You cannot approach your customers in a one-size-fits-all manner. Your customer varies by size, revenue, abilities, etc. and lumping them all together shows them you do not really understand their business and what they are trying to accomplish.
How many times have you hired a new sales person and then set them loose on a number of “house” accounts and told them something to the effect of, “these are your 100 customers, get on the phone and get engaged with them and sell them additional services.”
Even though you hired the sales person, you are setting them up for failure if they do not have an understanding of your customers' business, their needs or their plans for future growth
So how do you logically approach understanding and engaging your customers?
Listening To Understand, Not Just To Respond
Listening may be a passive process, but it also leads to active improvements for your customers and your business. But how important is listening to customers? Let’s discuss why you should listen to your customers, and why you certainly need to upgrade your customer-listening skills.
Listening to customers may be a great way for you to gather project and business focused information. Informed decisions are based on real data, not guesses and assumptions. Furthermore, listening and understanding customer needs and feedback is one of the best ways to gather business-specific data that provides understanding of your customers feelings about the products and services you offer and deliver.
By surveying and measuring customer satisfaction, you can determine shortcomings and positive experiences. Then develop course corrections that address them or promote those experiences. When you use this feedback to guide your sales, marketing, and operational decisions, your efforts are already set up for success. Remember, it’s your customers, as your best critics, that decide whether what you provide is up to snuff.
Segmenting Your Customers
Hopefully, by this point you have a strong listening to understand strategy in place. Because when you are effectively listening to your customers, you can more effectively engage with them too. Having an engagement model produces a professional and cohesive customer experience. An engagement model refers to the process of managing your customer post sales.
Depending on your business strategy, customers will fit into one of these four engagement models: High Touch Onboarding, Low Touch Onboarding, High Touch Ongoing, or Low Touch Ongoing. The different types are created by segmenting your customers into two touch categories: high touch and low touch.
By segmenting your customers into these two different categories, you will better understand the type of engagement model they fit into best. For example, a high needs customer typically belongs in a high touch engagement model. While a low needs customer sits comfortably in a low touch engagement model.
But don’t confuse high value for high needs. Segmenting your customers by value does not portray a very customer conscious business culture. Although your high value customers may make up more than 50% of your annual recurring revenue. In most cases, they will only make up around 10-20% of your overall install base.
Customer Success Engagement Models
Once you have your customers segmented into high touch and low touch, you need to decide on an engagement model. The engagement model you choose defines how often and how many touch points you have with your customer. And based on your business strategy, these touch points may be more prevalent in the onboarding or in the post onboarding stages.
High Touch Onboarding
Almost every business has an onboarding process to bring new customers up to speed. A more hands-on onboarding process with many different persons involved obviously requires a high amount of touch points. However, a high touch onboarding model needs to produce enough revenue to cover the amount of resources that the onboarding process requires.
Low Touch Onboarding
This type of engagement model requires a less hands-on type of resource, think training videos and plug and play equipment. If you choose a low touch onboarding model, then you need to have already available resources in place to successfully onboard your customer.
High Touch Ongoing
With this type of engagement model, your customer may have been onboarded with either a high touch or low touch onboarding process, but requires a high touch ongoing management approach. To properly use a high touch ongoing engagement model, you need a customer success manager (CSM). And the revenue generated from the customer needs to be high enough to cover the cost of the CSM.
Examples of High Touch Ongoing engagement:
- On-site visits
- Quarterly business reviews
- Best practices meetings
Low Touch Ongoing
As with the high touch ongoing model, the low touch ongoing engagement model may have already been onboarded with either of the onboarding engagement models. The difference here is that the engagement with your customer is almost exclusively done digitally, think email-only. To successfully use this type of engagement model, you will need to have a heavy amount of automation in place, like auto-responder emails and account alerts. Typically, this engagement model is for low needs customers or products.
Examples of Low Touch Ongoing engagement:
- Triggered emails
- Reactive engagement
Put that all together and you have a winning strategy for understanding and engaging with your prospects and customers. You can adapt these steps or use a combination of engagement models to fit your business model and company culture. The most important aspect is to make sure your engagement model costs are covered by the revenue that the customer brings in. And above all, listening should be your highest priority for understanding your customers.
As your customer’s trusted partner, you want to control and deliver positive VoIP service experiences. If you're tired of your current limitations, slow response times, and low commissions from your current reseller program, contact us today and let's see how we can help you achieve your business goals.