At a time when customer demands for service, communication, and responsiveness are at an all-time high, outstanding customer enablement can give you a leg up on your competitors.
Today’s customers expect companies to delight them at every turn. In the US, 59% of people will walk away from a company after several bad experiences, and 17% will go elsewhere after just one poor experience.
These trends point to the importance of customer enablement, yet few companies are clear on how to provide better customer experiences that empower clients to succeed.
In this post, we’ll define what customer enablement is, look at why it’s essential for companies, and discover some best practices you can use to set up a successful customer enablement program at your company.
What is customer enablement?
Customer enablement provides buyers with all the resources, tools, and guidance they need to successfully use your product. All the strategies companies use to enhance the customer experience fall under the overall umbrella of customer enablement.
Customer success enablement can include things like:
- A customer success team that helps clients learn to use your product
- A series of training videos that provides ongoing education about your topic, your product, or your industry
- Advocacy tools that encourage customers with rewards and discounts
- Help centers and knowledge bases
- Traditional customer support via phone, email, or chat.
Why do businesses need customer enablement?
Customer loyalty is critical to every company’s success, and this is particularly true in subscription-based business models that rely on renewals to sustain growth.
Whether you run a traditional or subscription-based business, a strategic approach to customer success enablement will ensure consistent, scalable success.
When customers have a great experience with your company, their rave reviews help bring in new business, and repeat buyers who love your brand.
Customers begin forming their impression of a business long before a purchase, and it’s important to align sales efforts with customer enablement for a seamless experience.
Sales enablement empowers sales teams with access to the knowledge, tools, best practices, coaching, and resources to sell more effectively. It can improve the customer experience during the buying process, building trust through a customer-centric, consultative selling approach. However, the process is not directed at customers; it’s directed at sellers.
Once a deal has closed, customer enablement programs are activated to provide a consistently positive customer experience throughout the rest of the buyer’s journey with your company.
Ideally, your sales and customer enablement strategies will work together to help you boost sales, scale revenue, and build a loyal client base.
Best practices for customer enablement
Customers are the foundation of your business, so their loyalty to your products and services is essential. The best way to ensure buyers return once they’ve completed their purchases is to ensure they’re satisfied at every stage.
Now that you understand the basics of customer enablement, let’s look at the ingredients of a successful customer enablement program.
Empower customers with knowledge
When customers feel confident using your product or service, they’ll become more invested in your company. That’s why it’s vital to give your customers the training and education they need to succeed, especially when they’re new to your products and services.
Your educational program can range in scale and include anything from full training and certification courses to simple how-to videos published on YouTube. It all depends on your budget and your team’s bandwidth for creating educational resources.
Knowledge bases and help centers, where new and existing customers can access FAQs, how-to articles, demos, and customer training at their own pace and in real time, are often a staple of customer enablement. A simple self-service help center can be highly effective for common questions about how to use your product.
Some companies also include live training sessions with product experts during the customer onboarding process.
Cross-functional alignment among teams is essential for customer enablement but is tough to achieve because units are siloed. Technology can do a lot to help with visibility, provide access to insights, and increase transparency. This, in turn, enables teams to work better and improves customer happiness because you can respond better to their needs with more personalized communication.
Provide built-in documentation
Want to provide instant, helpful advice that customers can access immediately when using your product? Consider adding built-in documentation and in-app tools that provide customers with short, friendly prompts and pop-up messages.
You can also help users get acquainted with your product’s most important features by offering interactive tours within the software interface.
Built-in documentation is helpful because your customers can learn new skills that instantly apply to what they’re working on within your product. Just-in-time learning like this helps customers establish new workflows and reinforces what they learn in more in-depth training courses.
Provide top-notch support
One of the most important elements of customer enablement is reliable, responsive, useful support.
When customers reach out and request support, they expect immediate answers and don’t want to be left hanging with their problem unresolved.
Here are a few quick tips for providing outstanding support as part of your customer enablement program:
- Set up a modern support ticket system for tracking issues, communicating with customers, and collecting data on your support team’s performance.
- Focus on resolving issues as quickly as possible, without cutting corners and closing issues before the customer is satisfied.
- Train your support reps to address every issue with care and empathy – even with difficult or demanding customers.
- Provide multiple channels for support, including social media, email, phone, and chat.
Embrace customer feedback
Customer feedback – both positive and negative – can be priceless if you leverage it correctly.
Your customers are using your product every day, and they can be a valuable part of your QA team. Their everyday experiences might uncover issues you wouldn’t otherwise discover, and your customers will appreciate it when you integrate their feedback into product development.
While Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and simple questions like “How likely are you to recommend this business to a friend or colleague?” can be helpful, more specific feedback enables you to deliver better products and delightful customer experiences.
Set up a system for capturing customer feedback and provide easy ways for customers to communicate their experiences, issues, and concerns. Ask open-ended questions whenever possible.
Look for ways to incorporate customer feedback into your product development cycle. Working closely with your customers to develop your product ensures that your solution always meets their needs, and incorporating their feedback also ensures their success and eliminates roadblocks.
Leverage brand advocates
Your best, most loyal customers have the power to convince others to do business with you – so empower them with the tools and resources they need to advocate on your company’s behalf!
Segment your subscriber list and create a group of people who are most likely to turn into outspoken brand advocates, then invite that segment to share testimonials and positive stories about how they are using your product. Reward them when they recommend your company to other people, and provide images and swipe copy they can use to reach out to others.
How you interact with your strongest brand advocates will help you build more recommendations and referrals, leading to more robust sales.
Create a community
Gathering customers online in pursuit of shared interests isn’t new in the B2B world – but with in-person meetings and trade shows increasingly being replaced by digital sales strategies, the trend of companies creating virtual communities has accelerated.
Vibrant communities offer passionate, engaged professionals a way to connect online and discuss what they care about.
As part of your customer enablement efforts, think about these aspects of creating a community around your company’s industry or topic:
- Be authentic. Business relationships are built on genuine connections, so focus on creating warm, real human conversations in your community.
- Establish credibility. One of your goals in building a community is to establish your company as a thought leader, so share high-quality, engaging, helpful content linked to what you sell. Avoid heavy sales pitches – your content is meant to be educational.
- Give recognition. Reward the most active participants in your community, and offer them ways to step into leadership roles when possible.
Strategic, effective customer enablement
To build a successful customer enablement strategy, focus on creating consistently positive customer experiences. Every department in your company, from sales to marketing to support, should get on board and prioritize customer enablement as part of your company culture. Technology is key to support your customer-facing teams and helping your customers. A 360 degrees view of your customer anywhere at any time and providing them with access to the right content to engage with the right insights is critical to support your customer-centric approach.
By taking a proactive approach that includes training, high-quality support, a thriving customer feedback loop, and strong communities, you can build a powerful customer engine that helps build brand loyalty and scale your business.
Sign up for a free demo to find out how Pitcher can help you create an effective sales enablement program at your company.
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