Is it possible to give your customer that first-day experience, excitement, and curiosity throughout the entire customer lifecycle?
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos devised such a goal. In his 2016 letter to Amazon shareholders, Bezos articulated the importance of this first day — one of the biggest compellers to pushing a customer-centric approach. He and many other CEOs are of the idea that customers are always looking for something better and that businesses must match that ever-growing need. The sentiment is not limited to B2C and has applications for B2B enterprises willing to let go off obsolete traditions.
As the name implies, “customer-centric” is all about creating that “custom” template that is the basis of an ongoing partnership with the goal of always adding something to the previous versions. Moreover, digital transformations are not stagnating so there are many more options on the horizon.
We saw one big spike in subscription-based businesses or better said SaaS tools. Consequently, buyers have revolved to short-term, low-risk commitments not only on their own, but also affected by marketers who have contributed to this situation with their choice of promotional material. Sometimes, not even a big yearly discount can faze a buyer’s habits. Therefore, customer revenue has become spread out in periods of renewals rather than a bulk sum in a single event.
You can’t really cut corners with customer lifetime value in such environments. A mutual relationship that grows in time needs to be looked after constantly with care and admiration. Just as you would stick by your childhood friends, customer-centricity requires you to monitor, progress and develop new ways to assist them in climbing over obstacles.
A customer-centric approach can:
- Promote new value
- Increase existing customer value
- Reduce churn
Such an implementation is not a one-time Kool-aid spray, but an organized series of implementations that will, in the end, contribute to your and your customers’ success.
Customer-centric approach reduces churn
It is not a secret that in a subscription-based business model high renewal rates are the bread and butter, and by looking to nurture long-term relationships you will notice more renewals and increased customer value. So, you need strategies to keep your customers from going astray.
Customer-centricity lowers churn as a consequence of having a strong relationship with your clients and keeping your product relevance at a respectable level. As you are able to monitor your product’s usage, you need to oversee if the product is helping your customers achieve their desired goals. Additionally, if a feature lacks value for a customer, you might want to look into suggesting alternatives or use that as a basis to develop new options. In any case, it’s also important to make sure customers do not get stuck in between your features layers. For example, your onboarding process might have had users struggling or some functionalities were not explained in understanding terms. Either way, no matter how advanced your solution if customers have a hard time getting to the door they won’t consider opening it.
Moreover, monitoring metrics directly relevant to your customer’s business enables you with material to devise useful customer engagement. For instance, if some features on your platform are rarely used, even though they are in line with the business’s needs, it is wise to create campaigns, webinars, or involve them in a series of emails to educate them on how to go about it. Customers are getting the full bang for their buck and are less likely to churn since the perceived value is kept in check. This is also a reason why you should research your buyer, as offering them unnecessary features with a hefty increase in price for the sake of selling packaged solutions is not desirable.
Buyer-centricity increases the value of existing customers
Appealing to new customers is always a crucial part of any business no matter how young or old. However, your current clients are one tier above that.
What you may consider reviewing is your priority list and have customer experience rank number one so that clients always receive value from your product’s functionalities or interactions with your team. Further insights can be extracted to evaluate needs and possible product enhancements as well as optimizations of your company’s way of interacting. There are different parts where you can mine for such knowledge — chat support messages, software performance, rate of functionalities used, rate of usage — but no matter where you choose to inform yourself, customer, customer and again customer.
B2B customer-centricity promotes new value
Retaining customers does not only cost less than acquiring new ones, but it also transforms them into “free” advocates for your brand. Keep them happy and they will bring others to you. On some forums, their reps are currently recommending you as a better choice than your competitor.
The sales and customer success departments should join hands in operating on two fronts simultaneously: keeping current customers satisfied while attracting new ones. With information shared across the team at hand, insights from either party can be used to strengthen both processes.
Therefore, your existing customer relationships are pylons dedicated to future customers. A responsive, personalized, customer-oriented enterprise will beat even well-positioned businesses that have long forgotten about offering that first-day joy.
All in all
Customer-centric marketing is not easy. While it looks rather simple in terms of requirements, the reality is a bit harsher. Many B2B CMOs are finding that achieving a sufficient level of customer-centricity is a lot easier said than done. The same goes for other subdivisions such as buyer personas — it’s not just a randomly selected segment with some interests, but requires in-depth research, knowledge of goal-directed behaviors, and, most importantly, investments, be it software or data.
Users, buyers, customers — they all desire B2B companies to be relevant to their goals so as to not feel remorse for choosing wrong. If this state cannot be achieved through deep buyer insights then all the marketing facade will be seen as rhetoric with little substance.