In a highly competitive and changing business world, how can you measure the impact of your business efforts? Most companies understand there is no other way than not achieving or delivering the success their customers want.
In the wake of the pandemic (Covid 19), some existing business challenges have risen to new heights and depths. These include (1) Mitigating churn. (2) Managing and exceeding customer expectations. (3) Delivering the results or outcomes in an efficient and timely manner. (4) Understanding changing needs and challenges. (5) Communicating and engaging customers beyond the traditional way.
I spoke with Anita Toth about how businesses can avoid painful pitfalls that will cost them more time and money. Anita also shares practical steps to manage and guide customers into a type of relationship they can appreciate, trust, and value.
How did your interest in CS and SaaS begin?
When my friend invited me to invest in a SaaS platform (they were building at the time), it was there that my interest in this domain (SaaS, CS, churn) began and grew.
Although the business venture was not successful, I realized my background (as a qualitative researcher) works well in understanding customer data (feedback, interviews, VoC programs, churn analysis) and leverage this data to make creative and strategic decisions.
Understanding how these data help improve the business value becomes a critical piece of achieving meaningful business results and customer desired outcomes.
Why do customers leave (churn)?
Customers have been sold a vision of what the product can do against their current challenges or how it will help them achieve their desired success.
If customers are NOT achieving their business goals, meeting long-term objectives, or seeing improvements in their business, the consequence of this is churn. That is why it is necessary to understand customer needs and business concerns when laying the foundation for how our solution can help them succeed.
The most common reasons why customers leave are outsized expectations and not fulfilling them on the agreed time. Customers do not care which department they are engaging with – they care about achieving a goal or solving a problem. The closer you can get or achieve customers’ realities or expectations, the less likely they will churn.
Understanding customer’s reality
The best way to understand a customer’s reality is through their genuine feedback and analyzing their sentiments (conducting interviews is one of the most reliable methods of obtaining this information).
Surveys are great (we can’t undervalue their purpose). But they can only be used to some extent, such as getting a general sense of what is currently going on in the customer environment. Yet, they are not deep enough in capturing customer realities or sentiments. It’s very surface level.
What companies need today is to have a formal customer feedback strategy that uses both surveys and interviews. Adding formal interviews allows companies to ask decisive questions that get past the socially acceptable answers that customers often give in surveys.
Capturing customer feedback (the right way) helps business to:
- Understand the customer’s outright preferences, prevailing motivation, business requirements, or emerging needs.
- Understand the customer’s individual goals to corporate ones.
- Solve the customer’s urgent problems (or the most challenging ones).
- Recognize the reasons behind their customer’s behavior or reaction.
- Pay more careful attention to their customer’s satisfaction (or cause of their dissatisfaction).
- Improve relationships, business processes, or strategy enhancement.
Organizations should have a tagging system so the feedback goes to the right department. They should also discuss the finer details about it. What can they learn collectively or collaboratively? What makes the most sense about this feedback? Everyone should be allowed to review (or take a good look at) this feedback.
Ultimately, they need to act on it and prioritize which ones need attention or have the most impact on business or customer success. Doing so will help to revitalize product, service, and commitment to improving the value of relationships.
CS (Customer Success) implementation varies from company to company, but its core value remains the same. It is to add or create value (through products and or services) to customers.
It is always what customers consider significant as they are willing to spend money [in exchange] for it. Whether CS (Customer Success) has been around long enough or a new kid in the block, they help businesses measure the impact they provide on their customers.
Thanks, Anita, for taking out of your busy time to speak with me. I look forward to speaking with you in the future!