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Why is customer success important? (Part 1 of 2)

In 2008, the value of customer relationship overtook the value of brands – and the gap keeps growing. Businesses are now starting to see the value of repeat customers, and customer success is completely dependent on how colleagues interact with customers.

In recent years, SD Worx’s customer relationship overtook the value of its brand. In our marketplace, 74% of customers were coming to market with leads referred to by happy customers, converting at five times the normal rate.

In 2015, our customer team delivered its growth target with 80% coming from strong NPS promoters; the vast majority of these opportunities were uncompetitive. It’s pretty clear that customer success should be of paramount importance to any organisation, but how does one go about ensuring this success?

Colleague and customer relationships

At SD Worx, we use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) method to, firstly, help measure and improve our services. But it also provides us with invaluable customer feedback. It is simple to use for colleagues and customers jointly. For colleagues, the solid base assumption is that everyone wants to do a good job by attaining and embracing customer feedback.

With NPS, there are two main areas of focus:

  • Participation – Talking to customers and asking for feedback, which fuels relationships.
  • Taking action – Recognising colleagues who take action on behalf of customers is imperative.

Implementing these actions, our colleagues have motivated over 60% of our existing customers to participate in NPS resulting a score of 96%, where the industry standard is at 85%.

Growth and retention

The average customer lifespan has gone from 67 years in the 1920s right down to 15 as of today. To be relevant to customers, we need to make sure value is being delivered today and tomorrow, not just service levels agreed yesterday.

The key for delivering value to customers is not to go over-internal on analysis. It’s always useful to remember:

Do you have a positive relationship? You are in a unique position compared to the competition who are most likely to have a weak relationship.

Running NPS for nearly ten years, SD Worx uses NPS participations, followed by score to determine if we have a positive relationship. For the last three years, we have targeted building relationships with our senior decision makers. Once the relationship is positive and credible we can agree with the customer what future value looks like. Eight times out of ten, the value will fall into the three below categories:

  • Market – helping the customer deliver success to their customers in their own market.
  • Shareholder – a commercial-driven business case, with returns and risks identified over a timeline.
  • Colleague engagement (for the customer) – a category becoming more relevant. Engaged colleagues are bound to deliver customer success.

Both identifying value and the following delivery takes time. Don’t make the mistake of rushing the customer into a sales conversation before they are ready. You will not only burn the hard yards on building the relationship, but you risk the possibility of opening up an opportunity for the competition.

Look out for part 2 of Peter’s blog on how to get customers taking about you positively on Monday 11th August.