Building meaningful relationships at scale is one of the greatest challenges for any business. However, putting in the effort is one hundred percent worth it since relationships are the most important thing for customer success. Ziv Peled, Chief Customer Officer at AppsFlyer, has shared valuable insights on developing and maintaining customer relationships, which we will cover now.
Why Building Significant Relationships Is Crucial
To kick things off, here’s a quote by Maya Angelou that should inspire every customer success representative: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” B2B is sometimes too impersonal since it’s actually more about Human to Human (H2H). That’s why relationships are CS’ most valuable and impactful resource.
Ziv thinks of customer success as the result of an equation: the customer experience times the customer outcome. If the experience is great, but the outcome is low, the success is low, and vice versa. Building a KPI to measure the value delivered to the customer is a great way to satisfy the customer success equation. After you have functioning KPIs, a framework can be built to measure the relationship, which is key to building relationships at scale.
The Pyramid of Customer Success
Customer success can be viewed as a pyramid. The pyramid starts with trust, which is essential for any potential relationship. The initial trust is built by either outbound sales or traditional marketing. Value is the next stage since you have to deliver, and even over-deliver, on the value promised to the customer to keep the trust.
Otherwise, the first trust will be broken. The final part of the pyramid is to build and maintain a strong and meaningful relationship, which is done by leveraging the trust and the value delivered and making the customer feel prioritized and special.
The Customer Journey
The customer experience is built from the customer journey. The customer journey usually begins with the prospect experiencing your brand through marketing or sales. After the initial trust, the journey moves to the buying experience, where the sales team needs to show how the prospect can benefit from the solution.
Then when the contract is signed, the customer starts their onboarding, and the core of the relationship is built. During this time, you should make your newly acquired client feel valued and ensure they know what’s expected of them for your service. The next part that significantly affects the relationship is the product and service experience, where the relationship is deepened and the first value is delivered.
When working with many people from a company, it’s crucial to identify the key personas, such as champions and decision-makers, and focus on building a relationship with them, since it’s impossible to be close with everyone. To summarize the mission of CS, you can gain inspiration from AppsFlyer’s mission statement: “Listen, learn, and help customers achieve their desired outcomes while building long-term relationships.”
The Dunbar Numbers
If you think about your personal life, chances are that you have many relationships. Some will be deeper and more meaningful than others, but generally speaking, most people believe they have somewhat of a relationship with dozens, if not hundreds, of people. Then when you factor in work, with internal relationships like colleagues and external relationships like customers, that number grows significantly.
Dunbar is a highly considered researcher of relationships, and his studies concluded that the human brain could only handle a certain amount of relationships at once. The exact numbers vary vastly from individual to individual, but on average, a human can know 5000 faces and 1500 names, and have 500 acquaintances and 150 relationships. That’s why you can only have a limited number of valuable relationships, so you need to prioritize.
Turning Activities into Goals from the Customer Journey
A great way to improve your customer relationships and gain the ability to forecast more precisely is by creating a large map of your customer journey with the activities, KPIs, and goals laid on top. By looking at your customer’s current stage in their journey, you can map out what activities should be done at that exact point. Then the KPIs are used to measure the effectiveness of those activities, and lastly the pre-set goals are either fulfilled or not.
By doing this, you can actively change the activities or KPIs down the road if you’re experiencing any difficulties, and it can also be used to forecast what will happen with the customer by looking at their customer journey stage combined with the KPIs and goals. Widely used activities that KPIs and goals can measure are onboardings, QBRs, marketing events, and much more.
How to Gain People’s Trust
There’s a great framework called “How to get people to love you,” which can also be implemented to build customer relationships. Some main takeaways from that framework are:
- Use a person’s name.
- Smile sincerely and use physical touch. However, never make someone feel uncomfortable.
- Listen actively and make the person feel heard.
- Be extremely responsive and keep people up to speed.
- Recall your conversations from the past to prove that you’re paying attention.
- Ask for advice and ask great questions.
- Make genuine compliments and take compliments gracefully.
- Don’t act like a robot and avoid clichés.
- B2B needs to be done more personally since it’s actually H2H (Human to Human).
- The customer success pyramid is built on trust, delivering value, and creating a relationship.
- Nailing the customer journey is crucial to creating a successful relationship with your customer.
- You can’t have infinite meaningful relationships, so you have to prioritize.
- Looking at the customer journey and mapping out which activities should be done and what KPIs will be used is a great way to improve relationships and forecasting.
- Gaining people’s trust can be done by using their names, listening actively, and making genuine compliments.