In 2020, companies are underperforming if they don’t have positive customer relationships. This happens consistently in the B2C market—think back to United’s customer dragging scandal after overbooking a flight. At least to consumers, these companies do not appear to be asking, how do we best care for our customers? And, it’s costing them.
Outlier’s business model is built on relationships and delivering mutually beneficial results, so we are forced to ask and answer this often. We’ve boiled customer success down to four key ingredients: clarity, accountability, growth, and of course, respect.
Happiness is when expectations meet—or exceed—reality. This mantra, while perhaps a lofty generalization in day to day life, rings true in customer relationships. Being happy with outcomes is largely tied to clarifying expectations early and often. We’ve seen this with one of our customers, MarketCraft, where the production outcome was clear from the start.
The closer aligned two parties can be in their deliverables, deadlines, tactics, goals…and expectations…the better.
Did you deliver on what you promised? A portion of accountability is being realistic about what you can deliver. If it is not possible for you, say so! Otherwise, be honest about an alternative path forward. In the age of venture-funded startups, many companies are overpromising with the hopes of meeting those promises, WeWork to name one. Yet, that should never be the policy with customers.
Accountability suffers when clarity suffers; they are innately intertwined.
Client relationships without growth need to be invigorated. We begin client meetings with discussions and tracking of annual goals, which should be realistic stretches. How can we make this better? How can we push ourselves to innovate? How can we execute on higher return? How can we unlock material that already exists?
We’ve ventured creative directions by asking these questions, challenging ourselves to create or reinvigorate material. One of our customers grew user acquisition by more than 400% on social channels when we pushed for innovation. Growth is key!
Respect is the foundation to any relationship, personal or professional. Respecting other’s time, thoughts, ideas, experience, and other commitments are critical to a trusting partnership. A relationship without respect is a bad one, and frankly, it likely won’t even lift-off.
Service is one of the stand-out features that makes experiences and projects memorable and beneficial. We must reflect on how we can best care for customers, as the customer is the business’s lifeline. If you’re not reflecting on the qualities you bring to these relationships, you may be suffering. These qualities trickle down to all levels of the business, from employees to vendors to peers.
How are you prioritizing customer care? What are some of the ways you instill this ethos in your employees?