Culture is defined by actions. It is a tangible presence customers can see and feel in the way you engage them, respond to them, and present the product. Creating the right culture within your enterprise is, therefore, a matter of giving employees the right customer success tools and establishing best practices for using them.
In today’s digitized, subscription-based environment, these best practices are based on finding out all you can about your customers and then using that data to create a customer-centric experience. This way, every customer interaction is informed by as much personal information as possible. Creating a customer-centric culture means encouraging customer success teams to shape their everyday workflow around delivering customer lifetime value.
Why a Customer-Centric Culture Matters
Zoom CEO, Eric Yuan, is so committed to creating a customer-centric culture that he spends up to 70% of his time personally engaging with the video conferencing vendor’s customers. Mr. Yuan says he prioritizes nurturing existing customers above searching for new ones and that this commitment is integral to Zoom’s success. In practical terms, Mr. Yuan has built a culture that values customer engagement above sales quotas and long-term customer growth above securing new business.
Such a dramatic shift in business priorities requires a change in company behavior that can seem daunting. To make it easier to understand how to go about creating a customer-centric culture, we’ve put together a list of strategies that will help your enterprise focus on its customers:
- Share knowledge and responsibility across the enterprise
- Use the right customer success metrics
- Proactively engage customers
- Prioritize lifetime value
Succeeding in a recurring revenue environment depends on ensuring your customer is continually satisfied, and these best practices will help you do just that.
Share Knowledge and Responsibility Across the Enterprise
In order to create a customer-centric culture, you need every team member to contribute to and take responsibility for customer satisfaction. That means giving everyone access to the customer success platform and ensuring they log all relevant customer data. This strategy encourages cross-functional engagement and lets the customer know that their experience is important to every member of the team.
The voice of the customer is heard in every piece of information you collect. From usage rates to escalations, from feature adoption to survey responses, the customer is always telling you about their pain points and expectations. All you have to do is monitor the flow of data and proactively work to keep the customer happy.
Use the Right Customer Success Metrics
A customer-centric culture means putting greater emphasis on long-term metrics and practical business ROI. The customer success metrics you should monitor include:
- How engagement affects revenue
- The customer’s use of the product
- The customer’s product ROI
As a recurring revenue enterprise, your growth is tied to the growth of the customer. It’s important to measure your success against metrics that have a direct impact on how the customer uses the product.
Proactively Engage Customers
Don’t get trapped in a reactionary cycle of customer engagement that leaves you one step behind the customer’s expectations. Waiting until problems arise or generic milestones are achieved to take action means falling out of touch with the customer.
Instead, you should be tracking where your customers are having issues and identify where there is room for growth. You can map the customer journey to visualize the success cycle and improve the customer experience.
Similarly, you can use your experience with previous customers to anticipate potential bottlenecks and common obstacles. This allows you to offer solutions before the customer even realizes they have a problem.
Prioritize Lifetime Value
The customer-centric model requires you to think of customers in terms of lifetime value rather than short-term transactions. Customer expectations are higher than ever due to the rise of highly responsive companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. As such, it’s critical that your enterprise provides customers with continued satisfaction and growth. Companies have to reshape themselves in the customer’s image in order to respond to and predict their needs.
Some ways you can more effectively engage customers in order to maximize lifetime value include:
- Comprehensive, continual monitoring of customer behavior.
- Rapid response to customer behavior or escalations.
- Proactive communication about product updates.
- Personalized customer engagement.
- Optimized customer onboarding.
Don’t think of your customers as quarry to be won in a single sales event. Rather, think of it as a valuable relationship that needs constant, lifelong attention.
Create a Company-Wide Customer-Centric Culture
It’s important that your entire enterprise embraces a customer-centric approach. At its core, this means trying to change the dominant mindset within your organization to place the customer at the center of everything you do.
After all, your business’ success and your customer’s success are inextricably linked. In order to achieve your business objectives, you need to understand your customers, meet their needs, and keep them happy long-term. Team members need to view customers as unique individuals and deliver a personalized experience that will make customers feel valued.
Every person in your organization, from sales to HR, plays a role in creating and maintaining this customer-centric culture. Each department needs to acknowledge their role in putting the customer first, listening to their feedback, and responding to questions. Your enterprise cannot succeed unless your customers do, and it’s critical that every member of your company understands this reality.
Successfully Creating a Customer-Centric Culture
As Eric Yuan and his Zoom team proved, a customer-centric culture is the best way to achieve ongoing recurring revenue success. By prioritizing the customer experience over customer acquisition and by using a customer success platform to learn everything possible about the customer, you can establish the right conditions for ongoing growth.
A customer-centric culture is made up of practical actions team members undertake every day. If you employ the tactics described above, you can make your customers feel valued and important every day —which they most certainly are.