By Nora Weintraub
You've probably already been hearing (and getting excited!) about salesforce.com's upcoming Dreamforce 2013 conference. The theme this year is "Join the Customer Company Revolution"—but what does that actually mean? To get everyone ready for the largest vendor-led tech conference, salesforce.com has been streaming live conversations with experts about the conference, but before you head to San Francisco in November, you must understand the key aspects of customer companies.
A customer company is completely obsessed with its clients and able to collaborate with them to create a strong brand. By being centered on its customer, the company develops a bond with them based on trust. How can your company do all of this? Now, we're not going to give away all the insider secrets before Dreamforce, but here's a few tips to help you become customer-obsessed, customer-collaborative and customer-trusted to truly start understanding your customers before the conference.
If you're not 100% committed to your customer, what're you left with? Most likely, a struggling business that just can't find its market niche—and is suffering for it. Being a customer company means being completely infatuated with your client. This means constantly researching your customers to stay up to date on their business lines, what's going on in their market and what their customers need. Being customer-obsessed requires your constant focus on providing your customer with the best experience with your company possible.
Doing this doesn't have to be too difficult. Your company can realign its mission to officially make the business customer-centered and gather customer insights to get started. According to Customer Care News, your company can follow the likes of Apple and Starbucks to become an "experience maker." Every time you connect with a customer, your company can be focused on creating a great experience.
Part of developing a wonderful customer experience is making sure your customer is able to tell you their opinion or concerns so you have the information to improve the experience. According to the blog Get Satisfaction, customer companies are able to turn negative interactions into positive ones by showing that the company truly understands the customer's needs and is ready to work on providing them with solutions. This is where customer insights become vital—if you don't have the knowledge to create that intelligent conversation with the customer, you can't sell your solution or product. Customers want to feel as if you understand their concerns and can listen to their questions. If your company doesn't use their feedback—or, even worse, doesn't value it—your customers may not feel they can trust you.
The marketplace is more competitive than ever before, so your business needs to create a positive relationship with your customer to keep their business. Yet you can't gain your client's trust if you don't know them and aren't able to create an intelligent conversation. It's because of this growing need to truly understand your customers that the customer company revolution began in the first place. Building trust requires a strong foundation that only customer-focused companies can provide.
Being a customer-centered business is vital to keeping your top enterprise accounts. If you're not invested in your customer, they won't invest in you. Creating a lasting relationship with your customers and driving your revenue stream is based on discovering how your company can become customer-focused. Dreamforce 2013 will give you countless ways to do just that, but it all starts with making a commitment to being obsessed with your customer and all of their needs.