Working for a company offering its own product (software) as part of a service (SaaS model), I began to pay close attention to customer feedback. I would like to share my thoughts on the need to maintain a good relationship with the client.
I am aware of the physical limitations of companies serving large numbers of customers. It is hard to treat every client exceptionally, but we should try to do so. It is worth remembering that the client’s success often turns out to be our success and makes the partner want to cooperate with us, i.e., pay for our solutions.
It is worth helping clients
Many companies have exceptionally good products but terrible customer service. As long as everything works, their solutions are pleasant to use. However, on a certain scale or with specific business requirements, you need to be sure that you will be able to depend on professional customer service.
I would like to separate the sale itself from the customer service. In my opinion, you can have great sales. Still, without comprehensive customer service, we will not be able to keep your customers. They can very quickly withdraw from our services. It can hurt our business. It isn’t easy to decide on new projects or increase the teams responsible for the services offered without certainty how many financial revenues will be achieved.
Having a hosting problem, I was shocked by my problems’ almost instant support and resolution. It allowed me to recommend the company to my friends looking for their place on the Internet. You can achieve double success by helping clients. First of all, the customer comes back, wants to renew the services. That is, he wants to keep paying. Secondly, he becomes the company’s ambassador to his friends. He can recommend our services, being a free sales department with a very good reach to new recipients.
In my opinion, it is worth exceeding the expectations of partners and customers. It is especially possible when we run a small company because we can distinguish ourselves from other companies. It is important to understand the needs of your customers.
Perhaps when they ask us to prepare a website, they don’t care about a nice-looking website. The problem they want to solve may be the lack of easy interaction with their customers or increase sales results by adjusting their image to the target audience.
The more we talk to and understand our customers, the easier we can tailor our offer to deliver value. It may be something they did not expect at first, but it has exceeded even their expectations and requirements.
We can have a reciprocity rule. We often want to thank those who have done something good for us. Existing customers can help us understand why they chose our service, which will allow us to provide even better services in the future. They can also point out deficiencies in our product, which they believe can be very valuable.
Remember about the referral program
A summary can be drawn from the previous points. We should not forget about the referral system for our clients. I also mean all kinds of feedback sites.
A satisfied customer is our primary source of recommendations. Recommendations make sense because they are reliable as someone has already checked the service before recommending it. I have noticed a decrease in trust in opinions found on the Internet because they can be generated artificially. Opinions of friends and family remain much more valuable.
Be responsible for mistakes and bugs
Probably nothing demotivates more than constant errors in the system. The team developing the service, the support department, and the target client, has a similar feeling. When using the service, we expect that sometimes something may not work correctly. Errors are an integral part of every trial and system. However, it is necessary to repair them systematically.
At the same time, it is worth being transparent and informing about any errors immediately. You can deceive yourself that no one will find out about it. However, all kinds of scandals show that they will come out anyway.
It would help if you also took responsibility for your subcontractors and service providers. Even though it may not be our direct fault, we are responsible for it in the eyes of our customers. They may be unaware of the solutions and services we use ourselves. Admitting your mistake and taking responsibility, in my opinion, indicates that we are in control of the situation and want to rectify it.
Ensure success for your customers
The most motivated to use the services is the customer for whom the solution is of great value. By ensuring (financial) successes thanks to our solutions, the client can afford to continue using our services, which translates into our profit. Your client’s success is your success.
On a larger scale, you have to be careful not to hit the moment when we ignore some customers. For larger companies, some of the recipients may be too small or irrelevant to deal with them. It may make sense to reduce the priority of requests; however, we should be humble enough not to judge the client by his financial capabilities.
Cooperation with many clients has shown me that the smaller ones are often calmer and open to collaboration. In the case of larger clients, I have often attempted to force specific solutions that are beneficial to them just because they are a more significant partner. Sometimes it makes sense, but you have to be careful not to block the development of your product by being too strongly associated with one customer. It is also a financial threat, as the withdrawal of the leading customer often destroys the entire budget and is the way to the company’s bankruptcy.
A healthy approach to expectations
It is worth having a healthy approach to the client and his expectations. I try to follow one rule myself:
Treat others as you would like others to treat you.
Suppose I see that we cannot get along, and our expectations are completely different. In that case, I prefer to end the cooperation. It is to the benefit of both parties. The client can get something better (from someone else), and I can act according to my own rules.
Many companies are afraid to break off cooperation because it is a loss of the client. They will often participate in projects that have no future just so as not to lose funding. This happens even when the client is very toxic and rude. In my opinion, it is worth withdrawing then and may lose financially, but gain mentally.