So you have a strong Customer Support department, and you have an excellent Customer Success Manager involved in your accounts. And you are focusing on traction and open tickets and escalations, and on new products your Customers may able to use. But something is missing. The relationship with your Customers is just not where you want it to be as a company. Do you know what else should bother you? I can tell you: Your Customers are not raving fans of your company!
You know that the ultimate goal of your company is to deliver a solution that excites the Customer, that enables the Customer to succeed in their markets; to the point that they stand up and enthusiastically and genuinely (not because you asked them) advocate about you. We call this Customer the Raving Fan. Just think about ourselves as consumers. What is the best product or service you own as a consumer? Your watch, your grill, your car, your lawn care product, your network provider? Do you ever tell your friends about all the features you like about your phone? Are you a raving fan for some product or service you are receiving today? The answer is probably yes. But there are also surely some products that you use in which you are not impressed.
“Don’t confuse retention with loving you.”
The reason we all focus on management of current Customers, is because we not only want a Customer to continue using our company for business and to create a long-term relationship, but if we are successful, we can grow our company and increase company valuation! Current Customers provide a much-beloved recurring revenue stream. If they leave (churn or turnover), recurring revenue and reputation decline. And if a significant number of your current Customer’s churn, you have major growth and survival issues.
For the Customers of your company to be Raving Fans, it means that they visibly advocate for your company; that they may have provided leads to your company by referring you to their colleagues. It means that they regularly are coming to you with ideas and suggestions to make the company better. It means that they tell their board that your solution is providing a competitive advantage against their competitors. To get there, one of the key strategies you can deploy is to focus on Customer Account Management.
Customer Account Management and The Raving Fan Triangle TM
First, Account Management is not about one person, or about how one department manages the account. It is a company-wide commitment. This is where many companies miss the mark with their Customers. Customer Account Management is about how you as a company manage the relationship with your current Customers. The account manager – or what I call the Customer Success Manager – is the quarterback but it takes so much more dedication and commitment over a period of time to be successful.
The formula to succeed is by mastering what I call The Raving Fan Triangle TM , a process that I have developed and evolved in my companies as CEO/President for the past 17 years. It involves a focused evolution of the company through 6-stage progressive process:
ST-1. Develop Talented and Trained Associates
ST-2. Instill an Urgency to Solve Customer Issues
ST-3. Build a Customer Touch Program
ST-4. Strategize with your Customer
ST-5. Define a Roadmap
ST-6. Launch New Products
Delivering on all 6 Stages of the Raving Fan Triangle TM will take time and effort, but the result will not only keep your Customers close to you for a long-time, it will generate growth in new products and referrals that will win new business.
If we can dedicate more of our leadership time into the areas that drive our Customer’s success and inspiration, and invest in the people and solutions that can help our Customer’s work with us to develop their own Raving Fan Triangle TM , we will unlock the growth potential of our company and take it all the way to the top!