Acquiring customers is lengthy and expensive.
They are highly valuable and keeping them informed and engaged is critical to retaining them. Let's start this series of blog articles with some assertions from customers we have talked to.
What Customers want (and don't want)
- Customers don't want to be constantly "sold" - Sure, they want to hear about new functionality and offerings, however that cannot represent the whole relationship.
- Customers like to be considered independent - Many times your customers are much larger than your company. They have needs that may be unique to them. As important as your company is to you is the same as their company is to them.
- Your customer market is an economy - Interesting perspective and accurate and this economy doesn't just include customers who pay maintenance or some type of fee. These are customers that invested in your solution at some time and for a variety of reasons may not be paying a maintenance fee (or other). They are still your customers and possible prospects. Also, don't forget your business partners - or more importantly, their business partners. They play an important role in your successful ecosystem.
- Your company works for your customer, not the other way around - This goes back to their independence. However, be careful to remember that getting a customer is expensive and hard. Keeping a customer is much easier if you listen, pay attention, and work on their behalf. and continue to align with their strategies.
- Customers want to network with other customers - They want to meet, discuss, understand their peers. These people are subject matter experts in their own industries. Their challenges are very specific and many times are common within their industry. They want to learn from others, they also want to share what they learned.
- Your customers want you to succeed- Your success is their success.
- Customers want their vendors to be partners - Partners that continuously improve and innovate to the benefit of all parties. That make strategic investments that are tangible and drive value back to the customer.
- They want to know you are listening, not just talking - From individual contributors on different employee levels, to the CEO, are they listening to me? Do they know what keeps me up at night? Do they work on my behalf?
- They want to be educated - It may be related to current world situations, and industry direction, legislated policies, or new best practice. Make sure you are delivering real, differentiating value to your customers. Let them benefit from your collective wisdom on various subjects.
- They want to benefit and build upon the collective knowledge of your market - They don't want to be an island. They want to benefit from your first to your latest customer. They also want to contribute value.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but does represent some of the highlighted comments we have received when asking customers what they want. Your list may be different OR we may have highlighted some you don't always think about.
The bottom line, customers are important to your business. They are expensive to attain. They require attention and caring to maintain their strategic nature. And finally - your customers are people. People who many times have placed their careers in their decisions, decisions like the one that chose your organization as a "partner".
Don't forget that.