Originating within software companies in the United States, the role of Customer Success Manager is becoming increasingly important and prominent within tech (and specifically Proptech) businesses on this side of the pond as well.
"Customer success is simply ensuring that your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interaction with your company. That’s it."
As business owners and managers know, there is a greater need than ever to be able to provide exceptional value to the customer. Many consumers are now turning to the internet to compare their options before committing and, because of this, businesses have begun identifying the importance of referrals and their online reputation. This is just one of the factors that has led to the emergence of customer success and ensuring as many customers as possible see full value in your product. Lincoln Murphy’s quote above is a mantra that all individuals working in the field live by, but by no means should be limited to them alone.
From the standpoint of a lettings agent, the “Desired Outcomes” of your customers can often be seen as:
- Tenants want an easy and transparent renting experience,
- Landlords want responsible and problem-free tenants in their properties and often, also seek a completely hands-off experience with management of their property as well.
Whatever the desired outcome, successfully being able to provide the expected value to all customers is vital to the longevity of any business. Furthermore, with the current uncertainty and changes affecting the lettings industry, agents can no longer risk not paying attention to their customers’ desires.
Lauren Hughes, a Customer Success Manager here at Goodlord, combines her experience in proptech and customer service to walk through three approaches that can be applied to the lettings industry to ensure happy, repeat customers.
Listen to the voice of the Customer
A good business is always looking to evolve its products and services to meet the changing needs of its customers. Luckily for letting agents, the people who use (and pay for) their products and/or services are right at their fingertips. As simple as it is, there is no better and easier way to improve than to ask for positive and negative feedback from your customers.
Gathering feedback can be formal or informal, but what is important is to document the responses in one place to help identify trends and prioritise your improvements. As Customer Success Managers at Goodlord, we document and pass on feedback to the right people internally to help improve our offer based on this feedback.
Further down the line, we make sure to loop back with those who provided the feedback to let them know that their changes have been made on the platform and demonstrates the value their feedback has provided us.
Additionally, it is important to ask questions and listen to your customers, as you may uncover issues and frustrations that can easily be solved with a little more clarity or training. Take the time to understand how your customers use your product and/or service and provide suggestions on how they can get more out of it. Simple suggestions can go a long way, believe us!
Product development and customer feedback is a never ending game. You most likely won’t get it right on the first attempt and that’s okay. You may even leave some customers with less than met expectations, but if you listen to them, you will continuously become one step closer to providing an unbeatable product or service.
You can go a long way towards helping your customers achieve their goals by anticipating their needs or requirements before they express them. For tenants, that might be educating them on their insurance options, or offering an effortless move experience via utility set-up services (or other tenant products such as Goodlord Go). You could do this during viewings, before they have even considered these elements of the process.
Look at who you are renting to, and tailor your marketing and service to them. For example, “Generation Rent” is heavily reliant on digital communication and is used to doing everything at the click of a button. To proactively help their customers, many letting agents who use Goodlord have included links to our help articles in their correspondence with tenants to ensure that online resources are available to them at a click of a button if or when needed.
To provide additional value for Generation Rent, we have seen great success when agencies create FAQs and contact sheets for their tenants regarding moving into a property, allowing tenants to refer to them instead of picking up the phone. It may seem obvious, but it’s worth reinforcing that a tenant who has been through a pain-free renting experience where they needed to ask very few questions will be far more inclined to use the agency again in the future, to refer a friend, or even leave a positive online review.
For customers to really see how your products or services have truly benefited them, you usually need to actively show them. For example, if you have a busy landlord or a tenant with other priorities, be sure to highlight the time savings you have provided them. Also don’t be afraid to provide a comparison of those time or money savings compared to other players in the industry.
If you can provide tangible evidence of the value you have brought to your customers, they will be significantly more inclined to use your service again. One thing that is important to bear in mind is that value varies depending on the customer. For example, one landlord might view value as a fully comprehensive service that takes care of everything, fully managing the property and including Rent Protection Insurance. For other landlords, value might mean simply finding suitable tenants for the next year. Whichever it is, show your customer that you’ve provided them with what was expected, additional value, and how you’ve been able to do so.
As the customer voice becomes stronger, businesses need to adapt by ensuring that they provide the expected value to those who use and pay for their product and/or services.