Federica Tedesco, Product and Implementation Manager here at VROMO, explains the importance of creating a customer-centric product. She also includes tips on how to acquire and retain customers.
‘If you don’t acquire and retain customers, you won’t survive’. That’s a pretty strong statement, yet I suppose we can all agree it’s true for every business. At the end of the day, if your product is not used/adopted or serves a purpose to the end user, what’s the point of even bothering?
Now, I get it, probably this intro is not hooking you enough, after all I’m not a professional writer! However I’d suggest to continue to read this anyway if you have a spare a few minutes, at least it would save your eyes from continuous unconscious feed scrolling for a little while and hopefully you’ll find some useful insight too! Also your brain will thank you! (check this)
Then how can we acquire and retain our customers?
That’s a good question! I remember back in the days, right before a university exam the lecturer said that very often the answer is in the question itself, read it carefully, even backwards if needed and that it’ll help you with that. If we tried to apply that logic here: ‘What can we do to acquire and retain our customers’? Quite clear the answer would be in the ‘customers’ so ‘focus on your customers’. Easy enough, but probably not as straightforward as it sounds.
Our customers should be our focal point and it is key that the business invests as much effort as possible to understand their voice on a deeper level.
Keeping the focus on the customer is vital in order to provide a positive experience and build long-term relationships; these will lead to developing trust, loyalty and a solid reputation that will eventually increase customer satisfaction.
Image credit: superoffice.com
High customer satisfaction promotes product loyalty and when that happens, the probability of positive referrals through word of mouth will increase and that should in turn drive incremental sales. It is in fact true that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer according to research from Deloitte #1 and Deloitte #2
Image credit: customerthink.com
This intent is extremely meaningful and it sounds quite obvious in theory, but how can we make this happen and become more ‘customer-centric’ in practice?
Here Forbes lists the 100 Of The Most Customer-Centric Companies. It would be cool to be included in this list I suppose…
Chances are nobody is born cool, but everyone can definitely become cool (here read ‘Customer-Centric’ 🙂 ) by starting to focus on a few things:
- Make sure that all the internal stakeholders are aligned on this and commit to the success of your customers. Have this as company value too if that helps, so it’ll be easier for everyone to refer back to it. Without understanding the ‘Why’s’ in first place, it’ll be indeed hard to keep everyone committed and motivated.
- Communicate with customers regularly and be honest with them: obvious enough, but if we don’t understand their goals, their struggles and their requirements how can we make sure we’re helping them? Also, it’s important to be trustworthy and honest: better to be realistic and risk disappointing a customer sooner rather than giving them wrong expectations you can’t meet. That will ruin your credibility and reputation and produce more damage in the long run.
- Value emotional intelligence and lead with empathy to anticipate customers’ needs. Put yourself in their shoes and try to look for their next problem to solve, not which product to sell.
- If you’re deciding on a feature to launch or whether to pursue a partnership, ask yourself “Does this help our customers?”. Try to be as real as possible when answering this question. Avoid to rush a ‘yes’ just for the sake of motivating something that the team prefers to work on. Recognizing the answer is ‘no’ earlier rather than later will save you teams’ energy, effort, time and money that could be invested in something more valuable.
- Look after them beyond purchase: having an onboarding process in place and easy access to support is a great way to look after them and show some ‘love’. Make it easy for them to get in touch with you or ask for help when they need to.
- Keep them engaged and informed proactively Here are some good ways of doing that: inform your customers where new features are released, let them know when the bug they raised has been fixed, ask them questions when mapping out requirements, get their product feedback and make sure that everything is captured internally so you can release continuous improvements, share your product roadmap and make them aware when their requested feature is expected to be worked on.
Proactively engaging with your customers will also help to build a positive customer experience, which should be a focal point from a product perspective too. Since the customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand throughout their journey, it’s clear to understand that a happy customer will most likely become a loyal one who can cooperate with accelerating revenue growth.
At VROMO we truly value the importance of being customer-centric and understand the long term benefits this has. Having said that, are we there yet? Probably, as much as I’d love to answer a firm ‘yes’, I personally value transparency too and so there’s always room for improvement!
We strive and are committed to continuously improve the way our teams are working and aligned so that our customers can benefit from this too; product feedback we receive makes it to our ‘Product Suggestion Board’ (and we are working on making this easier to submit too), we validate suggestions and inform our customers whether they are making it to our roadmap, we offer 24/7 customer support and have monthly check-ins with our customers where we review and uncover any potential roadblocks just to mention some…
We appreciate we are not perfect, and sometimes it does happen to fall short, however when/should that happen, rest assured that our team is available to listen and discuss what went wrong and to help to make the VROMO experience as positive as we can… and that, right now, feels like we’re going in the right direction!