The heart of an effective product success strategy is your customer.
When your team focuses on maximizing customer satisfaction, you empower your organization to build the best products by integrating customer feedback with product design, collaborating more quickly, and proving to customers time and again that you don’t take their business for granted.
However, these customers are also more demanding than ever before in this new connected age. They expect fast results from perfect products, and demand immediate, coordinated issue resolution if problems arise. Whether working directly with consumers or doing business with other businesses, all of our expectations have shifted and no one is immune.
Modern manufacturers simply can’t afford to have information silos between engineering, marketing and support anymore. Customers won’t give you any wiggle room, says Olive Huang, Research Director at Gartner:
“Your business results depend on your brand’s ability to retain and add customers [...] You must win at every interaction the customer has with your organization, whether that be a marketing campaign, a call to a contact center, an invoice, or a delivery reliant on the supply chain. Every department must play its part in a coordinated fashion.”
As new customers consider purchasing your products or putting in a custom order, they need three questions answered in order to confidently do business with you again and again.
“Are you the right business to work with?”
Commercializing and marketing your products might usually be the last step in your product’s journey, but it is the first step of your customer’s journey. In a fast and connected age, your first impression matters more than it did before.
After all, you’re no longer competing against the company down the street or other brands in your vertical — “you’re competing with every other experience a customer has,” writes Dan Gingiss on the Salesforce blog.
With 70 percent of Americans saying they’d be willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service, your sales and marketing teams should collaborate with your customer service departments to attract new business by showing your audience what they can expect from your unified team. Marketing ideas include:
- Sharing direct quotes and reviews from happy customers on social media — reviews that aren’t all glowing 5-star commendations also show transparency
- A robust FAQ section of your website with details about shipping, packaging, custom orders and other relevant information
- A chat window on your site for phone-averse customers to get answers immediately, with an average wait time displayed
- Videos featuring customers using your products in the real world
- A welcome email explaining how your customer support process works
Customer preference and purchase decisions will be driven more by personalized experiences, trusted peer-to-peer information, and real-time delivery of information and services. Show prospects the high level of service they can expect from you, and business will follow.
“Will my experience match my high expectations?”
Sometimes when we talk about “customer experience,” it’s all about marketing and the customer’s journey to purchase. It can be easy to overlook the customer’s experience using products over a lifetime, especially regarding how customers experience product issues.
In fact, your work at the point of purchase or engineer-to-order (ETO) fulfillment is only the beginning of a longer journey of continued satisfaction and retention. If anything, customer expectations of your attentiveness and responsiveness increase after a purchase.
To provide long-term service that matches these high expectations, your product record must integrate tightly with the sales and service records, incorporating their feedback quickly and seamlessly and ultimately offering meaningful user experiences and products they continue to love.
Inversely, a discontinuity in the product experience results in dissatisfied customers. Without a single source of product truth, your customer’s experience can often be dangerously disjointed, resulting in expensive incorrect custom orders, slower lifecycles, missed support requests that don’t roll up into product updates, or even compliance and safety issues that endanger people and damage your reputation.
Your team needs access to up-to-date information about your products and the customers they’re attached to in order to build better products and communicate with customers before they take their business elsewhere.
“Should I stick around?”
Most people wouldn’t care if 77% of the world’s brands disappeared. The difference between being disposable and integral is simple: Is your customer really at the center of your business’s true purpose — and have you adopted systems that support that purpose?
Traditionally, engineering has been closed off to what is said in the field, but it’s impossible to meet new customer expectations in this old paradigm anymore.
With a customer-centric model, engineering is deeply part of the customer service conversation and able to address changes in the next product version. Customers and their needs should be dictating each phase of the product lifecycle, and not the other way around.
- When a customer submits feedback, are they thanked for their input?
- Do they hear from various departments throughout the resolution process?
- Do they have to repeat their issue each time they talk to a new person, or is their information shared across stakeholders for quicker help?
- Do they receive personalized help or generic replies?
- When you make updates they requested, do you communicate the solution back to them?
- Given your answers above, would they want to work with you again?
Your team can be as responsive as your customer expects if you use a customer-centric platform to work with them. The Propel platform provides you with a complete Customer 360 view natively built on the top-rated Salesforce cloud platform so you can transform your business by uniting each stakeholder in the product value chain.