A customer-oriented approach to business is fast becoming a necessary ingredient for success in today’s customer-centric economy. The idea is simple: look after your customers, and your customers will look after you.
This represents a shift from bygone eras when growth strategies were more sales-focused. What makes customer-centric growth so valuable for modern enterprises—and how can you create an effective strategy to promote it?
What is Customer-Centric Growth?
Customer-centric growth puts customers at the heart of your business strategy. While sales are always an important facet of any growth strategy, customer-centric growth means also emphasizing customer retention.
This shift is rooted in the concept that when your customers succeed, so does your enterprise. The better you can meet their needs, the more likely they will be to stay with your company, and to provide great references and reviews.
The crux of a customer-centric growth strategy involves identifying your customer’s goals and then determining the most effective ways to help them reach those goals—so that they, in turn, can help you reach yours.
5 Best Practices for Customer-Centric Growth
The best approach to encouraging customer-centric growth begins with understanding your customers and what they hope to accomplish. The following best practices will help ensure your team never loses sight of what is most important to your customers—and how it all fits together in the bigger picture.
- Give your customer data a face. Be sure your customer success team has the information they need to understand not just what your customers do or how many dollars they contribute to your revenue, but who they are and what they want. Ensure they have access to valuable, relevant customer data as well as the context necessary to acquire unique insights into how that data can be used to improve each customer’s experience.
- Never try to force or coerce customers into upsells. If at any point a customer feels tricked or backed into a corner, chances are good they will not remain your customer for long. Focusing on finding out what they genuinely need and then providing them with that establishes a foundation of trust and satisfaction that will naturally lead to upgrades and increased sales—without the risk of accidentally driving a customer out the door.
- Identify expansion opportunities with greater precision. You don’t need to push all of your customers into an upsell. You can set parameters to identify those that make a good fit for an upsell w/ the right technology. This provides for a better experience for the customer and for your team.
- Spot red flags earlier. Does Customer A need to upgrade their subscription to accommodate their growth? Is Customer B displaying at-risk behaviors, such as decreased login activity or expressing frustration with a recent purchase? These are things your team should be aware of and addressing proactively. Utilizing a platform that can track relevant metrics and automatically trigger events based on behavioral patterns—including shifts in product usage—ensures your team never misses an opportunity to provide your customers with the best possible experience.
- Connect the dots. Understanding your customers is not restricted to recognizing opportunities to prevent churn or encourage growth. Your team should be able to track, analyze, and connect data points to create a map of each customer’s journey to illuminate where they have been and, more importantly, where they will be going next. Your team should be able to identify long-term needs—and what can be done now to lay the groundwork for future success. This helps to optimize retention rates while encouraging customers to trust your enterprise.
- Craft personalized campaigns. Use customer data insights to create strategies that are closely tailored to what each customer specifically seeks. Nothing beats a personal touch. The right message, from the right person at the right time, can make the difference between a customer making a purchase or moving on in search of greener pastures.
Successfully optimizing customer-centric growth is more complicated than simply “giving the people what they want.” It means understanding what your customers want now, predicting what they will need later on, and creating a customer success strategy that paves a smooth path from the present to the future. In order to achieve that, it is vital that your CS team has a central means of accessing and sharing important data and insights.
A Platform for Customer-Centric Growth
Manually tracking and analyzing the hefty amount of data your team will need to craft and refine a customer-centric growth strategy would be overwhelming—not to mention a waste of your team’s time, energy, and professional skills. Research shows that the amount of time employees spend simply looking up information can add up to as much as a full day of work per week. A much more effective solution is to utilize a CS platform that can serve as an early warning system, facilitate communication, streamline internal processes, and suggest how to deal with various situations.
CS technology makes it easy for everyone in your organization to access the data they need, when they need it—including reports detailing how many customers are:
- In adoption and Tier 1
- Renewal approaching in 60 or 120 days
- X support tickets open
- High key feature usage—could be candidate for customer story
The right software will also allow your team to organize data via intuitive navigation and segmentation features.
Most importantly, your CS software should be customizable and scalable. While employing certain best practices can maximize your opportunities for customer-centric growth, every business is unique. Software that can be tailored to your enterprise’s specific needs will be vastly more effective than a cookie-cutter solution. Once you begin to achieve the growth you are seeking, only a scalable platform will be able to keep pace. Once you have a set of solid best practices and the software necessary to effectively implement them, your CS team will be able to focus on what matters most—helping your customers do what they do best.
Totango is a leading name in customer success solutions. If you explore Spark, you will find a customizable, scalable system that can support your enterprise as it continues to grow. Create a free trial account to get started today.