It’s time to replace your next team meeting with a customer appreciation workshop
Customer appreciation is taken seriously at every company, yet is still probably underinvested at every company.
If you spot a gap in your team’s customer engagement and appreciation, it is time to do something drastic. The value of increased engagement and customer satisfaction is exponentially more than most realize.
Stan Massueras, a Sales Director at Intercom, recently said “You can’t afford to treat SaaS customers like they’re disposable.” The truth is, this principle applies to any business. Whether SaaS or not, companies cannot afford to treat customers like they are disposable.
The moment the average customer tells a company they are leaving for a competitor is probably the moment they are most appreciated, aside from when they first signed the contract. The old adage “You never appreciate what you have until it’s gone” is never more true than when a customer churns.
It is no surprise to hear that post-sale support of customers is severely lacking. But it is natural, customer relationships are also complex interpersonal relationships. These relationships require navigation and maintenance, and all too often it loses out to other priorities of the business. Making enough calls, hitting quota, and other important sales goals always seem more pressing to the sales team, and after all, isn’t that customer success’ job?
Customer success is everyone’s job. Inside sales, account managers, customer success managers, even CEOs should be involved in making sure customers are successful, and feel valued. The best organizations train employees at every level of the company to accelerate customer success.
To that end, we have developed a customer appreciation workshop kit for sales teams. Ready to take your customer engagement to the next level? Cancel your next team meeting and replace it with a customer engagement workshop. The results may surprise you.
What is a customer appreciation workshop?
A customer appreciation workshop is any intentional time you take with your sales team to train them on how to develop a culture of gratitude, techniques for customer engagement, and methods for post-sale connection with your customers.
This can take any form that you wish, but we have developed a set of tools in a package that allows you to get started on a customer appreciation workshop immediately. In our kit, and in any process that you develop, you want to look for:
- Some kind of exercise that assesses your team’s current state of customer appreciation. In the kit, we provide a sales gratitude exercise that is based on psychology research – this exercise is an assessment of each individual’s sales gratitude level – everyone will get a score that ranges from 7-27
- Discussion questions to guide a healthy, open group conversation about gratitude and appreciation in general
- Suggestions for customer appreciation action items that the team can commit to after the workshop
Ultimately, customers want to buy from people that appreciate their business. “Customers don’t buy from companies, they buy from people. Your people.” I was recently told a story by a family member at a different company about a major, Fortune 500 account that requested to be serviced by the junior salesperson who was helping with the account, rather than the senior salesperson. Their complaint was that the senior person only talked to them when it came time to renew, but the junior salesperson was helpful and always available throughout the customer experience, which the company preferred.
The value for the business in exploring customer appreciation and gratitude is enormous. We have highlighted a few more major reasons here:
Research shows that gratitude is tied to better performance in every business outcome
In life, being thankful is tied to feeling happier about everything around you. It makes sense – if you take time to think about how you appreciate what you have, you are more likely to feel happy about what you have. Psychology research has backed this principle time and time again. A recent article from Harvard Medical School underscored this fact with the title “Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier.”
This simple fact represents an area of opportunity for businesses, because happiness matters to businesses outcomes.
Sean Achor, author of the Happiness Dividend and a prolific writer on the topic as it relates to business, states it quite plainly for Harvard Business Review:
“The single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce. A decade of research proves that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements.”
Being thankful means more customer engagement
Appreciating your customers means spending more time with them, providing value to them after the sale is closed. Being thankful takes effort, but the effort is worthwhile.
Engagement is a function of knowledge and trust over time. In simpler terms, the more knowledge you can give customers, and the more trust you can build with them, all over time (instead of all at once), the greater your engagement is.
Ultimately this is an argument for getting out of the office and spending time with customers, or making the effort to keep in touch with them on a regular basis. That means don’t just like their posts on LinkedIn and check in with them every time renewal season rolls around.
Customer engagement is the modern currency of growth. It is wildly valuable. Any effort you can make to supercharge it is worthwhile. If you can get yourself and your team to the point where authentic gratitude is a part of your sales culture, and you are sincerely grateful to your customers, the mutual benefits are endless.
Building a culture of gratitude is a characteristic of a strong sales coach
No matter where you are in your sales coaching journey, there is always room to improve. A strong sales coach manages their team with empathy, compassion, and a clear sense of where they want to see skill improvement.
The ideal areas of focus accomplish three objectives: 1. They help the sales rep feel valued and make them less likely to churn out of the company. 2. They make the sales reps better at their job – selling. 3. They accomplish business objectives with customers.
Focusing on gratitude accomplishes all three of these objectives.
A sales rep who is taken through a sales gratitude exercise will feel like they are being invested in, and assuming they are coachable, recognize how the work you are doing as a team is building a future career.
For the reasons mentioned in previous points, making your sales team happier, and helping them recognize the power of gratitude and customer appreciation will ultimately make them better at their jobs. The research shows that investments in thankfulness yields results.
The natural increase in customer engagement that comes from customer appreciation should be a top priority business initiative.
If you are interested in digging in to customer appreciation with your team, download our free workshop kit below.