By Shona Yang | In today’s digital age, a customer’s experience is the linchpin of any successful online service or product. Maintaining exceptional customer experience is challenging in light of shifting privacy regulations and growing competition.
Chargebee is an automated billing and subscription software service that helps clients provide superior customer experiences around the world. Co-Founder of Chargebee, Krish Subramanian describes the trend as a shift in the ‘relationship economy’ and recommends five ways businesses can take advantage of the changing ecosystem:
Don’t Take The Emotion Out Of It It seems natural to attribute technological disruption to the device or product, but Subramanian is quick to point out that the internet or smartphone device is not the source of so-called disruption.
He says, “the device is just a fundamental building block for companies like Uber, that is creating the real disruption – a user’s expectation has gone up significantly, and whether they are making a phone call or using the Uber app, the same individual is going to expect the same level of experience. It’s important for businesses to internalize this.”
Along with higher expectation for services, the nature of a company’s relationship with its customer has fundamentally changed. According to Subramanian, the attitude of directly ‘selling’ to a buyer has changed to ‘assisted buying.’ Moreover, part of this shift requires businesses to consider the user’s emotions at each stage of the purchasing funnel.
“We cannot take emotions out of it, you cannot take humans out of these business transactions,” said Subramanian.
“People pick you for very random reasons, and we underestimate customer service in the role in winning over a global audience. The reason why someone selects us in the early stages when a product may not have all the features, but it could simply be your speed of response that determine a customer’s loyalty,” he said.
Think Of A Customer’s Lifetime Value (CLV) Across business acumen, there’s a sharp transition away from just selling products, to ensuring a positive return on investment. Businesses should identify opportunities to relate to customers over a long period, rather than in the short term.
A customer’s lifetime value estimates the average revenue generated across the entire lifespan as the customer and helps businesses determine marketing budgets, resources, and forecasting.
Subramanian explains, “in a product-driven economy, everything is about ROI – you have to make money on every unit sold. That priority has completely shifted to thinking about long-term relationships with the customer and their CLV.”
“This shift is happening across the board, and it’s applicable everywhere because every product is a service company in some way and every service is trying to find ways its product creates value and [encourages return customers].”
The co-founder encourages businesses to consider success metrics in light of a customer’s lifetime value.
“When you are not able to keep up with your customer’s growth or their journey, that is when churn happens. What makes my product sticky? It’s a very human thing,” he explained.
Tailor To Different Users On the Chargebee platform, clients leverage the billing platform differently, depending on their business needs. The platform provides different experiences and capabilities for clients to reach their unique users.
“Our strength lies in growing with every business on our platform and building for different stages of the customer’s journey. Many products in the market have a billing experience built into it, but our strength is in investing heavily in thinking about what makes our clients successful so we can get out of the way,” explained the co-founder.
Subramanian also explained how taking the time to observe different types of user behaviors can indicate a lot about a product’s performance. For example, web developers may be frequent users at the start of their interaction, but if these types of users are logging in every day, it may suggest an infrastructure problem.
“The metric we use to determine ‘is this user happy?’ is very different for our different users. That is one part of how we measure our customer experience,” he said.
Tip: Read more about adding the human touch to today’s technology here: https://jumpstartmag.com/excite-not-complicate/
Spend Time In The Trenches As a co-founder, Subramanian is aware of how easy it is for C-level executives to get caught up in the nitty-gritty details of an operation, forgetting the vision and core of the business.
“When things get difficult as a founder, go back to answering and reading customer support requests. You’ll love the feedback, and you’ll be reminded of the problems that your product solves, and you’ll come back to the ‘why’ of what you do,” he said.
Ultimately, the crux of any successful relationship economy is the depth of the brand’s relationship with a customer – ensuring your brand’s leaders remain closely connected and motivated to a customer’s pain points prioritizes the customer’s needs throughout the product experience.
Follow The Regulations Despite working with clients from over 50 different countries, Chargebee has transitioned into new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations effortlessly, managing data protection laws for its clients in the European Union.
Subramanian recognizes the crucial role that data integrity will play and says it is essential to respect a customer’s right to privacy under the new GDPR regulations that ensure personal data is only collected under strict conditions to avoid exploitation and misuse.
He recalls the reaction to the introduction of the GST and says the GDPR will present similar opportunities.
“Regulations such as the GDPR can create friction, and it may feel like it’s a lot to manage as an individual business, but there is always a smarter way to do it if you look around in the market. Many tools do the job better, and it’s a small price to pay to earn customer trust.”
“We are an infrastructure player that is impacted by these changes, but these friction points are beautiful opportunities for us,” he said.
With an abundance of choice and competition, the customer experience is king. Personalisation and relevance are more critical for brands today than ever before. Whether you’re an e-commerce platform or a startup looking to raise capital, prioritize the user’s emotional needs, consider the lifetime value of users, invest time reflecting on user friction points and ensure your business follows changing regulations to maintain long-term success.
About The AuthorShona Yang is a freelance writer and blogger based in Sydney, Australia. In addition to being Jumpstart’s Journalist In Residence (JIR) there, she writes for startups, enjoys travelling and is passionate about human rights in Southeast Asia. See what she’s up to at shonasays.com or email her at email@example.com