In her SaaSiest 2023 presentation, Lotta outlined her top five success factors for creating customer advocates and driving profitable growth from existing customers based on her more than 20 years of customer experience.
- Focus more on existing customers, as it is cheaper and faster to grow revenue from them versus acquiring new customers.
- Start small but think big.
- There needs to be a shift in mindset starting from top management and going through the whole company.
- You need to know your customers, and that means having good quality data and customer values and strategy aligned with company vision/mission.
- Create meaningful engagements using the 5 Rs: right person, right message, right channel, right time, right frequency.
- Define metrics/KPIs, track performance, test, and evaluate results critically so you can optimize.
- To turn your customers into fans while benefiting the business, involve them at three levels: strategic direction, product direction, and tactical and operational feedback.
- Loyalty programs are underrated and often over-complicated, but a great way to create advocates.
It starts on the inside
The first key factor is an internal shift in mindset that must start with top management and spread throughout the organization. It’s important to remember that everyone experiences change differently and, for most, change is uncomfortable. But whether we like it or not, the pandemic has pushed us faster into an era where high-quality customer experience is a must-have, not just a nice-to-have.
While many companies already use cross-functional teams, now is the time to enhance collaboration across departments. Cross-functional teams are a powerful tool to drive innovation, gain insights, and create shared responsibility and mindsets as well as a team feeling.
Develop customer-focused values separate from the general company values. The goal is to view things from the customer perspective and understand how they want to interact with your products and services.
With executive sponsorship, these customer values should be woven throughout the organizational culture via training and reinforcement. Dedicated customer experience personnel can facilitate this change management process.
Know your customers
The second success factor is developing insightful customer knowledge through data. To know your customers, you need data, which helps you become a data-driven company, along with customer strategy. Construct a customer strategy like you would build a house. Start with a solid foundation of a quality database, systems, and compliance. Then you need to have funding and resources for customer-focused activities. Those are the walls. The insulation in the walls represents aligning the customer strategy with customer values and the company’s values and mission. Finally, the rooms are key initiatives. There are many to consider, but the four most important are the communication plan, content plan, segmentation model, and customer lifetime value model.
When you have your customer strategy in place, you know your customers. Now it’s time to engage them meaningfully.
Cultivate meaningful engagements
The third factor focuses on tailored communications using the 5 Rs: right person, right message, right channel, right time, right frequency.
You need to stop screaming to all customers with everything you want to say. Make communications relevant and personalized to your target decision makers and influencers. Move from one-way broadcasting to two-way conversations on customers’ preferred platforms. Customer data and journey mapping inform when and how to engage each segment for optimal cross-sell/upsell opportunities.
Monitor and reflect
Regular monitoring, measurement, and refinement are critical for success. Clearly define key metrics and KPIs, then track performance through straightforward yet detailed reporting.
Testing is encouraged – essential even – but in a controlled manner. Don’t be afraid of testing, but be clear about what you are testing and when, and don’t test too many things at once. Analyze results frequently and decide whether to continue, stop, or optimize an initiative.
The final factor is converting customers into fans who provide ongoing feedback and function as partners. There are three levels for capturing the voice of the customer:
- Strategic direction – Customer advisory boards with key accounts provide guidance on trends, strategy, products.
- Product direction – User groups, focus groups, and online communities give input on features and enhancements.
- Tactical/operational – Surveys, social media monitoring, and feedback forums yield granular feedback.
Additionally, simple yet effective loyalty programs foster emotional connections through perks and VIP treatment. They can become powerful revenue drivers when done right.
Start small, think big
In summary, focus more on monetizing existing customers through retention and growth, since acquiring new customers costs significantly more.
Think big, but start small in pursuing the five success factors. Begin with quick wins like mapping a single customer journey or launching a feedback survey. Increase cross-functional collaboration through informal lunch-and-learn sessions.
With the right customer-centric foundation, organizations can turn satisfied customers into vocal advocates and loyal promoters. By delivering personalized experiences and continuously optimizing engagement, you can drive referrals, retention, and recurring revenue. This golden nugget of mutually beneficial relationships is the key to profitable growth over the long term.
Head over to SaaSiestTV to see Lotta’s presentation in her own words and hear her passion for customer advocacy and driving profitable growth.