Part 2: The Importance of Understanding Customers to Become Their Champions
In Part 1 of our two-part series, we discussed some important steps for better understanding your customers. Having a happy customer is one thing, but how do you go about creating a relationship with a customer where you both feel like each other’s champion? Taking the relationship to the next level where you fight for a customer on the front lines during internal discussions may seem strange at first, but it can be well worth it when in the future the customer fights for you to win new business through referrals, testimonials, and more.
Let’s look at how you can take a customer relationship up a notch and be their champion internally.
- Once trust is built, align yourself with their business priorities. When you finally get on the same page with a customer and you want to help them even further, it’s time to get a better understanding of their overall business goals and expectations. After all, if you want to go somewhere, you need some form of direction. Ask about their three- and five-year plans, if they have them, and how the company interacts with other business partners. These questions will give you a better idea on how the business thinks long-term.
- Create dialogue in comfortable ways so they open up. It’s one thing to have a map with a direction, it’s another to learn why they’re truly heading down a particular path. To find out reasons instead of just plans, make your customer comfortable by creating an environment conducive to open dialogue. Instead of trading emails, offer to video chat or visit their office if appropriate. These more personal next steps can be huge in obtaining information—such as the true health and state of the customer—that probably don’t show up in a PowerPoint.
- Devise a realistic plan for mutual success. Now that you know all about a customer, it’s time to create a plan that works for both of you. How can you configure your product or needs to meet the long-term goals of your customer? How can the customer help to grow your business (joint speaking appearance, sponsored webinar, etc.) so you can fund these efforts? The champion relationships between a business and their key customers should be a two-way street that works for everyone involved.
The relationship between a business and a customer can be beneficial in more ways than just on a balance sheet. When a customer and a business have open, honest, and transparent communication, it creates opportunities for both parties to grow and thrive. Your customer relationships are truly your greatest asset!
About the Author:
Tamiko Fletcher is the VP and Head of Sales at TeamSupport. A dog enthusiast, she’s held key business development leadership positions at major companies for over a decade.