Your Aftermarket Competitive Edge – 6 Ways Delighted Customers Set Your Venture Apart

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Delighted customers are a reflection of what is best about your venture. Notice that I didn’t say satisfied customers or happy customers. That’s because “delighted” customers require a different level of customer satisfaction. Of course, all businesses have problems and issues to deal with along the way, but you always want to resolve these problems in a way that delights your customers.

Along with your product or service, you want to create raving fans… fans who will declare their delight in public and who do so with great enthusiasm. Collectively, your customers represent your venture’s most powerful asset or liability. Your quality of support will determine which they become. Here are 6 benefits to having delighted customers and the direct impact they have on the success of your venture.

1. Secure Your Existing Revenue Streams

Delighted customers are extremely unlikely to switch products or services. In other words, they will be loyal customers. Loyalty is hard to cultivate in the digital age, however, that’s not the case for customers who are thrilled with the product they are currently using.

They will come back, time and again. Think about your online shopping habits. When we need to source something, many of us head to the same supplier again and again. Why do we do this?

First and foremost because we enjoy the shopping experience or working with the products, services, or service teams. In addition, there are financial implications involved in moving to another vendor. These include existing agreements, “hidden” organizational change management costs and the downstream process changes that switching vendors inevitably creates… regardless of what an alternative vendor promises.

Finally, organizations, like individuals, build operational “habits”. Much like individuals, breaking organizational habits is hard, so being their current “habit” means you benefit from this inertia.

Advice: Do NOT take existing customers for granted under the assumption that you’ve already won them and delighted them. Remember to spend time and effort on them so that they know they are important and appreciated. You need to delight your customers as long as you operate your venture! Full stop.

2. Develop New Revenue Streams

Enthusiastic customers have a very positive effect on your sales and marketing activities. There is

nothing that convinces a new potential customer to consider buying your product more than an existing customer talking about how good you actually are at what you do. In How to Find and Land Your Elusive FIRST CUSTOMER!, I talk about how first customers serve as a “guiding light” or leading example for other potential targets to become customers.

Believe me when I tell you that there is a direct relationship between how engaged and thrilled your customers are about your product and the ROI you receive from your sales and marketing dollars. As folks in the market talk about you, potential customers will hear from those existing customers about how great you or your products are and that will often convince them, even in your absence, that they should buy it.

How many times you have bought or tried a product because your trusted friend couldn’t stop talking about it? We’ve all done it. This word-of-mouth advertising is priceless when it comes from delighted, raving customers. Existing customers also represent an opportunity to expand revenue streams by cross-selling or up-selling additional products and services that your venture has to offer. Your best customers are the ones you already have, so think of them as a ready path to expand revenues with little to no sales costs. That’s my favorite kind of revenue!

3. Weather the Storms When the Market Shifts

Inevitably any venture and any market will face disruption; these disturbances will range from a small turbulence to gale force winds. Often these changes arise without any forewarning, so be ready to embrace the change and turn on a dime when the market dictates.

Most often the issues stem from what your venture has done or failed to do. Regardless of how or why, changes are coming and your venture needs to be ready to deal with them when they arise. Having a loyal fan base of existing customers provides a type of “moat” against these types of market disruptions in three specific ways.

  • First, having these customers on your side gives your venture the breathing room that it needs to be able to survive this disruption. These loyal customers will give your venture insights into how the market is changing and what you need to do to succeed. This “intel” provides your venture with valuable information on how to tweak its products or services to continue to serve them and the broader market as well.
  • Delighted customers can help you survive and often thrive during a market shift by telling others how much better you are compared to the rest of your competitors at meeting their needs. In spite of market challenges, you may be able to raise your profile even further and subsequently enhances sales and marketing efforts, even in a market downturn. While everyone else flees to safety (investment-wise) you have a real opportunity to double-down and come out ahead.
  • Finally, delighted customers are more willing to cut your organization some slack as you respond and react to the market changes with new offerings and products. They recognize that working with you and your team to help you (and indirectly them) through these shifts is in their best interest. They value the relationship with your company so it’s a win-win situation for you both.

4. Let Your Customers Help Drive Product Development

When you think about where to go to get the best information and insights about your product plan and

road map, look no further than your delighted customers. In my recent blog, In Search of Your Target Market – 6 Things You Need to Know to Penetrate New Markets, I wrote about utilizing customers in the market to help develop your go-to-market strategy. Similarly, you can use your #1 fans to help define and develop your products on an ongoing basis.

What you want to do is create a regular feedback and input mechanism for your loyal existing customers so that they can contribute to your product road map and planning. This can help ensure that your organization stays ahead of the curve. Regular customer insights and input will help you avoid market disruptions and keep you out ahead of the competition.

Loyal customers may also be willing and interested in being part of the product development process as beta testers or even early adopters. Who doesn’t want a “sneak peek” into the latest and greatest products and services in the market? They may be thrilled with the prospect of being actively involved and engaged in the product development process, beta testing and also giving you feedback as the product is developed.

And the next logical step for at least some of these customers will be early adoption. Having already tested the product and seen the advantages, these types of sales are sometimes easier and more straightforward than those that come next in the venture lifecyle. The goal is to cultivate a large group of existing customers who can help grease-the-skids of product development and help remove some of the uncertainty and pain from the process.

5. Develop a Set of Best Practices

From these interactions with outstanding customers, you can capture the information they have shared with you during these exchanges and transform it into best practices for your entire venture to use for all your customer and market-facing engagements. These loyal customers will ask the most of you, but as a result of those leading and often bleeding-edge requests, your venture will stretch and flex to meet these customer’s needs.

They will also teach you how to work with future customers to meet their needs and expectations. Your venture can then document these interactions to compile this information into a readily digestible and consumable format to be shared with the rest of your organization. This then becomes a newly crafted “best practice” reference that can be used  to drive even more delighted customers… effectively nurturing the #1 fans that your venture enjoys through a perpetual virtuous loop.

In addition, your sales and marketing teams may also be able to take advantage of these materials in sales calls and in interactions with potential customers. These new customers will undoubtedly ask how your product can benefit them and if you have any real-world examples of successful implementations of your product. Your best practices are exactly the examples that they are looking for.

Finally, potential customers will frequently ask (or you can propose) if you have a repository of best practices that they can use in their organizations. These real world examples will help all of your customers succeed in market. Making your product or service indispensable is a good position for any venture to be in at any time.

6. Build Your Knowledge Base

The next logical step is to take all the insights from your leading-edge engagements and assemble them into a knowledge base (KB) to share with all of your customer success and sales organizations. As your product is adopted by larger number of customers, each adoption and implementation should contribute towards your venture’s KB. As the KB continues to grow, over time it will reap rewards for your venture in a number of areas.

First, it will enable each successive implementation to be that much more successful and streamlined. If your organization has helped a client overcome a problem once, when that problem arises again, the KB will ensure that your organization doesn’t need to re-learn the solution to that problem. Your KB will provide a readily available reference to short-cut the solution process – saving your organization, time, money and effort and giving your customer an outstanding experience in the process.

Second, develop and review the KB to create opportunities for your sales and customer success teams to learn more about the kinds of problems and challenges your product can address in the market. This translates to more knowledgeable and successful salespeople and customer success representatives.

Lastly, customers want tried and true solutions. No customer wants to feel like they are an extension of your QA or test organization, especially a Fortune 1000 customer. Your KB will help reassure your customers that they’re not the your guinea pig and that the solution they are looking for is already live and working properly in the field.

These 6 benefits of delighted customers provide a strong argument for supporting and listening to your clients. Remember that a strong group of delighted and raving fans will give you an extra boost in the marketplace and provide you with a “home court” advantage against the competition!

 

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please let me know your comments, questions, feedback and insights below or feel free to email me directly here. Please Read and Share all my blogs at LeadingVentures.com.

About this blog – The goal of this blog is to share my experiences, to capture and reveal valuable insights, and to draw from my serial entrepreneur-ship through 7 ventures over the past 20 years. I have encountered many impressive entrepreneurs along the way and I hope to share our collective experience with you to help teach and perhaps motivate you to launch your own B2B or B2C enterprise.

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