5 Tips for Creating Long-Term Partnerships with Customers

We have all encountered the email from a client who says they want to cancel because they no longer use your service. It is a painful reality as you think back to the day they became a customer, when they so clearly had a desired business outcome you were going to help them realize.

It’s like joining a gym with great intentions of frequent visits and getting fit, and months later realizing you’ve only visited a few times. It probably is not worth your hard-earned cash to continue your membership.

The reality is the same whether the customer is a gym member or an enterprise SaaS licensee: When the customer doesn’t achieve a desired outcome, it is easy to leave.

How Customer Success Teams Help with Desired Business Outcomes

The role of your customer success team is to guide customers through their journey and remind them why they came to you and what problems you are solving for them. The most effective way to do this is by developing a framework using desired business outcomes.

From the initial onboarding call with a customer, a customer success manager should ensure there is a mutual understanding of the customer’s desired business outcomes—not only what they are looking to achieve, but also what success looks like and how it will be measured. At the end of the day, a customer’s decision to continue in a long-term partnership with you will be based on the value they obtain.

Here are five tips to keep in mind as you develop a framework for your organization to focus on achieving customers’ desired business outcomes:

  1. Remember that every customer is unique.
    Understanding a customer’s desired business outcomes allows you to create a custom plan based on what success looks like for them. Let’s go back to the earlier analogy for a minute: Imagine if a personal trainer created a workout optimized for running a 5K, yet the client was training for an ultramarathon. The training regimen would not prepare that client to achieve the desired outcome. By committing yourself to being fully aligned with your customers goals, you have the information required to create a plan that meets a customer’s specific needs.
  2. Document your plan.
    A documented plan of a customer’s desired business outcomes is the foundation of your relationship with them. Create a centralized document or folder of related documents that live in a knowledge base like Quip or Confluence so that this information can be accessed by anyone who interacts with your customer.

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  1. Stay current as needs evolve.
    It is normal for a customer’s desired business outcomes to change as their organization evolves. By continuing to revisit the plans you’ve documented, you are able stay ahead of that conversation.
  2. Measure success.
    Using baseline metrics, help customers understand the ROI they have obtained through quantified results. While qualitative data and anecdotal evidence can be important to telling a story of success for a customer, hard numbers that prove how your solution and services have helped them make advancements or reduce friction will be the most critical information you provide. MetaCX is a thought leader in this area of outcome management and real-time visibility into customer success.
  3. Provide ideas for additional desired business outcomes.
    Once a customer has met their initial desired business outcomes, you may want to develop and introduce a few standard objectives to help in the conversation of “what’s next.” In this way, you can continue adding value for your customers as they make advancements and achieve new progress, helping show them that your company is dedicated to their continued success and your solution is a critical component of that.

It is easy to lose focus when you are not aligned on business outcomes goals with your customers. At Carema Consulting, we follow these same best practices outlined above and partner with our clients to create a framework that supports their desired business outcomes. In the process, we earn the right to learn about and help them to achieve more of their desired business outcomes.