Is your customer engagement team effectively navigating the current economic conditions? Uncertainty continues to be the norm. Is there going to be a recession? Will interest rates rise or fall? How about layoffs?
Our customers are understaffed, overwhelmed, dealing with budget cuts, and tasked with meeting goals that may, given the current conditions, feel unattainable. Customer engagement teams are under similar pressures, being asked to do more with less while continuing to retain and grow VIP clients.
The stakes are higher than ever, though, as companies continue to shift their focus to growth through retention as new customer acquisition becomes increasingly difficult.
How can account managers maintain or increase customer engagement as their teams shrink, their portfolios grow, and their goals and time remain unchanged? Here are some customer engagement strategies to help account managers efficiently navigate economically uncertain times while continuing to deliver measurable customer outcomes.
Engage Customers in Times of Uncertainty
Here are some ways account managers can boost customer engagement to maintain relationships with VIP clients during challenging times. These strategies streamline the process for both account managers and their clients while achieving meaningful customer results.
Define and Follow a Cyclical Customer Engagement Process
Help your account managers stay on track by establishing a customer engagement process like our KAM Process™ where KAM means Know, Act, Measure. This recurring process acts as a roadmap for your customer engagement team to follow so they always know what to do next and stay abreast of changes in customer organizations. This enables them to adjust account plans, so they’re always aligned with evolving customer goals and priorities.
Update Account Knowledge Routinely
Client organizations evolve in response to economic and market changes. Therefore, it’s crucial that account managers accelerate the customer engagement process to remain informed of shifts within client organizations, challenges, and goals.
The best way to accomplish this is by revisiting what we call the ‘Know’ phase of the customer engagement process by taking the following steps:
- Update Org Charts and Contact Profiles: During uncertain times there are likely to be organizational changes. Account managers who keep up with the evolving internal customer landscape can proactively build new connections within their accounts. This enables them to stay up to date with the internal workings of each customer organization as it shifts.
- Conduct Voice of Customer Interviews: As external factors continually change, customer goals, challenges, and priorities will likely shift as well. Meaningful conversations with contacts at various levels within client organizations allow account managers to familiarize themselves with new contacts and reacquaint themselves with existing ones. Revisit questions like our COVID-era VOC questions and add one or two radically authentic discovery questions to better understand customer goals.
- Complete a SWOT Analysis: This proactive action provides a clearer picture of all the influences around you, your client, and the marketplace. The process identifies Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats relating to your relationship with your client. Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to your organization whereas Opportunities and Threats are externally related to your client. Completing this analysis enables you to anticipate and plan for issues before they arise.
Adjust, Implement, and Maintain Active Account Plans
Updated account knowledge allows you to revise existing account plans or create plans to drive new or additional customer outcomes. Implement these plans and keep them current as your customer’s goals and priorities change or once a customer goal is achieved.
Track and Communicate Success
Monitor progress toward customer goal achievement using customer-specified measurements to gauge attainment. Be sure to keep your client in the loop with updates on progress, any delays, and, of course, goal achievement. This communication is essential to remind customers about the measurable outcomes they are receiving by using your product or service. This, in turn, boosts customer retention.
Practice Nonintrusive Continuous Engagement
When account managers and customers are stretched to the limit, scheduling in-person or even live interactions becomes increasingly difficult. However, customers still want to hear from you.
Here are a few continuous engagement tips that won’t intrude on your client’s already jam-packed schedule:
- Make every communication count by sharing valuable information, goal achievement updates, relevant content, new use cases, and upcoming product upgrades.
- Use various formats for client communication such as shared Google docs, voice notes, and digital whiteboards for asynchronous collaboration as well as videos, and handwritten notes.
- Schedule shorter virtual meetings between less frequent in-person business reviews to make the most of everyone’s time.
Leverage Teamwork to Boost Customer Engagement
Customer engagement is a team sport. Account managers don’t need to handle every task in an account plan, solve every client issue personally, or provide all training. The account manager leads the team and evangelizes for the customer within the organization. Then all team members that engage with the customer are prepared to support the customer in achieving their goals for using your product or service.
Scale Your Customer Engagement Program
There are various ways to scale your account management program to do more with less. This increases customer engagement without adding to the ever-increasing demands on your account managers.
For instance, you can implement customer programs like new user training and certification, structured onboarding, new feature training, a monthly newsletter, and user groups.
Boost Customer Engagement with Ease
As you strive to do more with less, don’t allow customer engagement to decrease at a time when it is most needed. Continue to engage customers during economically uncertain times without putting added pressure on account managers or their clients.
Implement a cyclical customer engagement process, update account knowledge routinely, keep account plans current, track success, and practice non-intrusive customer engagement. Then leverage teamwork and scale your customer engagement program to take the pressure off account managers.
Taking these steps enables you to continue delivering measurable customer results while doing more with less.
Discover more great customer engagement strategies. Register for KAMCon.
See how Kapta can streamline customer engagement processes. Schedule time with a team member.