In this interview, Steve Tran (VP Customer Success at DemandStar), talks about the importance of treating your customers like an extension of your family. Doing so, you’ll have the greatest chance to connect and understand your customer’s challenges and circumstances at a personal and deeper level.
In the age of constant comparison, it’s important to keep in mind that the result that your customers want is based on the problem your product helps to solve and achieve.
Background and career
Steve spent the first 10 years of his professional experience in sales, managing enterprise accounts and maintaining and growing business relationship.Following the acquisition of Onvia by Deltek, he took a more senior role in handling the post-sale relationship which he helped to improve the customer net retention.
What I liked most about these roles and functions is the trust and the genuine relationship I have built and developed over the extended period of time
When it comes to significance, Customer Success plays a pivotal role in the different functions working within the organizations. Its ultimate goal is to ensure that customers are seeing the value (internally and externally) and finding (or meeting) the results they’re hoping to achieve.
Misconception or mistaken expectations?
In a busy marketplace, genuine relationship is getting harder to establish and business is pressed for time, business growth, innovation, and dealing with competition. This trend only shows that it’s getting harder and harder to put your message in front of your customers.
Everybody would say that the organization’s main focus is to ensure that the customers are successful in the business partnership. Yes, that’s right – but don’t make the mistake of thinking that Customer Success is the only team responsible for ensuring (or delivering) the success your customers want to achieve.
Overall success is everyone’s job and responsibility. It is not just a one department undertaking, but the entire mission of everyone in the organization. Simply put – customer success is everyone’s mission and shared goal to achieve.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Customer Success is the only team responsible for ensuring (or delivering) the success your customers want to achieve
Therefore, when building out a customer success strategy, it is not something to be created once and then put to one side if no longer needed. An effective customer success strategy should support the customer from getting the result he/she wants, until he/she achieves it – and that’s what success truly is!
Delivering value and meeting customer's expectation
Having knowledge about your customers can provide a distinct advantage. Therefore, developing a healthy relationship with your customers is crucial to the success of your business.
In the current marketplace where competition is very high, the relationship you have with your clients can be a key differentiator with your competitors. Rightly so, “the quicker the customers can understand and extract value from your product the more successful they’ll be”.
As a business discipline, Customer Success is a constantly evolving process, therefore, organizations must also evolve and change. Only a truly customer-centric company understands that Customer Success is always a work in progress.
Each interaction or touchpoint w/ customers is a great opportunity for the organization to demonstrate or fulfill their brand promises
Needless to say, there are no “perfect rules” when it comes to delivering value and meeting customer's expectation, however, that doesn’t mean that organizations must fail to capture the motivations why customers want to achieve a certain business results or aspects.
Regardless of the business outcome, customers are still going to rate the company’s performance by its ability to meet their expectations (not just w/ the value they received). To uncover a customer’s motivation, the first step is to listen closely and asking the right questions.
An organization must not fail to capture the motivation of why customers want to achieve a certain business results or aspects.
If you wish to learn what a customer needs you have to invest in understanding their marketplace and the challenges they face within their industries.
Remember, it is not just about delighting customers and making them happy. It’s about making them (customers) really successful. To do that, we have to know what success means for them.
Things to consider when uncovering business desired outcome/s:
Second is paying attention to how your customers communicate or interact with your brand. This is important because if you don’t know how people see you, you might talk to them in a way that doesn’t appeal to their interests.
In addition to considering your customers’ goals and business requirements, take some time to evaluate (or assess) their sentiments you aspire to succeed, resolved and prioritized.
For better alignment, “used your customer’s words and sentiments to improve your brand messaging and quality of service”. Remember, the customer’s perception is a statement based on what they actually think of you and expect from you.
If you follow these simple steps in understanding your customer’s language, interest, desire, and motivation, you'll start to predict problems way before it happens. Hence, no more rushing to put out the fire. Used your customer’s words and sentiments to improve your brand messaging. Remember, customer’s perception is a statement based on what they actually think of you and expect from you.
Humanizing your brand efforts
How can you grow your relationships with your customers in these challenging times? Simply put, if you want your business to grow, your customers must grow too. One thing hasn’t changed despite of these changes: “people like doing business with people they like and think like them”.
Following this line of thinking, your marketing, advertising, and service efforts need to be consistent with your core values. Otherwise, your business relationship will seem pretentious and insincere.
Your best bet to emotionally connect with customers is to humanize your brand (think of them as your family).
Remember: what determines if customers will give you more business is based on their interaction with your company. Therefore, the challenge today is creating a positive customer impact (in a deep and personal level) that your company can consistently deliver and provide.
About Steve Tran
He's passionate about building high performing teams and developing an environment that allows people to expand their potential.
His expertise includes: improving customer retention, growing average contract value and business development.