Last week’s post focused on the mandate to be proactive in your accessibility to your team as a manager, whether you’re a CEO, VP or a department head. There simply is no excuse for not being available to your team members. Well, the same applies to your relationship with your customers. Finding ways to stay connected must be a priority. That’s not to say that you need to constantly monitor the customer hotline, but there are plenty of opportunities that you may have been leaving untapped. Let’s take a look.
At Hannon Hill, we use Intercom for customer engagement. It helps us examine at the way that our customers are using our products, analyze their digital body language and interact with users by sending them emails or direct messages. You can also deploy Intercom on your website so that customers, prospects, and potential partners can chat with your team. And while I am not the first responder on the chat, I enjoy popping in and fielding inquiries occasionally, as it’s a quick way to learn what our audience cares about and assess the effectiveness of our website and messaging.
One of our favorite ways to communicate with customers is via Slack. We have a dedicated Slack account with multiple pertinent channels, such as Marketing, Development, Training, etc. I strongly encourage you to at least monitor the discussions happening in those channels and to chime in as appropriate.
In our company, we have a dedicated Client Advocate, who is the first point of contact for our customers, whether it’s questions about billing, new services, logistics or even the product itself. The client advocate hosts feedback sessions during which she strives to learn about your use of the product and your goals and conveys the feedback back to the product team (and to you!). But don’t stop there. As a leader, make it your duty to stay connected to your customers and to get first-hand feedback. Be sure to block off time to conduct feedback sessions with your clients. You may also consider introducing yourself to new customers during kick-off calls with your client advocates or your services team.
Easy email addresses
If you want to be an accessible leader, make it easy guess and to remember your email address. In fact, I recommend making it short and using the format [firstname]@[company.com]. Obviously, you will want to be selective about the emails you’re reading and especially the ones that you respond to, because after all, your bandwidth is limited. However, there’s nothing more powerful than getting direct feedback from your customers and providing personalized service in return.
We’ve been hosting user conferences for more than twelve years, and though they are a lot of work, they are immensely gratifying. I always think of our own user conference as the prime opportunity to enjoy interactions with our customers, whether it’s after a presentation, during a focus group session, during one on one consulting sessions, or at social events.
I love hosting webinars. Sometimes, it’s a for specific group of users, such as our marketing user group, and sometimes, it’s more general web sessions, such as an overview of your latest product release or a relevant topic such as writing for the web. There’s so much to gain from ad hoc questions or communication afterwards. Be sure to follow up with attendees, even if it’s in an email that contains your answers to the questions submitted by your attendees.
As a C or VP level, make an effort to seek out direct interactions with your customers. Be accessible to the people who ultimately have a hand in your success.
What about you? How do you stay in close contact with your customers?