As someone who has been in customer-facing roles for a while, I know what it’s like to experience a dissatisfied customer.
My job is to ensure that the customers successfully reach their objectives, receives continual value, remain happy, and are satisfied with our product or services.
Over the years of doing this work, I’ve developed a system that almost always ensures the customers I care for are walking away from the experience feeling seen, heard, and understood.
Here are eight tips I’ve compiled that, when followed, will keep your customer happy.
1. Create a Good Relationship With Your Customer
This may seem like a “no brainer,” but it isn’t. So often, we think that onboarding a new customer is enough, but maintaining a communicative relationship is vital.
Understanding customers’ issues and how your product can solve them is essential in maintaining these relationships. So, yes, you’ve sold them on the product, but how will you put your money where your mouth is and PROVE to them that your product adds value?
Think of this tip in the context of having children (no, I am not calling customers children). You want to take care of your children. Do you want them to know they can express their needs to you and have confidence that you will learn how to fulfill those needs? It’s the same dynamic here. You want your customers to know they can count on you to empathize with their issues and then solve them.
2. Relational Intelligence
HAVE EMPATHY! I cannot stress this enough. I might repeat myself a few more times throughout this blog post. Empathy is where it’s at.
Dealing with customers involves conflict resolution. It’s a massive part of the job. You have to empathize with the customer’s issues while understanding your relationship with that individual customer. Not all customers need the same thing or operate differently, so it’s important to know your unique relationship with them.
Seeing the customer as a human being is pivotal in keeping them happy, as simple as it sounds. This may seem like an obvious concept, but it’s often overlooked. You must understand that customers are not just numbers and metrics but humans trying to perform a job. Your consultation will help them do just that.
3. Conflict Resolution
This one deserves its own heading for obvious reasons. Customers you sign on will ALWAYS have issues to resolve. Conflict resolution doesn’t only test your ability to think swiftly, but your communication and empathy skills (did I not say I’d be bringing empathy up again?).
I like to ask customers how they want to communicate. For example, do they prefer e-mail, phone, slack, or text? This allows me to serve them better to make them most comfortable, allowing me to learn how they communicate.
When it comes to conflict resolution, COMMUNICATION IS KEY. You want the customer to know you are on their side, all about helping them, and that you are getting things done for them.You listen when there is nothing you can do for them (which is a HUGE part of communication). Understand that sometimes, customers will recognize that nothing can be done, but they will want to share their frustrations. Allowing that space for them to do so is a part of conflict resolution.
Side Note: If there is a conflict you can not directly solve, take time to listen, learn, document, and build a playbook that will support that problem next time it occurs.
4. Be Compassionate/Show Compassion to Customers
Are you following the pattern yet? Empathy and compassion are integral pieces of customer success and satisfaction. Honestly, I don’t even think I need to elaborate on this puzzle piece. But, without compassion, none of these other tips will help PERIOD.
5. Build Rapport
Building rapport is different from building a relationship. You can create a business relationship with someone and not have any rapport with them. However, getting to know customers as people and learning a little about their interests outside of the company can go a longer way than you can even fathom. Understanding and knowing customers personally will build trust. You want a more profound faith than just the “I trust that he or she can get the job done.” You want the “I trust that this person knows me as a human and has my best interests at heart because he or she knows my child’s first name” type of trust.
When you have a rapport with the customer, they may be less likely to ghost you and appreciate when you send them relevant information. You can also build a long-lasting relationship that will keep the customer happy and loyal to your business. Even if you mess up once, they will know who you are, and vice versa, and they will be less inclined to find business elsewhere. Although we don’t ever want to make crucial mistakes, they sometimes happen because we are human. When customers see your humanity, they will be more empathetic back to you. That is where building rapport comes in.
6. Build an Amazing Team
What happens when you or another CSM are out of the office? Your team has to step in, of course. Building a team that carries over the same values you do when helping customers is important. You want your team to reflect the same empathy, understanding, and compassion for the customer regardless of who owns the realationship. All it takes is one bad experience with someone other than yourself, and the customer's positive sentiment starts trending in the opposite direction. If you're a CS leader, your team directly reflects you, so make sure you are building a team that empathizes, values, and respects the customer as much as you do.
Imagine a car with four wheels. If three of them work impeccably, but one is hanging off, the entire car stops moving efficiently. Your team works the same way! Coach your team, and give them the resources needed to do their jobs right. This will grow your business, but it will ensure that existing customers receive the same service and consultation no matter who they speak with!
7. Understand Why Customers Are Customers in the First Place
Customers signed on with you to see success. That is your job. They didn’t spend money to be your customer simply because it’s something fun to do. You have a job to do, which entails ensuring your customer's success. When they succeed, so do you. The relationship is symbiotic.
When you can understand each customer’s vested interest, you can better help them achieve the goals they signed on to accomplish with you. This is a beautiful relationship! Know what motivates them individually because each customer has a unique goal, but you both have a shared interest in ensuring their success!
8. Communicate with Other Team Members in Other Departments
You HAVE to know what’s going on within the company you work for. You have to know what’s going on in Marketing, Sales, Product, and Finance. When you keep up with everything within the company on a holistic level, you can better serve your customer. For example, be in the know about what’s coming down the pipeline for the Product department. Is there a new product in development that could crush your customer’s goals? Having this information at the ready and keeping up with the company's current events will only allow you to serve your customer better while also understanding the company you work within.
This list of tips is not exhaustive. I’m sure there are many more tips for keeping your customer happy, but these are the ones that have helped me become successful in my career. When I look back on all my customer interactions and experiences, at least one of these tips has helped maintain my customers' satisfaction, happiness, and success. After all, when they’re happy, so am I.