Beyond the glossy brochures and timely social media posts, there remains the challenge of creating a true connection with one’s customers. All businesses seek loyal customers. For that to happen, companies need to build relationships with their customers. Customers must trust and feel emotionally connected to the brand.

Making the right kind of sports shoe or fixing a cavity is hardly enough to secure life-long customer respect and loyalty. Businesses must not only study but also understand the customer journey pertaining to their particular set of products or services. There is something special, beyond the actual product or service, that delivers customer success. That is, quite simply, dependable customer service. Empowered employees assist potential customers in gaining the maximum benefit out of their products and services.

With an increasingly competitive global marketplace, sometimes the only true differentiator is the quality of customer support on offer. Only organisations that take the initiative to review, and invest in customer service skills can achieve true customer success.

Here are three aspects of customer success management guaranteed to boost customer satisfaction:

#1 Anticipate Your Customer’s Needs

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: you already know what you want to buy and how much you want to spend, even before you walk into the store. In most cases, even before the brand’s website loads, the customer’s expectations are already set.

The friction begins when the in-store or online shopping experience differs from the customer’s expectations.  A crucial aspect of real-time customer success management is being aware of the customer’s needs before they express them. From a customer experience point of view, by the time a consumer is verbalizing their needs, chances are they have already been let down in some way.

As a leader, you need to make sure your team treats every customer the way they would expect to be treated. Your team must thoroughly study the customer, their attitude, their estimated budget, key lifestyle-related factors and shopping behaviors. Tools such as surveys and point-of-sale (PoS) questionnaires come in handy when trying to accurately gauge the customer’s requirements. There will be shoppers who want to get things done quickly and are eager to close a deal as soon as possible. Then there are other shoppers who prefer conducting a cost-comparison with other vendors. They will probably discuss all the features two times over before making their final purchase.  Unless a brand truly understands their customer, they will be unable to build a mutually-beneficial relationship with them.

#2 Ask for Real-Time Feedback

There are a few aspects of the shopping experience that consumers miss out on, feedback is one of them. If your brand can not figure out what the customers are thinking, it’s because you are looking in the wrong place. The simplest way to gain actionable feedback from existing and prospective customers is to ask for it.

Ask your customers for their honest opinion at all the contact points:  on social media,  via email, over the phone or even in person. Listen to what your customers have to say, regardless of how irrelevant or offensive it may seem.  A customer’s opinion is valid, even if it is expressed in a disagreeable manner. There may just be a case of shopper’s anxiety that can be cleared up with clear, empathetic dialogue with a customer service representative.

After gaining feedback on a service, product or even a customer support interaction, the next step is to acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Simultaneously, the feedback should be reviewed and forwarded to the concerned department for implementation. A well-oiled business will fulfill their customer’s requirements with zero compromises.

#3 Train Your Customer Service Staff

The first step in sustainable customer success management is investing in customer service training programs for your staff.  Before a consumer walks out of the store’s doors, and before they write up a glowing product review, a company must have well-trained staff. While colleges and universities prepare future employees with all the basics of writing and arithmetic, they usually leave out soft skills in the curriculum. Employers must strategically fill in the gaps with communication skills or critical-thinking skills trainings or risk an endless hiring-and-firing cycle.

With the advent of fun, game-based learning kits, official trainings are anything but dull! Managers can commission completely customised learning sessions for their customer support staff that are both engaging and informative. In an informal, relaxed environment, customer service representatives are encouraged to role-play and share their thoughts and concerns. As a community (and under the watchful guidance of a skilled facilitator) the participants are able to share their customer support experiences.

Fact: customer service is the ultimate battleground for modern-day businesses. Achieving customer success should be an overall goal for every member of the organisation, not just for the sales, or customer support representatives. When that priority is set in place, the company is poised to gain and retain customers for the long-term. Customers should be able to trust a company enough to choose it over the competition. This trust stems from repeated and positive interactions with the brand or its official representatives. An organisation’s continued growth depends on keeping the customer satisfied with its products and services.