigns. Put simply, focusing on success instead of retention or reacquisition means facilitating a two-way relationship between your brand and its customers. As it turns out, open communication goes a long way toward increasing retention and lifetime value.
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One of the biggest distinctions between customer support and customer success is proactivity. It’s not enough to react to customer service issues or complaints; you need to be able to anticipate their needs before they do. To accomplish this, consider designating a customer success strategist or team, as keeping customers long-term is worth pretty much any effort your company can make.
This is especially important during times of crisis, like our current COVID-19 pandemic. When consumers are unsure of what to do and what to expect, brands need to step up and take action. For example, Postmates recently took initiative by offering contactless delivery to concerned customers, providing a safe way to order food and essentials while following social distancing guidelines. By introducing this policy right away rather than waiting to see sales results, Postmates established itself as a leading delivery app during a high-demand period.
Share success stories
Once you’ve implemented some early customer success strategies and seen positive results, share them! This can take many different forms: case studies, written success stories, testimonials on your website, or white papers. Or, as advisory firm Gartner suggests, you could even host “a user group meeting where you present new customer success stories that explain how organizations achieved business value with your product.”
In other words, don’t be shy about broadcasting your company’s proven results; these success stories show potential customers your long-term value. Of course, these reports will require some data acquisition and analysis, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
Don’t sell — add specific value to customers’ lives
This might go against every instinct you have, but when your business has a new product or service to promote, don’t just sell it. In other words, don’t approach users in a broad, one-size-fits-all approach that uses overly salesy jargon; it’s easy for customers to tune that out, particularly if the product doesn’t suit their lifestyle. You don’t want your customer base to get in the habit of ignoring announcements, so make sure to tailor your pitches in a way that leverages lifetime value.
As a Forbes contributor put it, “Instead of trying to sell customers everything, take the time to learn what will actually add value for them.” By focusing your marketing efforts in a way that respects customers’ time and habits, you’re more likely to keep them in the long run. And on the flip side, they’ll learn that when you’re approaching them with an offer, it’s probably relevant and useful.
For those who have been in the marketing game a long time, switching mindsets and tactics to be more consumer-centric can take some effort, but it’s worth it. If you provide value and reward loyalty, you’ll have an attentive customer base that’s more likely to stick around for a long time to come.
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