From the first interaction with a customer, your primary goal to should be getting them on a path to success. Customers picked your product or service because they believe it will help them achieve something specific. It’s your job not only to make sure that happens – repeatedly, I should add – but also to coordinate all the processes that make it happen.
- What goals the customer wants to achieve.
- The means by which they can achieve their goals.
- What they should and should not expect.
- Who is responsible for what.
- What ‘growth’ means to the customer.
To get at the customer’s goals, you need an understanding of things like:
- The current problem the customer is facing.
- What their current – the before – workflow looks like.
- The kink in their workflow chain.
Once you know these things you’ll have enough to start getting an understanding of what their goals are including ways to help them.
What features or elements of your product will help they achieve their goal? Where should they concentrate their efforts and what should they ignore?
Customers are not all the same. Each will use your product in different ways that are unique to the company including each user. Guiding them towards the right toolset and/or configuration is critical for their success.
Managing customer expectations means a couple things:
- Ensuring their understanding of your product is in line – as much as possible – with what it actually does.
- Help them know what to expect over the lifespan using the product. From day 0 to beyond. (This may include providing milestones.)
For #1, this could mean training them on your product or even asking them to explain what features they find most useful.
For #2, this could mean things like providing an Onboarding Status Overview or a timeline of events they should expect to occur.
The worst thing that can happen is a customer failing because expectations were not understood.
It should be agreed upon as early as possible who is responsible for what. You don’t want to be in a situation where a customer is expecting something to be happening that isn’t.
If a customer expects monthly status or usage reports in their inbox and it’s not happening simply because it was not spelled out early, then the likelihood of churn is high.
Get every possible responsibility out on the table for every one to see and make it crystal clear as to who does what.
If a customer is not living up to their responsibilities then it’s still your job to get them back on track. This can be through a mix of emails, surveys, calls, or in-person meetings.
With software and SaaS products, customers don’t just succeed once. It’s on ongoing loop. However, that loop changes over time. Customers’ metrics will change over time. Just as you have growth metrics so do customers.
Getting customers on a path to success means getting an understanding of what growth within the product is to them as well as helping them grow.