Insightly Insider - You Closed the Sale, Now Keep Your Customers Happy for the Long Haul
You closed the sale! Awesome job! Now onto the next one...but what about that new customer? Too many businesses close the sale and have very little interaction with customers after. Unless there’s a problem, customers are not likely to reach out to you either. And, why should they?
Whether you’re running a B2C or B2B company, your customers’ experiences with you and your team can define success or failure. Happy, satisfied customers stick around, while unhappy customers look elsewhere. And most turn to competitors. Keeping your customers engaged, satisfied, and coming back for more means prioritizing the relationship with a customer-focused culture and always listening to customer feedback to keep improving your product.
Hi, everyone! I’m Teresa and I am a member of the Customer Success team here at Insightly. I’ve executed major marketing campaigns for a handful of fortune 500’s and I am excited to share my tips on how you can keep your customers happy and engaged after making the sale. During the next 90 minutes I'll post my insights in 3 parts and will be in the community, live, taking questions. Please post your comments and questions below (don’t forget to login). I’d love to hear best practices from you on how you keep your customers engaged and happy!
Your sales team has spent hours, days, maybe even weeks or months bringing in a new customer. Now what? You need to have a plan in place to educate your customers on how they can get started with services/products. This is typically referred to as onboarding and it is critical with new customers. Depending on how many people you have on your team and the number of customers you have coming in each week, you could have various forms of onboarding. Here are a few examples of some common forms of onboarding:
- Self-Service: This is the most scalable method of onboarding and continuous learning allowing customers to move at their own pace. With self service training, you need to ensure you have robust training materials that are clear and easy to understand all housed in an easily accessible place. You should offer various methods for learning as no two people learn in the exact same way. I, for example, am a visual and auditory learner so seeing videos and gifs within a text article are very helpful for me.
- One-to-Many: Webinars are a great example of one to many training where you can reach many people at one time. If you have a standard way of using your service/product, this is a great way to onboard customers while reaching many people.
- One-on-One: If your team is big enough, you can setup one-on-one meetings to help customize the onboarding process for each customer. These specialized trainings focus on the unique customer’s use case of your service/product. This is the most time consuming method of onboarding but keep in mind, it could be your most valuable method with certain customers.
A hybrid approach of these three types of onboarding might be best for you depending on the size of your team and the number of customers you have. I’m also happy to give you my feedback if you’re having trouble deciding what type of onboarding and ongoing communication is best for you.
The channels for customer interaction seem to grow every day. Social media, email, phone calls and other dialogue produce meaningful insights and outcomes that define the customer experience. A negative tweet can’t only be the concern of the Marketing team. Every time a customer reaches out to your business, the sentiment they share should be measured, shared and analyzed. Most importantly, you need to keep the lines of communication open.
Here at Insightly, we keep our customers informed via a myriad of options: our Help Center (which you already know about since you’re here!), emails, in-product messaging, social media, our blog, etc. It is important to keep in mind that just like learning methods, each of your customers are different when it comes to their preferred way to communicate. Using different methods to keep your customers in the know helps ensure no one is left in the dark. You should also reuse content from one medium to the next so you’re workload is not increased exponentially as you bring in new ways to talk to your customers. If you have a great blog post on a new feature, direct customers to that blog post via social. Don’t make more work for yourself than necessary.
Now that you are actively working to keep customers engaged and informed, you need to be sure your message is relevant to each recipient. My rules of thumb are:
- Keep it simple: A clear and concise message that gets to the point is not only more likely to grab the attention of your customers but also respects their time. Complicating a message is the best way to have someone disregard whatever you are trying to say.
- Personalize your message: Where possible, keep your message tailored to the needs of your customer.
Don’t overdo it: With so many channels for communication, it’s easy to throw too much info at your customers and overwhelm them. Keep it simple in both your message and your frequency of communicating with them.
This is the most commonly neglected aspect of keeping customers happy and engaged. You aren’t managing accounts or clients. You’re working with people. People respond to personalized service and businesses that actively try to improve their lives. If you’re not helping your customers, they will leave and if you’re not treating them as people, they will eventually leave.
Sharing customer info and feedback throughout your company – and making it easily accessible – ensures that employees can speak to customers on a personal level. More than anything else, a personal connection keeps customers engaged. Personalized service will make your company stand out from the pack and attract prospective customers looking for something more from the companies they give their money to. A few examples of simple ways to personalize the customer experience include:
- Recognizing customer milestones
- Sending tips and best practices based on their industry
- Directly thanking customers with a gift for their feedback on review sites - good or bad as harsh reviews can oftentimes give you very helpful info on how to improve
When getting personal, I always put myself in the shoes of our customers. If there’s no value to the customer, then why am I sending this email? And when I do communicate with our customers, am I being clear enough on the benefits to them? If you are, then send away! Once you have personalized your messaging to your customers, you need to ensure you keep an open dialogue with them. Here at Insightly, we have our Help Center where customers can learn how to use Insightly at their own pace, share best practices, get help from the whole Insightly community, and post product feedback and requests to name a few.
Here are some common ways to get customer feedback and keep the lines of communication open:
- Beta Testing
- Help Center/Community
- Product Reviews
- Reach out directly
Thank you everyone for participating in today’s discussion! Customer engagement and happiness is a broad topic with many more aspects that we were not able to cover today. So if you take only three things away from this discussion it should be:
- No matter what method of onboarding you’re using, be sure it’s easy to understand and customers are given a few different options on how to learn.
- Customers need to feel the love even after they’ve gone through your all important onboarding. New features and best practices should be shared with your customers on a regular basis. Hosting learning events from webinars to discussions such as this one are a great way to keep customers engaged and learning.
- Just like you and me, your customers are people. So, treat them like they are not just a dollar value on your balance sheet. Personalize your interactions with your customers and keep an open dialogue with them.
Does anyone have other tip or skills that they use to help with their customer engagement? Any additional points are welcome!