Trust is a key factor in retaining and expanding customers.
Proper execution in driving adoption is also critical, but if the customer does not trust, ultimately, they will leave.
All the execution in the world cannot compensate for a lack of trust.
Trust encourages the customer to carry out the activities they need to perform to achieve their objectives with your product, and it promotes the customer’s willingness to use the product more or try new things with it.
The term “trusted advisor” typically pops up in this context and is what customer facing roles aspire to be when they are bringing their a-game to customer retention and expansion.
But what does being a trusted advisor mean, especially as it relates to customer retention and expansion?
What does being a trusted advisor mean?
Most of the information written on being a trusted advisor outline character traits a person should exhibit, not when or how to use those attributes.
The advice offers how to “be”, not what to do to ensure that one becomes a trusted advisor.
Many Customer Success Managers (CSMs) exhibit the behaviours of a trusted advisor – they genuinely care about their customer’s businesses, they are authentic, reliable and passionate – only to fall short of that designation when the customer is not achieving their desired outcomes.
The problem with outlining behaviours that CSMs, or other customer facing roles, should exhibit in isolation of customer outcomes is that there is still a chance that the CSM does not become the trusted advisor that will generate retention and expansion.
The existence of those traits alone does not keep a customer, the company and role must also know what to do in order to become the customer’s trusted advisor.
Becoming a trusted advisor therefore requires a holistic and strategic approach.
The requisite behaviours are still vital but they need to be exhibited in the context of a smart plan to drive adoption and retention.
Employees need a prescriptive approach to driving repeatable success, and then using that as the foundation upon which to demonstrate the demeanor necessary to become trusted.
Customer trust is ultimately won when the promise made to them is realized through a professionally and competently managed process.
It’s the “say what you will do - do it - say what you did” approach.
When this is done, the behaviours required to be a trusted advisor are specifically directed towards, and aligned to, achieving the customer’s objective.
Outlining for the customer how you are going to drive their product adoption and what outcomes they will see, while exhibiting all the characteristics important to gain trust, then paves the way for the strongest type of trusted advisor.
One that can deliver on their promises!