Reducing Customer Churn With Effective Enablement
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It is often said that customers are the heartbeat of every company; without them, a business simply cannot survive. This is especially true for highly successful organizations, where everything starts and ends with the customer.
Having a customer-centric mindset is necessary to achieve long-term success and ensure that business objectives are optimized. However, keeping customer engagement afloat in a virtual world can be tricky as growing customer churn is a prevalent concern amid rapid change and uncertainty. While losing customers ultimately leads to a significant loss in value, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Knowing this, enablement professionals can spearhead customer success initiatives by encouraging the revenue organization to prioritize customer experiences and relationships. Enablement teams can help increase retention rates by coaching others on what great customer engagements look like and providing them with the necessary tools and resources to follow through.
Here are five tips for reducing customer churn with effective enablement.
Display Empathy During Tough Times
As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced some companies to shift into virtual work environments, many people have experienced major changes in their daily lives and routines. These changes have surfaced new customer pain points, including increased online fatigue and a rise in frequent interruptions from home. In response to these new challenges, it is critical for enablement professionals to empathize with customers and advocate for their needs to the rest of the organization.
It is important to note that treating customers well in the good years is just as critical as treating customers well in the tough years. Positive or negative experiences will leave customers with lasting impressions on not only the rep they are interacting with but on the entire company and brand as well.
One effective method to maintain customer engagement in the virtual world is to communicate in bite-sized, digestible chunks. For example, instead of producing 60-minute tutorial webcasts, break things up into shortened sprints to ensure that customers do not feel too overwhelmed by the quantity of information. This will also help to reduce video fatigue throughout their workday and help hold their attention.
Most importantly, enablement professionals can encourage reps to deeply understand their customers by implementing a design thinking approach; find out what they care about, what their goals and motives are, and what they can do to support them.
As opposed to traditional hard-selling or routine-heavy techniques, design thinking is a process characterized by empathy and customer-centricity which seeks to solve customer problems through a true understanding of their goals and needs. With a core value of empathy in mind, reps can gain trust and valuable insights from their customers by prioritizing their needs.
“It’s about going back to the beginning about why your customer engaged with you in the first place,” said Susan Porter Nunes, senior director of GTM communications at Confluent. “Go back to the fundamentals of understanding your customers, doing the homework, and having a proper account plan in place.”
Provide Consistency and Clarity Throughout Every Touchpoint
To provide a great customer experience, reps must be clear and consistent with every engagement. Enablement can support reps in providing a consistent experience by ensuring alignment and collaboration across teams.
Whether customers are chatting with sales reps or having conversations with customer success managers, it must be apparent that everyone in the revenue organization is working in tandem to help the customer at all times. To achieve this, enablement professionals can partner with reps to teach best hand-off practices when it comes to maintaining consistency in their interactions with customers.
In addition to partnering with reps and managers, enablement professionals can collaborate with marketing teams to ensure that all materials are hyper-focused and consistent. It is especially important that all content and information is easily accessible for customers to find and utilize as valuable resources.
To ensure that customers have a consistent experience, enablement can make sure that everyone in the organization is fully on board and aligned. For example, practitioners can facilitate transparent communications across the entire revenue organization to reiterate business goals, highlight success stories, and reinforce common practices. Through alignment with revenue leadership, enablement can cascade down the strategic vision from the top to unify the entire organization under a single vision and ensure rep behavior drives this vision through to customers.
Customers now crave genuine human connections and value personalization from businesses more than ever before. In fact, 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when businesses offer personalized experiences.
Given this, sales reps need to understand the nature of their individual relationships with customers, and meet them where they are. While one customer might prefer a more hands-on relationship with frequent meetings, others may prefer to have a low-maintenance business relationship; not every customer is the same. Enablement can train reps to interact with a variety of customer profiles, walking through various situational scenarios to meet their unique needs.
To connect better with customers, reps can also utilize narratives to address customer challenges and provide solutions. Capturing previous customer stories and documenting their journeys to use as reference cases may allow current customers to better resonate with proposed ideas and solutions given to them.
“When working with customers, the more that you can frame things to them through the story of customers similar to them, the more apt they are to trust us as experts and follow our advice to have a better experience,” said Renée Osgood, head of customer success enablement at Ceros.
Offer Business Value as a True Partner
The cornerstone of a successful partnership requires both parties to be able to add value and bring mutual success to each other’s businesses. To foster this partnership with customers, reps must frame the value the organization delivers through the lens of customer’s goals.
“If you’re a partner, you’re not sending me emails about how great your product is, you’re talking to me about how you can make my job easier,” said Eric Stoddard, head of global sales and customer success enablement at Udemy.
As a partner, reps must truly understand and care about how their product or service will provide great business value to their customers. Just as revenue organizations care about satisfying their customers, the customer’s customers are also important stakeholders to take into account in the evaluation process. Enablement professionals can help train reps to pay attention to how customers are using the product and be sure to understand how it will show up for the end users.
For example, back in 1998 when Wendy’s put their fountain drink contract up for bidding, Coca-Cola won the contract and beat out their largest competitor, Pepsi, with one key differentiating factor: Coca-Cola was able to bring value as a business partner, proposing a new drive-thru strategy to build out Wendy’s vision to serve their customers better.
In the same way, reps can think and act in the best interests of their customers and demonstrate a willingness to help them succeed.
“Really connect with the customer to show and talk about ‘here’s how we’re partnering with you and what we’re willing to do,’” said Stoddard.
Foster Customer-Focused Team Camaraderie
Enablement can start driving a teamwork mindset by encouraging collaboration on shared goals and getting people from all functions across the revenue organization to work together. Hold cross-team events to review progress against retention goals, discuss trend discoveries, and establish baseline metrics of what a healthy customer looks like. In doing so, everyone will be on the same page to clearly understand the foundations of customer enablement.
For example, consider organizing an interactive customer success kick-off to facilitate cross-functional team activities focused on customer experience initiatives. One activity could include breaking people into teams assigned to various customer scenarios and task them with figuring out how to make their customers more successful. At the event, be sure to have leadership emphasize how everyone makes a difference in engaging with customers to reinforce its strategic importance.
Fostering team camaraderie is the number one priority for enablement teams to ensure that everyone in the revenue organization is determined to provide the best customer experiences.
“Team alignment is important because, within customer success, there are a number of different teams that are working with customers,” said Osgood. “To make a consistent experience and to show that we’re one team, we really do need to be all on the same page together.”
When looking to reduce customer churn, the question should not center around how to prevent customers from leaving, but rather, it should focus on how to provide exceptional customer experiences to enable your customers to succeed.
By enabling customer successes, value and leverage are created for the entire revenue organization. With enablement at the forefront of aligning customer successes with business objectives, it is the priority of sales enablement professionals to focus on customer needs and experiences. To achieve this, it is crucial for enablement professionals to show empathy, focus on consistency and personalization, be a partner, and unify revenue teams behind a unified mission. In doing so, enablement can help create positive lasting relationships with customers.