Customers are the backbone of every business.
So how can you ensure that they stick around? By ensuring that your buyers are satisfied at every stage of the customer lifecycle with a strategic approach to customer enablement.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to delight and retain customers for the long run, including:
- What is customer enablement?
- Why do you need customer enablement?
- How should sales and customer enablement work together?
- Customer enablement best practices
What Is Customer Enablement?
Customer enablement, or client enablement, refers to any processes designed to improve customer experience. This is achieved by providing buyers with the tools, resources, and guidance they need to successfully use your product. In doing so, you can ensure customers are satisfied, and therefore, loyal.
In practice, customer enablement can take the form of a services or customer success team that helps users quickly ramp on your product, to video series that provides ongoing education on your industry and offering. Whatever your approach, a dedicated customer enablement effort is sure to help embed your solution in your buyer’s business.
Why Do You Need Customer Enablement?
Customer loyalty is essential for every company’s success. This is especially true in SaaS and other subscription-based business models which rely on renewals and expansions to sustain growth.
But building and maintaining customer love is equally important for traditional business models as well. Customers are critical to growth, whether it’s because their rave reviews help capture new business, or because repeat purchasers who keep coming back for more.
No matter your business, a thoughtful approach to customer enablement will ensure your success continues to scale.
How Should Sales and Customer Enablement Work Together?
Customer enablement and sales enablement are two sides of the same coin. Sales enablement is focused on ensuring that salespeople have the content, training, and guidance they need to close deals; customer enablement simply replicates these initiatives — but for the customer, not the seller.
You can think of it as a handoff: Before a deal is closed, you should focus on enabling your salespeople’s success. Once an opportunity is won, customer enablement programs — like onboarding with a customer success team, or post-sales marketing efforts — are activated. Together, these two functions ensure a consistent customer experience, throughout their lifecycle.
Customer Enablement Best Practices
Now that you know the basics of customer enablement, let’s take a look at how to make the most of your program.
Turn Customers into Champions
Customers are every business’ secret weapon: through advocacy and influence, they can convince even the most skeptical buyers to purchase your product. Therefore, it’s important that you turn your customers into champions for your business.
Start by breaking your customers into groups based on who is likely to advocate on behalf of your company and how much they are willing to do so. Tailor your advocacy approach to create opportunities for each faction to interact with prospects and leaders, then empower them with guidance and resources, and reward them for their efforts. Soon enough, you’ll have customers selling your product for you.
Are your users using your product effectively? If you sell an innovative solution, chances are there will be a steep learning curve. To ensure that your customers adopt your solution successfully, educate them on how to use it effectively.
Many businesses have found success by offering training courses and certifications for mastery in their product. If you don’t have the resources to launch something quite as intensive, consider producing a series of “How-To” videos uploaded to YouTube or simply try sharing tips and tricks on social media. Your customers will appreciate the help and will master your solution in no time.
Grow Your Community
Community is critical to customer success — social groups allow your buyers to connect with one another to share best practices, frustrations, and more.
Build your community by hosting networking events, forums, or groups on social media that allow your customers to engage in authentic conversations. Keep a close eye on customer sentiment within the community — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not only will this reveal where you are showing up strong, but also where you might have room to improve, allowing you to build a better product over time.
Offer Stellar Support
When a customer has a problem with your solution, they expect a fast, easy solution. Your support and services teams will be essential to ensuring that issues are resolved quickly — and that customers stay happy.
Focus on building out a reliable, useful support service. Whether you offer answers via Twitter or have a global staff tackling problems 24/7, the most important aspect of customer support is empathy. Each interaction, no matter how small, should be addressed as if it’s a personal problem — because to your customer, it is.
Finally, look for ways to incorporate customer feedback into your product roadmap. Though you may be selling your product, your customers are using it every day. Their day-to-day experiences may uncover weaknesses you would have never otherwise identified.
An effective customer enablement engine will capture and triage suggestions for your product team. By working closely with your customers to build your product, you can ensure that your solution effectively meets their needs — and ensures their success.
Empowering Customers for Future Success
An investment in your customers is an investment in your future. By using the best practices outlined above, you can build a powerful customer engine that will secure loyalty from your users for years to come.
Explore our definitive guide to enablement to get the tricks, tips, and tactics you need to implement a program with impact.