“I am unsure if this product will help me.”
This is a response many sales professionals receive while trying to convert a customer over. Sometimes the customer’s needs may not fit the company offerings. This means the attempts to close the deal may not be in the right direction if the target is not set rightly. This is where customer fit comes into the picture.
What is Customer Fit?
Customer fit is when there is alignment between the company’s offerings (product or service) and customer’s needs. When the customer’s needs are met with the product or service offered by the company, the customer is fit. It is when customers fit that the chance of sale or loyalty increases. An example of customer fit would be how Slack is built for remote teams. The team identified the need for remote working professionals to be updated of overall company proceedings in the best manner. This has helped them succeed in this incredibly competitive sector. Customer fits when they are willing to be loyal to the company as they are satisfied and pleased with the product.
Customer fit is great to identify success potential. And success potential is important to achieve customer success.
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Customer Fit and Product Death
With the wrong customers, companies will try to re-make the product to make it work. The product death cycle is when people move away from the product and there is a lot of churn. If your company and team go into the product death cycle- chances of leaving are higher. Sometimes even after finding the features and fixing them, customers choose to leave. This is because they are not a good fit in the first place.
Bad fit customers are those with the potential to buy a product. That product may not match or be similar to the product created by the company.
The product death cycle creates a lot of churn and panic among team members. The product death cycle is the events that occur when customers suggest product improvements. When features improvement and addition proves to be futile in attracting and retaining them, there is a product death cycle.
How bad fit customers can impact customer success?
Customer success is based majorly on customers, obviously. The customers need to fit the customer profile. Customers who are not the right fit or simply bad fit customers can negatively impact customer success. This is because-
- Bad fit customers take up a lot of customer service team’s time.
- They will churn since they do not fit.
- The rates of churn of bad fit customers are high.
- Bad reviews and negative testimonials can reduce goodwill
- Bad fit customers will suggest updates, improvements as per their requirements. This may not go well with the core ethos of the brand.
These are some of the ways in which bad fit customers affect customer success.
Customer Fit versus Ideal Customer Profile
Customer fit makes sure resources are spent in the right direction. Customer fit is when the outcome of the sale is deemed successful. Ideal customer profiles are characteristics based on age, demographics, sales, marketing aspects and more. Marketing teams rely on customer profiles to narrow down leads and further sales. However, customers who do not fit the ICP can be pursued by sales teams.
To create a blueprint for an ideal customer profile, it is a set criterion that should be kept in mind. If a person matches your ICP, there is no rule that they will be the right customer fit.
10 Types of Customer Fit
To check if the customer fits the product, it is important to check the resource aspect. Is the customer equipped with enough resources to invest in your product? Do the prospects have the capacity to purchase, use, learn, and become loyal to the product? Sometimes customers may be really interested in having a certain product or service onboard, but that may be compromised by lack of resources.
Example: A company with limited financial and human resources may not be able to afford a high-end solution for a problem they seek to address. They may go for a low-cost solution or choose another product that fits their resource availability.
In this fit, it is to be determined whether the product or service fits the functional criteria of the prospective customer. Are major features that will help the company present in the product? The product or service needs to fit functionally.
Example: Say Spotify- a good product success. The app is great for music lovers to consume media from legal sources. This requires a subscription. But, many people do not prefer paying to listen to music. It does not fit them functionally.
When a company spots and identifies gaps in how customers learn about the product, this is the competence fit. In this type of fit, the company looks to identify whether the customer will reach their desired outcome from the product. Will it fit in terms of competency? Are they in a position to understand and harness its value?
Another thing that matters while understanding customer fit is experience. Are you able to give customers the experience they need? Will the product and the experience it provides match the experience the customer is looking for. One can also see if customers will reach that experience if they are provided material, help, instruction, and support. This is required to understand if they will be successful with the product or not.
Successful businesses thrive on data and its analysis. Data analytics is prime to understanding the business in its true form. With data analytics, companies can make a mark in innovation and become better. There is increased precision and performance. When the analytical understanding of two firms clicks and matches, chances of becoming customers are more. The shared core set of metrics will help improve business fit and performance.
Authority fit is when your product’s target is one who needs an approval from their senior bosses to make steps to buy. That is, they have long protocols to make their heads understand the possible outcomes of the association. For instance, if the core idea of the company is to help small businesses. In that case, the persons involved may need approval from many stakeholders which may not work.
In this section of customer fit, it is important to make sure that the working methods or tools of clients match up to each other. Let’s assume the company uses tools like Trello and Jira a lot. The customer, however, has never used a tool of that kind in his or her life. This is important to know how to use it and understand the need of these tools.
Understanding customers from a human standpoint is what checks off the psychological fit. It is important to try and understand what motivates customers and how genuine these motivations are. These internal motivations will drive great results in terms of conversion or eventual loyalty. Emotional factors and customer mindset are aspects in understanding psychological fit of customers.
Example: If a company finds an emotional motivation in a product, they will not hesitate to use it. Take Apple phones for example. If a customer has been using Apple products for a long time, it is difficult to migrate to another operating system. This is the emotional connection that has led to customer loyalty.
Companies need to understand if the product or service fits in terms of technology. Will the specific customer derive value from the product? The customer should be well-equipped to be able to use the product or similar tools. They need to know the ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘when’ etc of technical tools.
Example: If your product is built on Wordpress.com; it is important for the customer to know something about Wordpress and how it works.
In this, it is important to ensure that the customer has the same core ethos as your company. If the company does not have a cultural background similar to yours in terms of work, it will be tough to create success potential.
Example: A certain customer may need a higher level of hand-holding while onboarding or usage as per their own company norms. This may not sit well with a company where there is low touch during onboarding.
A good fit customer is one who meets the levels of success potential. They need to show they will be successful as a customer. When customers who are in this spectrum are not recognised, it becomes difficult to reach the success potential.30
Acquiring customers is important for any business. However, it is not everything. It important to acquire customers whose lifetime value will be long. If they fit the right customer profile, with a little examination- it is possible to know if they are customers who fit. If you identify the types of customer fit and match with customers, those who check off boxes are customers most likely to be loyal.
Niyathi is an experienced content marketer with a love for SaaS tech products. She reads a lot (mostly fiction) and is a huge news junkie. Niyathi loves exploring different forms of inbound marketing and taking on challenges.
Published February 24, 2021, Updated July 26, 2022