It has been proven time and again that any organization will be able to grow provided they take good care of their customers and their expectations. If you are delivering value for your customers consistently, they become the ambassadors for your organization and help you expand the business as well as acquire new customers.
I am one of those fortunate ones who got the opportunity to work with a wide range of customers in terms of the following:
With all that experience, I felt the need to look back and reflect on such success stories wherein I could contribute to almost 500% growth in customer delivery accounts and analyze the failures to arrive at the key ingredients required for any delivery organization to be successful. While doing this research, I have come up with three important pillars as below:
While I was researching the past customers’ success stories and even failures, I thought about the key ingredients which any typical delivery team should have in order to make any customer happy. In this blog series, I’m going to describe the three important pillars of any success story. Take a look at the first one…
Not all customers are alike, and most of you would agree to it. Some customers look for solutions which will immediately fix their business issues and they may want to move on. On the other hand, some would look for a strategic partnership. Some will be particular about the technology stack, and some will be flexible about it. Some customers have greater depth in technologies and will have a very stringent criteria from engineer onboarding to coding standards and compliances to measuring the quality and throughput of the teams while other customers will rely on the technology partners on same.
Watch my fireside chat in which I describe the various types of customers I’ve interacted with over the course of my career. I also speak about why it is important to customize your approach towards customers as well as the Five W’s that can help your business in mapping customer needs impactfully.
One should focus on understanding the customer pain areas, various stakeholders involved, their characteristics, organizational culture, technology depth, vision, and roadmap. As you read on, I will try and unfold the key parameters for successful customer engagement and how to inculcate the value-driven delivery culture for long-term growth.
This is the very first step and it starts with understanding the customer well. The organizations who understand their customers well will always have the upper hand and will gain a significant competitive advantage if they focus on knowing and understanding the customer more than even what customers know about themselves. Yes, believe me, this holds the key to building stronger and deeper relationships with your customers.
The organizations put their time and efforts into knowing their customers well, will help them to create clear, effective approach for customer engagement and adopt a win-win strategy for the customer. Most importantly, knowing your customer well helps you to also analyze your own strengths and weakness and accordingly you will be able to focus on utilizing your strengths while you work on fixing the weak links at your ends.
Customers can be categorized broadly as below:
1. The Submissive Customer
These are the customers who are accommodative and will support you to a certain extent and will guide you in the right direction, however they will go into withdrawal mode the moment their patience is over. This type of customer might withhold complaints, even if they are unhappy. To know their feedback, you must actively ask for it. If you miss out on this, this customer could be lost without a trace.
2. The Aggressive Customer
The aggressive customer is likely to complain in a direct manner. The best approach to be successful with such customers is to go well prepared for the discussions, go with a mindset of absorbing whatever is being said by customer and always follow the approach of not reacting in the discussions, rather sleeping over the same and going back with an appropriate response with a strategy to solve the problems at hand. You would want to try active listening with this individual and explain how and when you intend to troubleshoot their problem. Whatever you do, do not come up with excuses or defensive statements while communicating with them.
3. The High-Roller Customer
This customer expects the absolute best and is also ready to pay for it. They may make complaints reasonably and are often concerned with the ‘how’ of problem-solving.
4. The Opportunist Customer
The opportunist customer seeks “winning” something that they don’t really deserve. For example, they could utter statements such as “That’s not good enough” in hopes of getting discounts and coupons. You should try sticking to regular organization standards and staying objective while communicating with them.
5. The Chronic Complainer
This customer is never satisfied. All said and done, they are still your customers and must be respected. Draw lots of patience from your reservoir and lend a sympathetic ear along with a heartfelt apology. Generally, this type of customer just wants to be heard and to know that things will improve!
This is the first step you might want to consider taking towards how you can differentiate and stand out from the competition. Now the bigger question you would ask is, “What shall I do to know my customer well?”. Well, the answer is not so straightforward, and it takes a multitude of approaches, however I’m going to talk about a few of them in my next blog, so stay tuned for knowing more about various strategies for effective customer engagement and how to implement value-driven delivery culture! Meanwhile, send us an email with your thoughts about Part 1 that you have just read.
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