Given the choices that customers have in the SaaS industry today, customer focus has become indispensable for companies within the industry. Gone are the days when you could anticipate customer needs and produce your offerings accordingly to succeed in the market. Now, there is a need to strategize more precisely for your products to fit the right market.
Customer focus can be a competitive advantage if you are able to adopt it. It is less of a process and more of a culture that needs to be adopted into your organization so that all units perform accordingly
So how does the customer focus impact your business? What strategies you must adopt to build this culture? How does it drive business growth? These are a few of the areas we are going to discuss in this blog. But let’s start with the customer focus definition.
What is Customer Focus?
It is a mindset, philosophy, or a strategy to align your business processes with customer’s goals and expectations. When you implement this strategy in your company, all your business units work towards the same goal – customer success. Since your success is dependent on the success of your customers, it is a winning combination.
Objective Shift after Implementing Customer Focus
Employee -> keep your boss happy
Employer -> maximize profit
Customer-> maximize ROI
As we can see, there is a Scattered collective vision.
Employee -> help customer maximize ROI
Employer -> help customer maximize ROI
Customer -> maximize ROI
Here we can see a Unified collective vision.
When all your business units start working towards one goal, you become a powerful force reaching better results.
Why is Customer Focus Important?
The obvious benefit of a customer focus approach is greater customer satisfaction. But how it enhances your business growth is what we are going to explore below.
Customer retention is one of the primary goals of any SaaS organization. When you want to retain your customers for the long run, you naturally want to understand them more completely. To do so, you have to be nearer to your customers than any of your competitors. When you serve your customers with a focused approach, they tend to stay with you for longer.
In the initial stage of implementation of this strategy, you would experiment to find out what works best. This means spending more time, resources and money. But after a certain point, you develop a knack that starts giving you better outcomes.
Your operational costs tend to decrease as you get more specialized in serving your customers. This starts fetching more profit for your business for two reasons:
- It is 5x cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one.
- Existing customers can start generating more business through upgrades.
When customer loyalty is leveraged, brand advocacy can be obtained. Loyal and satisfied customers tend to share their positive experiences with your brand with others. This brings more publicity through word-of-mouth marketing which is usually more effective than advertising.
How to Build a Customer-focused Culture?
There are many ways you can build this culture in your organization. Some are generic, while others are more contextual, which only you can find. Read on to explore the 7 different ways you can choose from to build a customer-focused culture.
Hire the Right Candidates
Building a culture of customer orientation should start with right hiring. During your hiring process, gauge the candidate’s customer focus skills. Making this part of your selection criteria not only assesses the candidate’s capability but also gives a message to the recruits and hiring managers about the importance of customer experience.
Exposure to Customers
To build a customer focus strategy, you need to facilitate direct interaction of your employees with customers. It is not just the customer facing employees who must regularly interact with the customers. Even the back-office employees should understand customers well by engaging with them contextually in a timely manner. This will infuse the customer-centric culture at all levels.
Connect Employee’s Growth to Customer Outcomes
When a manager can measure the impact they are creating in customer outcomes, they get more motivated towards serving them. Employee’s growth should be linked to customer outcomes and proper appraisals should happen based on that. For example, sales teams should be incentivized for selecting the right-fit customer that enables longer customer retention.
Build a Great Employee Culture
Employee culture is infectious when it comes to dealing with customers. When your employees have a high satisfaction level and feel good about their job, they can be easily motivated towards creating a greater customer experience. Customers can also feel the positive impact while interacting with highly motivated employees.
Share Customer Insights Company-wide
Customer insights are essential to gain a deeper understanding of your customer’s needs, challenges, and outcomes. While this may sound relevant only for marketing and sales teams, it would be wise to share it across all teams. This way, everyone can access the customer insights and optimize their work according to customer needs.
Build Customer Empathy
Customer empathy is easier said than done in many SaaS organizations. It is important in building a greater understanding of customer pain-points and emotional needs. There cannot be a greater attribute than empathy that helps cementing your relationship with customers.
Employees of a customer focus organization should do a deeper study of customers on different channels like social media, support calls, etc. to better understand them. Through this, they should be able to identify what really clicks with customers.
Use Customer Metrics
Customer satisfaction and loyalty can easily be mistaken if not analyzed through the right metrics. Make sure you use the right metrics to measure your customer health and share it across all teams.
A customer health score through a customer success platform can help you give an overall picture of the health of a customer account. Another key metric is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) that tells you the satisfaction level of your customers with your brand. Likewise, there are many metrics that can help you assess the customer’s sentiments and take proper actions towards improving them.
With the rising need to provide a greater customer experience, companies are evolving from sales-driven or product-focused cultures to a customer-focused culture. It has become increasingly important to give better service to customers. As a result, the onus has expanded from just professionals with customer-facing roles to the whole organization.
Every team in an organization has something to learn from customer experience that can be integrated into their functions. Even the products must be designed keeping the core user’s needs in focus rather than the product owner’s intuitions. Instilling customer focus values throughout your organization takes time but, once done, it prevails forever.