Darren describes how an article in the Harvard Business Review stimulated his thinking on how businesses are coping with customer success during the pandemic. The article has reinforced his belief that “customer service is the new marketing” and that it is not enough for a supplier’s account manager to simply call a client and say, “how’s it going?” There is not a lot of value in doing that for both the supplier and the time-poor client.
Instead, the account manager should be calling with ideas on how to improve the customer’s business. Richard agrees and makes the point that by providing better customer service forward-thinking businesses don’t simply protect a relationship to reduce churn, they take a proactive approach to building value for their customers, which “cultivates customers for life.”
The steps for customer success management
Darren and Richard describe the four practical steps required to make better use of CRM, so that a supplier can convert its account management into a higher value customer success management, which “thoughtfully strengthens customer relationships”:
- Commit to ongoing optimisation and fine tuning of your CRM system to evolve your business processes to fit changing market conditions.
- Integrate your CRM with your accounting system to allow a full commercial and communication history of an account.
- Analyse where your clients are today and where they might be in the future, which requires that the account manager has some broader business experience and strategic thinking skills.
- Focus on account retention and customer success first to learn more of your customer’s needs, which in turn informs promotional activities and improves new business development.
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