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  • Debbie Schwake

Customer Experience: Planning for Customer Growth

Updated: Mar 15



Beyond the Sale: How Serving and Retaining Customers Paves the Way for Predictable Business Growth



Today, we're wrapping up our journey through the customer experience series. In this series, we've explored the pivotal role of the customer-centric strategies that fuel your business growth in 2024. In this final installment, we delve into the essence of customer growth, a phase many businesses mistakenly approach as the starting point.





Our exploration has been structured into three integral parts, emphasizing that growth is not the beginning but a consequential phase that follows two critical steps: serving and retaining your customers. Let's briefly revisit these stages before diving into the growth strategy that transcends traditional sales conversations.


1. Serving Your Customer: The initial step involves meeting and exceeding customer expectations. It's about delivering on your promise when they become your customer.


2. Retaining Your Customers: Retention is about ensuring your product or service aligns with your customers' changing needs and continually helps them achieve their objectives.


Having laid this foundation, we now approach Customer Growth, the crescendo of our series. While a sale defines growth from your perspective, it should never feel like an overt tactic for your customer. If you have first listened to your customers and heard their growth ambitions, you can then thoughtfully suggest products or services from your portfolio that align with their goals. This process should be a natural progression of your relationship, a testament to your attentiveness and commitment to their success.


Growth Through Genuine Engagement


Imagine growth as an extension of your helpfulness, a way to further empower your customers in reaching their goals. You must first develop a deep understanding of their objectives, challenges, and the solutions they seek. Introducing a new product or service should never catch them off guard but rather be a welcome suggestion that fits seamlessly into their growth trajectory.


Introducing a new product or service should never catch your customer off guard but rather be a welcome suggestion that fits seamlessly into their growth trajectory.

Why is this important? Customer growth should be a very predictable part of your revenue pipeline. When your sales or account team is deeply in tune with your customer's objectives, it will not be surprising when the customer ends their contract, continues their contract, or adds new services. The trust you share when your conversations are focused on the customer's business outcomes makes these discussions feel very natural to your customer. This is especially true when you've earned the coveted title of "Trusted Advisor."


The Role of a Trusted Advisor


What if your current offerings don't align with your customer's next growth phase? This is where you transcend the traditional vendor-client relationship and become a trusted advisor. If you know a product or service that can propel your customer towards their goal, introduce it. Your ultimate aim should be their success, not just the sale of your products or services.


The synergy between your offerings and your customers' objectives is the cornerstone of effective growth strategies. This alignment ensures that every product or service you recommend genuinely supports their ambitions, reinforcing their trust in you as a partner invested in their success.


Customer Experience > Customer Growth


As we conclude this series, remember that customer growth is a nuanced journey beyond mere transactions. It's about fostering relationships, understanding needs, and genuinely investing in your customers' success. I invite you to explore this topic more through my other blogs, where I delve deeper into creating meaningful customer experiences.


Thank you for joining me on this journey. 


If customer growth is a key strategy for your company in 2024, contact me to learn how a Customer Journey Map can help. 



 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) : Customer Experience + Customer Growth


What specific customer experience steps can companies take to transition from a vendor to a trusted advisor? 


  1. Learn About Their Work: Take the time to really understand your customer's business. What challenges do they face? What are their big goals? Knowing their work inside out means you can offer advice and solutions that make sense for them.

  2. Be Ahead of the Game: Don't just wait around for them to tell you what they need. If you see a problem they might run into or a new opportunity they could take advantage of, tell them about it first. Demonstrate that you're really invested in their success, not just making a sale.

  3. Teach, Don't Sell: Shift your focus. Instead of trying to push products or services on your customers, help them learn something new. Share insights about trends or technologies that could help their business. When you're more about giving knowledge than making a quick buck, they'll start to see you as a go-to resource.

  4. Be Reliable: Building trust takes time. Make sure your products and services always hit the mark. If you say you're going to do something, make sure it gets done. Being someone they can count on goes a long way in becoming a trusted advisor.

  5. Keep the Lines Open: Make sure they know they can talk to you about anything—good or bad. Listening to their concerns and feedback shows you care about more than just the sale. It's about the relationship for you.

  6. Tailor Your Approach: Remember, one size doesn't fit all. Each customer is different, so take the time to personalize your approach. Show them that you're paying attention to and value their unique needs and challenges.

  7. Think Long Term: Prove that you're in it for their success down the road, not just what you can get from them today. Sometimes, this might mean recommending something better for them in the long run, even if it's not the best deal for you right now.

  8. Act on Their Feedback: If they give you feedback, use it. Making changes based on what they tell you proves you're listening and value their input. It's a great way to strengthen your relationship and build trust.


How can you ensure your new products or services align with their customers' growth trajectories?


To ensure that your new products or services genuinely align with your customers' growth trajectories, start by deeply understanding their business goals, challenges, and the specific outcomes they're aiming to achieve. This understanding comes from continuous, open dialogue with your customers about their long-term objectives and the hurdles they face along the way.


  1. Engage in Active Listening: Regularly schedule check-ins with your customers to discuss their current projects, plans, and any shifts in their industry that might affect their business. Don't sell; listen and gather insights.

  2. Solicit Feedback: After introducing a product or service, ask for feedback to see if it meets your customers' needs and expectations. A feedback loop is crucial for adjusting your approach to best serve them.

  3. Analyze Data: Use data analytics to track how your customers interact with your products or services. Look for patterns that indicate success or areas for improvement, and adjust your offerings accordingly.

  4. Collaborate on Solutions: Work with your customers to co-create solutions. A collaborative approach ensures that the products or services you're developing are aligned with their current needs and flexible enough to adapt to future challenges.

  5. Educate Your Team: Make sure your sales and customer service teams are well-informed about your customers' industries and specific business goals. This knowledge enables them to recommend the most relevant products or services that align with each customer's unique growth trajectory.

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