Trust in the customer journey is paramount. Duh! I know this isn’t a new concept, but too often, organizations speak to the importance of trust, but don’t organize to achieve it.
Instead, they distract themselves, and each other, with data and metrics that lack substance. Without trust there are no views or clicks. There are no completed forms or conversions. And, there are definitely no renewals or repeat purchases.
When Trust Is Off Track
Enterprises emphasize customer data for good reason. It can yield insights that help frame improvements and progress. And, quantifying results and ROI is on every marketing and sales pros to-do list.
Too often though, the metrics and data that get collected get in the way of the very progress you are trying to achieve. Our customer success team at Allbound regularly encounters prospects and customers who have let the simple ability to measure stuff, cloud the real indicators of performance ( KPI ). Here are a couple cases in point:
“Active,” but no activity: One of our customers purchased Allbound to replace an existing partner portal. That portal was a place they directed partners to. There wasn’t much value there for partners – no training, little content and one-direction deal submission via a web form. But, the metrics didn’t lie. At any one time, 70% of portal users were active! What was considered active? A partner rep had requested a log in and signed into the portal once. ONCE!
The 5%: One of our Customer Success Managers got involved in demos and sales meetings around a particularly high-value prospect. That prospect had experienced tremendous growth over the past five years and knew that investing in its partner ecosystem was the only way to scale the way they (and their investors) were expecting. They were certain to build a partner tech infrastructure that integrated CRM, ERP, Marketing Automation and more. They were signing on partners at an accelerated rate and needed to train, enable and empower those partners to be successful. What metric would be the indicator of success? If the percentage of partners using the portal reached 5%. FIVE PERCENT!
Unfortunately these types of stories are common. The ease of measuring customer, partner and other stakeholder activities has expanded along with the digital revolution. But data in and of itself isn’t valuable. It has to lead you somewhere.
“Without trust, there can be no meaningful connection between people.”
This quote is from Dr. Brenè Brown a researcher, professor and best-selling author on topics of vulnerability, connection and trust (and she was a keynote speaker at Inbound 2015). Referencing her here may be a surprise to some of you, but her research and work on the value of connection and trust in relationships and in business is difficult to dispute. Plus she has one of the best statements I’ve heard about data relevance by saying “metrics don't meant shit without the relational component.”
In business, earning a customer’s trust means earning revenue. And if you agree trust is the goal and the root of a healthy customer experience, then you need to have it as a focus. The small moments of your customers’ experience need to build into trust. Sales, renewals and loyalty will be a bi-product.
Practicing What We Preach
Our customer success team at Allbound has its own approach for creating trust within our own customer base. The idea is just that, IDEAS. Here is how it breaks down:
Implement, don’t just install. Deliver on expectations. Educate honestly. Action that creates progress. Service that makes doing business easy.
Our customers are seeking to grow their businesses through different types of channel relationships. The tenets outlined above are grounded in the philosophy that our product is a strategic means to an end. The accountability is ours to make sure our software is thoughtfully applied and used for the success of our customers.
If you accept the accountability for the success customers have with your solutions, you need to start by figuring out how you’ll earn their trust. If your company proves to prospects that it can be trusted, success won’t be far behind.