Years ago in Westwood, California, a mother and daughter owned a retail store that sold personalized gifts. Customers could purchase gifts and jewelry that could be made unique and more meaningful with the simple addition of a name, date, or even color scheme. Before Google and Facebook and other AI technology could predict what you want based on your past purchases — even back when my mother and grandmother owned that little California retail store — one thing was clear: personalization is powerful.
At my mom’s store, personalization meant adding a name or personal touch to a physical item, but we can also think about it in the context of customer relationships. When your company can predict a customer’s needs, you have the basis for a long-lasting customer relationship: a personalization of their experience that inspires trust and appreciation.
Paying closer attention
How to get there? How can you understand your customers well enough to know not only what they are buying now, but what they might want to buy next? If you’re going to predict your customers’ needs, you need to get a firm grasp on how they are interacting with your products and services throughout their journey.
Start with the people at your company who interact with customers the most–usually marketing, sales, and customer support, and if you have a separate onboarding group for new customers. They are on the front lines with customers day to day, privy to the reasons customers are making purchasing decisions and aware of all the different (and repetitive) issues that come up for them.
This information is powerful and key to building enduring customer relationships. Take full advantage of your team’s facetime with customers by asking them to use the following questions to guide their interactions:
- Could this issue have been caused by a change in the customer’s organization, and has this type of change affected other customers in the same way?
- When similar customers have experienced this problem, what decisions were made and were they successful?
- Is the product being used as intended?
- Are there any early indicators that a different or additional product might be right for this customer in the future?
These questions all ask the same thing: where will we go next on our journey together? When building a relationship with a customer, understand how they are interacting with your product currently, how they might interact with it in the future, and what else your organization can offer. Help your customers grow — so that you can grow right alongside them.
Sharing is caring
Customer-facing team members should not only be increasing their own knowledge about the customer journey; they should be sharing it with the whole organization. Each person will have slightly different experiences and unique insights that, when combined with the rest of the team’s knowledge, will form a more complete picture of where each customer is in their journey.
Record this important information and try to identify quantifiable data points that can be tracked over time. For example, a software company might notice that customers with a staff of ten people or less are usually satisfied with their basic package, but once their staff exceeds ten people they begin to have issues that are solved by an upgrade to their next service tier. The software company can instruct their sales team to only offer the basic package to customers with less than ten people and suggest an upgrade to an existing customer who has recently grown over the ten person limit. They might then track how successful these changes were in terms of customer longevity.
As you track this type of information and organization-wide patterns begin to emerge, your predictions about customer needs will become more powerful and your success repeatable.
Connecting customer success to customer
Personalizing the buyer experience for your customers is about so much more than just making a sale. Demonstrating that you see and hear your customers’ needs — and are willing to act on them — makes all the difference in the world. Showing customers that you are invested in their success and want to give them what they need to grow, fosters customer and loyalty.
Do you want to grow with your customers and implement a personalized buyer’s journey, but need help getting started? 3C Communications has half-and full-day workshops to help your teams build solid, lasting customer relationships. To learn more, contact us for a consultation.