Just before Valentine’s Day, we invited three outstanding customer-relationship experts for an intimate discussion about building customer love.

Kellie Capote (VP Customer Success at Gainsight), Patrick Quinlan (Senior Manager of Self-Service & Analytics at Citrix) and Brian Sharp (President of SafetyChain Software) took part in this hour-long discussion about creating and maintaining trust in a digital world, professing your love through stellar self-service experiences, and using data to determine if customers love you back!

Here are some of the great insights that came out of this virtual panel:

They trust me, they trust me not

Trust is the foundation of any good relationship. To build trust with customers, the panel says you need to shore up your authenticity, know your customers, and authentically care about their problems and needs. They illuminated three necessities to creating trust with customers:

  • Be who you say you are. State your values upfront, then ensure your actions match those values.
  • Stop asking your customers to repeat what you already know about them and their needs.
  • It’s not enough to say you care. Have empathy and authentically care about your customers’ issues.

Seamless digital experiences drive trust. But what exactly does “seamless” mean? You can build seamless experiences by connecting business functions (like sales, onboarding, support, customer success) with frictionless handoffs and tailored messaging, by focusing on customer outcomes, and by building customer success into the culture of the entire company.

Getting seamless experiences right requires starting with understanding the desired business outcome of your customer and working backwards from there. Essentially, the process starts with the sales team – it’s on them to understand why a customer is interested in your product to begin with. This kind of specificity helps to power personalized experiences throughout the customer journey.

Customers hate to repeat their story of needs over and over again. Whether interacting with a high-touch Customer Success Manager or personalizing the messaging in digital products, use known information about what the customer is trying to achieve with your product. Their ecosystem should surround them with resources that are relevant to them based on what they’re looking for at that moment.

The key to their hearts

Knowledge is a key lever for building trust. Whether knowledge is communicated through automation, chatbots, digitized contact centers or personalized content, self-service knowledge capabilities are paramount in this remote world.

But what makes self-service effective? The best self-service knowledge models reduce effort for customers. Too often, disparate data is spread across different platforms. Self-service means replacing this disparate content experience with one that is unified and available to customers wherever they are.

Automation can help serve up the right content, but only if you know your customers and are able to effectively orchestrate information across content silos. Reducing the effort it takes for customers to achieve their desired outcomes requires finding creative ways to personalize the knowledge experience.

You had me at “unified”

Nothing says “I love you” like a unified omnichannel, integrated experience.

Digital-led experiences start with onboarding and lead customers to the value moment in the platform without overwhelming them with options. Pre-empt their needs and design an experience tailored to them.

And don't forget this shortcut to your customers' hearts: knowledge served up right inside the product. The ability to bring specific knowledge directly to each user, wherever they are, at the precise moment of need, helps them get back quickly to whatever they were trying to do. And when they manage to do that, that leads to true customer success.

Megan Gilhooly is VP of Customer Experience at Zoomin. She previously led global content teams at AWS, Amazon and Ping Identity. You can subscribe to her Friday Reflections here.

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