Building Customer Trust with Data

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Low customer retention and high churn rates can be caused by several different factors—but one of the most impactful factors that contribute to retention is customer trust. Customers are far more likely to continue buying products or services from companies they see as trusted advisors, and it often takes time and effort to position your own company as such.

Signs that customers don’t trust you may include: Low customer retention, high churn, low health scores, lack of engagement, lack of progress, or lack of adoption. To get ahead of this, it’s important to recognize signs of lost trust and combat them by sharing key data to prove product value throughout the customer journey. However, this is no small feat. It can take several hours for CS teams to pull and compile the data they need to better understand their customers, which in turn takes away time that could be spent building stronger relationships. If customer trust seems to be lacking at your organization, it’s time to build a roadmap for how to efficiently deliver data-driven content at every stage in the customer lifecycle for all of your accounts.

Measuring trust

Trust is relatively intangible, but as mentioned above, there are some signs that can point to room for improvement. To determine whether or not customers trust you, start by asking yourself and your CS team some questions:

  • Is your retention rate as high as you want it to be?
  • Are you touching base with customers consistently throughout the customer lifecycle?
  • Do you provide personalized insights to customers based on their goals, objectives, and stage in the customer lifecycle?
  • Is this data digestible, consistent, compelling, and scalable; and does it provide evidence of success with your product?
  • Are you able to concretely showcase product value for each of your accounts?

If the answer is no to any of the above, your organization has some room for improvement. It’s absolutely essential to build trust with customers throughout the customer journey, especially during an economic downturn when budget cuts threaten business. Using data to present yourself as a trusted advisor will establish your product as business-critical, set your product apart from the competition, and boost retention.

Building trust

At this point, you may have established that your business could make efforts to improve trust with customers—and even if retention rates are high, there’s always room for improvement. While there are many avenues toward building trust and credibility with customers, one of the most impactful ways to do so is by sharing personalized, data-driven content strategically throughout the customer lifecycle. This is the most effective way to prove product value and progress toward your customer’s specific goals.

The process of building trust takes time—data-driven content should be brought into customer conversations not only at renewal time, but at every stage including onboarding, adoption, and expansion. Data-driven content should tell a story that builds upon itself based on the customer’s unique goals and position in the customer lifecycle, and it’s up to CSMs to navigate this accordingly. Here are the four essential steps that should go into data-driven content development.

Map out the customer lifecycle

Which stages do your customers go through as they start using your product? It may look slightly different at each organization, but a typical customer journey may look like this: discovery, negotiation, onboarding, adoption, renewal, and expansion. Whatever it may look like, start by creating a roadmap of this process so your CSMs can determine which data matters to customers most depending on which stage they’re in.

Create the narrative

Every customer is different—even though they’ve all chosen to solve pain points with your product, they will all have different goals and objectives. It’s crucial to get to know each customer’s specific goals at the start of the customer journey so you can develop a story that shows how your product is helping them get there. Remember: Goals and objectives may change along the way, so make sure to have frequent touchpoints to make sure you’re all still on the same page. With the customer’s goals in mind, you can pull data to build a story that resonates.

Determine the data you need

Now that you’ve mapped out the customer lifecycle and ideal success story, you need to determine which data points you need to pull in order to move the story forward. Data is what will ultimately prove the value of your product and add credibility to your story. And, as mentioned above, data should build upon itself to tell a comprehensive story of progress toward goals. For example, during the onboarding stage, share account data and reiterate customer goals. In the adoption stage, present user and feature adoption insights and share recommendations for improvement. Then, in the renewal stage, you can put all of the foundational data together to present the most impactful data of all—ROI data.

Make it scalable

The data-driven content process can be time consuming, and while it’s an essential part of building trust, it’s simply not efficient for CSMs to build hundreds of personalized presentations full of tailored data. In addition, many CSM teams are unable to standardize this process, and customers may see inconsistent information throughout their journey. With all of this in mind, CS teams need to make the data-driven content process repeatable and scalable to fully experience the impact. In order to do this, CS teams should consider automating parts of the process, creating data-driven content templates, and making sure CS teams can pull key data on their own to avoid bottlenecks.

Customer trust is a must, especially for organizations that need a high renewal rate in order to be successful. By following the steps above to create personalized data-driven content throughout the customer lifecycle, your CS team can prove product value, build credibility, and forge stronger relationships. With customers that see you as a trusted advisor and partner, your product will be more likely to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

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