Meet our new guest blogger Zena Brand. A real thought leader in the software and HRMS industries with a mythical-sounding name, Zena is the principal of Brand Associates, and a contributor and business partner at TSheets. In a series of thought-provoking articles, she will challenge and inspire you to re-evaluate your business strategies, and move your focus forward. Learn more about Zena at the end of this post.
~ ~ ~
Do or do not. There is no try.
Yoda is one of my favorite mentors. Do or do not. Companies will either be successful building a loyal customer base in the new world of subscription based solutions or they will not. Accept the fact that we are now in the age of the customer who is in control of their own buying, and with subscription services, leaving processes. Customers are either happy or they are not. Customers stay or they go. Very simple.
Here’s an example of the “Do Not”. A company builds products in their labs with their experts and their expectations for what a buyer wants. They roll these products to the general market, then follow-up with satisfaction surveys to track whether or not the buyer is happy with the application and customer support. Satisfaction ratings come back, scores get tabulated and comments get categorized for management. No feedback to clients. Wait six months and they do the survey again. Sort of an endless rinse and repeat process. I’m not sure if you speak with those customers if they would be able to say that they felt that their feedback had been heard or if their time had been well spent in responding to the survey.
Here’s another example. I recently signed up for a nice cloud solution to organize account management and share documents. The next morning I received an email from the company with the subject line, “I am here to help you.” Immediately I thought that the sales team was reaching out to “round up” my purchase decision to the broader solution. Reading on, I found my skeptical reaction was wrong. The email came from the Product Manager. It was a genuine offer to help if I got stuck, along with a couple of tips on getting started – and an open request that I share my product experience with him. No survey, no tabulations, no schedule. Just an open offer to engage me, the customer, in conversation regarding the solution. Feels like a “Do.”
It’s not surprising that I am very happy with the product. The user experience makes sense, it’s fun to use, it does what I want and it’s a good value. I get the feeling that the provider listens rather than tabulates and responds rather than categorizes. I haven’t had any issues yet, but I suspect it would be worth my time to share my feedback. Feels almost customer centric, oh my.
Why don’t all companies do this? Are they afraid of being overwhelmed with feedback? Are they afraid that they will not be able to respond? Or is their interest in customer satisfaction limited to “trying” to improve the score rather than actually “doing” what it takes to improve?
What if every senior person in your company reached out to a new customer and said, “I am here to help you?” Not just the biggest accounts – the next new account. Maybe your company is so big with so many new clients that you can’t connect with them all, sigh. But think what you could learn if each person on your leadership team connected with one new customer each month and shared the feedback? What could you “Do”?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Zena brings up a great point. So we ask our TSheets customers: how are we doing?
We want to listen. And do.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
About the author: Zena Brand
Zena has a “Passion for Products and Partnerships”. She specializes in developing relationships with Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 companies to drive business growth through better market understanding, productive partnerships and developing products that people love. Prior to pursuing her dream to build a consulting organization, Zena was SVP, Product Strategy for ADP Employer Services. She led development of two partnerships with SAP AG and the highly successful product launch of GlobalView®, ADP’s multinational HR/Payroll solution. She managed product in 12 countries to increase sales and client retention, contributing to doubling the International division revenues in 6 years to $1B. In one five-year period, Zena and her team launched 12 new products – all of which achieved significant commercial success. Zena has an MBA in IT and a BA in Economics.