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4 crucial tips for building long-term customer success
June 12, 2023
By Lee Miles, chief customer success officer, Sitecore
Building long-term relationships with customers is key to the health and success of the business. But for too long the focus for brands has been on making sure the sales arrow always points up, when sales should just be a byproduct of the customer experience.
If the experience is done well, customers will ultimately want to make a purchase and come back for more. In fact, our research found that two thirds (66%) of US consumers have stopped shopping with a brand, following a poor experience – a testament to the close correlation between CX and sales. So, what’s the key to building long-term customer relationships?
Fundamentally, brands need to make sure that customer success is a central pilar of the organization. There are four ways they can go about this – by shifting the internal company mindset, taking a holistic view of the organization, making the best use of technology and focusing on the customer experience.
Starting on this journey may look easy in theory, but when it comes to putting each tip into practice, things can get a bit more complicated. Where do you start? What should be your focus?
1. Shift your internal company mindset
The first step is to evaluate your internal company mindset and inspire change. But shifting the mindset within an already established organization is not an easy task. To be successful you need to put your employees at the heart of the business. Changing the way the people on the frontline think about customer success is a critical first step that can only be achieved with a shift in corporate values. This means putting customer success at the heart of your company values and educating employees about the power that they hold, so that they’re not just words on a page.
2. Take a holistic approach
To operate more holistically, your entire organization needs to be aligned around a shared priority. For example, Sitecore’s key priority is ensuring customer success pre, during and post purchase and integration of our composable software solutions.
This means looking at your organization as a whole, interconnected entity and ensuring a 360-degree alignment between different teams within the business. This is exemplified in clear communication between sales and post-sales teams so that you don’t try to sell a product that a customer doesn’t need.
At Sitecore, we use these key business objectives throughout the integration, adoption and consumption cycles, to build motions around delivering value. This is always matched to incentives that drive our team to deliver value to customers holistically, not just during renewal and retention cycles.
3. Make the best use of technology
To deliver, track, and manage customer success, you need to implement tools and systems that allow you to have a single, comprehensive view of every one of your customers. The technologies you rely on should empower you to know how to engage with the customer based on where they are in their journey.
For example, systems that automate and personalize key touchpoints can allow filed teams to focus on driving the most value for your customers. In addition, you can use a dashboard that benchmarks successful customers to help your teams identify the next best steps and ensure ROI.
4. Focus on the customer experience
To provide an excellent customer experience, it’s important to realize that the relationship extends beyond the initial transaction and that it includes all the ways we engage with the customer. Customer feedback is particularly important in order to understand firsthand what works and what doesn’t, and implement changes where necessary.
However, a significant challenge that many sales organizations face is the seamless hand-off of data between marketing, sales, services and customer success. This is where technology can be again helpful in making sure all customer data and interactions can be tracked in one place that is accessible by all respectful teams.
In many ways, personalization is the cornerstone of customer success. Recognizing and understanding each customer’s unique goal is an essential step in personalization. While the members of your target market might share similar goals, your customer success team needs to be able to show your customers that they understand the unique situations and desires of each individual company. Only then can you build long-term, high-value customer relationships.
In today’s customer-centric marketplace, the top performing companies are those that prioritize customer success over sales. Building long-term relationships with customers is what makes them stand out from the crowd. By following those four tips, you can not only inspire change in your business but ensure ROI for your customers too.