Build Strong Customer Relationship ROI—3 Simple Strategies

Burke Alder

Customer Success Strategist

The joy of life is centered around the relationships we build and foster. Business relationships are no different. While the end goal may be to generate revenue and grow your business, you cannot accomplish that goal without loyal customers and meaningful relationships.

Relationship ROI Defined

The term “Relationship ROI” in the context of customer success is used to describe the value that can come from developing and continually fostering relationships with customers and, more specifically, individuals within customer accounts. Over time, this will pay dividends and can be referred to as Lifetime Value (LTV) of a customer.

Relationship ROI can show itself in many ways. For example, your company may experience deep loyalty from customers and the only reason the account didn’t churn was because there was a deep relationship and trust that existed between your company and the customer. This is just one example of relationship ROI. The benefit relationship ROI is strong renewal rates, word of mouth growth, expansion opportunities, and market leadership.

How can you, as a customer success manager (CSM), develop these deep and meaningful customer relationships?

Here are 3 ways:

3 Ways to Build Relationship ROI

1. Go High & Wide Across the Organization

What happens after a contract is signed and the customer is won over, training is done, and the team is using your product? Well, that excitement may not last long if relationships aren’t strong across the organization. Many times, few relationships are developed outside of the day-to-day contacts. While sometimes that can work if that contact is a true champion and is vocal about the success they are achieving with your company, but it’s a risky bet. What happens if your only contact leaves the company? You’re likely left with no advocate and no additional relationships within the account. You’re at risk of losing that customer and you have to start from scratch building new relationships – if you’re even given the opportunity.

Our CEO, Dave Blake, learned from his mentor at Omniture, Steve Wellen, a concept called “High & Wide”. While the term is usually referenced as a sales strategy, it absolutely applies to customer success just as strongly. The concept references the goal to develop as many relationships as possible high and wide within your customer’s organization. Rather than having the entire relationship hinge on one or two lower-level contacts that have little to no influence or buying power, broaden your scope to develop as many relationships as possible throughout the entire organization.

2. Use DELTs to Keep Your Relationships Strong

In addition to the importance of going High & Wide throughout the organization, another strategy to develop strong Relationship ROI is to use something that Dave Blake and his Omniture team coined “DELT”, which stands for “Director & Executive Level Touches”. With this, Dave and his team measured how many new relationships at the Director level and above their CSMs were able to develop, as well as how often they nurtured those relationships. When this strategy is applied, it can totally transform the customer success culture and trajectory. By establishing strong Director and Executive level relationships, the overall customer relationship no longer teeters on a few individuals, but rather creates broad, solid footings throughout the customer base that can ultimately lead to substantial expansion revenue.

3. Nurture Every Relationship

Know that your high and wide and using DELT, you’re already a known entity, you can pass over the “getting-to-know-us” phase and instead focus on reminding existing consumers of the benefits and value your company brings to the table, and make sure their goals and KPIs are at the forefront of conversations. Remind them that their business is appreciated and of value to your company by offering them access to exclusive events, resources, case studies, product release information and educational opportunities even offered by third parties.

While the goal isn’t to inundate customers with offers and information, it’s important to provide a consistent stream of awareness so that your company and its products or services are always top of mind.

How Does Your Company Build Relationship ROI?

Take a few minutes today to evaluate your current customer relationships. In which accounts do you have shallow and narrow relationships? Which customer accounts need nurturing? Make a plan today to develop deeper, more personal relationships. If managed correctly, Relationship ROI absolutely pays off in the long run.

Check out our resources below for more customer success best practices and insights for how your organization can build stronger relationships that result in relationship ROI:


5 Ways to Surprise & Delight Your Customers

3 Steps to Putting Your Customer First this Year

Blog Posts:

The Golden Rule of Customer Success: 8 Guiding Principles

6 Listening Techniques of Great Customer Success Leaders

Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong customer success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use Customer Success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.

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