As small and medium-sized businesses grow and expand their organization, sales, marketing, and customer service departments need alignment to be successful. This phenomenon, broadly recognized as revenue operations, is integral in driving profitability. Think of a business as a three-legged stool, with each leg signifying marketing, sales, and customer service. While each leg of this stool is fundamental for business success, customer service is often much less recognized than its sales and marketing counterparts. But why is customer service so important?
For 61% of small and medium-sized businesses, more than half of revenue comes from repeat customers. More critically, 89% of customers switch to a competitor if they have a poor customer experience. And because repeat customers have a dramatically lower acquisition cost (about seven times less), developing a customer success strategy can drive a business to perform better than competitors who focus exclusively on their marketing and sales.
Now, that’s not to say marketing and sales aren’t fundamental to a business; they certainly are. But customer success initiatives drive repeat business, which is significantly more sustainable and profitable in the long term, especially for small and medium-sized companies that might not be able to afford a higher acquisition cost.
The core principles of customer success:
A good customer success program is more than a monthly BOGO coupon or happy birthday message emailed to an existing customer. Not only do those tactics lack meaningful and measurable results, but they do not indicate your current customer perception. There are three easy steps you can take to develop a more robust customer success program that offers more data and information to drive your company forward:
- Pay attention to your client onboarding process. As the intersection between sales and marketing, this handoff can often be disorganized or chaotic. Whether that’s due to communication, resources, or something else, prioritizing this handoff to make it professional and well-run is integral.
- Shift the point of focus from your product or service to the customer. Similarly, decide if your current clientele is your target customer or not. This shift focuses on the relationship between the company and the customer instead of the transactional benefits, making customers feel more valued.
- Finally, integrate an opportunity for consistent customer feedback. This will fuel every aspect of your customer success strategy. Is your messaging coming across successfully? What are the perceptions of your company? The information gathered directly from customers dramatically helps you retain current clients or even create a strategy to target a different market, if necessary.
Why is customer success important?
So the question remains, what’s the payoff? While customer success can seem trivial compared to sales or marketing, they’re all equal parts of this three-legged stool that keep companies standing.
- Customer success drives new customer acquisition through referrals. An advocate will share information about your company or service with those in their network. That person is then brought into the first stage of cognitive marketing and aware of the product or service opportunity.
- Customer success informs you whether or not you’re targeting the right audience. It will also provide context to successfully move into the correct audience if your company is straying from the target market. Making your current customers feel valued while simultaneously shifting to your target audience will help generate maximum sales with minimum losses.
The key takeaway? It’s not social selling. You aren’t leveraging your network for new business or capitalizing on existing relationships to drive new business. Instead, you’re selling based on your product or service’s value proposition, and you’re prioritizing the connection between your company and the customer to facilitate meaningful interactions.
Wondering how to improve your customer service efforts to drive profitability? We have some ideas up our sleeve. Reach out to our team today to book a meeting!