Here we are going to talk about how you can be successful in your technology business by developing a meaningful relationships with your clients.
Many people think that having a great, cutting-edge product that addresses actual issues in a particular market is the key to running a successful technology business. Although this is undoubtedly an important element, the majority of successful company owners have come to the realization that it does not, by itself, result in the widespread adoption and retention of new clients.
The bottom line
In today’s economic environment, as they face the pressures of a looming recession, business owners are increasingly concerned with their bottom line. As a result, they are scrutinizing their budgets and scrutinizing how every dollar is spent. Vendors, service providers, and technology solutions that have not yet proven to be a valuable, necessary component of the business are quickly axed.
During these times of uncertainty, technology providers may believe it is advisable to emphasize their use of data or improved product features, but experience has taught me that devoloping a meaningful relationships with clients is what requires more energy and focus. This is frequently the saving grace of a technology company. Startups can build a loyal client base by fostering relationships that lead to long-term value creation for their customers by adding additional value through genuine human connection and support.
Technology firms that lose sight of the human relations aspect of running a business risk becoming disconnected from their customer base, which frequently results in an incomplete understanding of client priorities and challenges. Investors, building owners, and developers must be able to pivot quickly in response to market turbulence in an industry like commercial real estate, where financials and project status can change at the drop of a hat.
Startups that have consistent conversations with their customers can gain real-time insight into how market shifts affect their customers’ businesses and adjust their strategy to avoid future setbacks.
Creating Mutually Beneficial Relationships
The best way in developing a meaningful relationships with a strong interpersonal connections, is to see your customers as people first and foremost, rather than as a source of revenue. My real estate tech startup was founded nearly seven years ago, and one of the wisest decisions my founding partners and I made was to establish a dedicated customer success team. The primary responsibility of this team is to act as trusted advisors to our customers, which is why it is made up of former real estate developers and project managers.
Your customer support staff should essentially act as an extension of the client team, so it is critical to have employees who speak the customer’s language and understand the nuances and pain points of their businesses.
Clients need to know your team is truthful, responsive, and that you genuinely care about any difficulties they are experiencing, especially during times of economic uncertainty. By going above and beyond in your customer support processes and making an effort to understand the people who make up a customer’s business, rather than just the numbers and bottom line, they will regard you as a trusted partner and integral member of their own team.
The ability to learn from your customers to build a better, more reliable product is an added benefit of cultivating strong customer relationships. For example, if a customer is having difficulty projecting their cash flow, my team can create a feature to help them with this.
This allows us to fine-tune our solution and grow our offerings to resolve pain points that would not have been on our radar had it not been for a customer’s candid feedback or ongoing conversations with our customer success team.
Concentrate on Long-Term Relationships
It is critical to make meaningful, long-term connections with clients by making them feel heard, understood, and supported. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years for developing stronger, more connected customer relationships:
◇. Prioritize long-term goals over short-term rewards.
While it may be easy to make more money in the short term by recommending a wide range of products, taking the time to deeply understand a client’s business and the gaps in their operations and workflow will make all the difference when developing a long-term strategy centered on your customer’s goals and will result in a more meaningful business relationship.
◇. Put together a team of industry experts.
Customer success teams should enhance the technology with contextual layers of experience. When attempting to provide relevant insights and recommendations, it is critical to have a team comprised of professionals who have spent time in and understand the complexities of the customer’s industry.
◇. Act as a reliable advisor.
Customers should feel confident that they can rely on your team to be there when they need it, especially during times of uncertainty and hectic market conditions. Building a knowledgeable customer success team that understands how to navigate and solve complex problems will demonstrate to your customers that they can rely on you even in the most difficult of circumstances.
◇. Maintain a personal touch.
Finally, your customers’ businesses are run by humans who are affected by the same things you are. When the opportunity arises, be personal and empathetic, and show genuine interest in their families and hobbies. Getting to know the people who run your customers’ businesses is the key to building a long-term relationship.
Moreover, as a leader, I make it a point to emphasize that developing a meaningful relationships or prioritizing customer relationships means prioritizing organizational success. At the end of the day, both startups and their clients understand that the ultimate goal is to make money—still it’s a business—but technology companies that don’t overlook the importance of human connections will always have a competitive advantage.
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