•Updated: Mar 22, 2021
•Published: Mar 16, 2021
Customer relationships are the foundation of your business. When it really comes down to it, they're more than just a source of revenue or a sounding board for feedback—solving customers' problems is the primary reason your business even exists. Their loyalty and support are how you thrive.
Everything else exists on top of that experience—developers exist to create functionality that supports the product as it evolves, marketers sing your product's praises from the rooftops, salespeople get potential customers to part with their well-earned income to pay for it. Getting the product experience right is the key to building a successful business.
Products Are the Primary Reason People Decide to Purchase
People buy products. It sounds simple, but it's true. Your content could be the most engaging in the world, or the people on your team could be the smartest ever, but none of it matters if your product doesn't solve a real problem for your target audience. An engaging product experience is the key to building the type of customer relationships that support your business.
When you provide a solution to someone’s problem, you add value to their experience. And that value is the foundation for everything else. Loyalty, engagement, advocacy—none of that is possible when you don't make it easy for customers to get real value from their product experience.
As potential customers move through the early stages of the customer lifecycle, they’ll encounter Facebook ads, blog posts, and marketing campaigns that speak to product value. This process establishes expectations and works to convince people that what they’ll receive, once they purchase, is actually worth it.
But the first real impression people get from your company involves the product. It’s their reason for engaging with your content in the first place—the solution to the problem they’re actively trying to solve.
If customers don’t believe in the value of the product itself, you’ll never get them to complete a purchase. This is why a deep understanding of the customer is such a critical part of product development. Your team needs to understand what problems customers face on a day-to-day basis to meet and exceed their expectations. While you can attract people to your brand via marketing and messaging campaigns, they need to believe you’ll solve their problem before they complete their purchase.
Product experience plays a part in the perception of your brand as well. When someone makes a purchase, they’re trusting that you can help them accomplish a particular task or goal easily. If you provide immediate and quantifiable value to their lives, you’re starting these relationships off on the right foot.
Great Experiences Strengthen Customer Relationships Over Time
Your customer relationships develop as people become more comfortable and proficient using your product. What provides value during the onboarding process might hold customers back once they're fully up to speed. Understanding how your product adds value to their experience throughout this journey helps you evolve alongside your customers' needs.
Being able to anticipate your customers’ desired outcomes also acts as evidence of your investment in their success. When people see that you're actively working to adapt and refine the product experience, they'll be more inclined to trust your choices and come along for the ride.
Let's say you've noticed that there's a significant drop-off in engagement with your email marketing tool after new customers set up their first few newsletters. Likely, these customers feel like they've accomplished their goal—but you know the work's just getting started. One-off newsletters are just the beginning of what they can do with your product. Based on your knowledge of those customers needs, you could easily
- trigger a pop-up notification to direct these customers to the analytics page as evidence of their success, or
- inform them about the ability to create automated messaging campaigns based on previous messages.
Proactively reaching out to customers with suggestions shows that you're paying attention to their needs and actively want them to get more value from the product.
This outreach not only helps cement your position as a helpful partner, it enables you to increase engagement with various aspects of your product over time. Adding this kind of continual value to their experience strengthens your relationships and gives customers a reason to share their experiences with colleagues and friends.
To put it plainly, active engagement helps you build advocacy for your brand. When customers tout your product's benefits on your behalf, it adds credibility to everything you say. Your marketing material immediately becomes more trustworthy and authoritative.
But the inverse is also true. If customers don't have the kind of product experience they expect based on your marketing content and messaging, that damages your credibility.
Understanding how to tailor your product experience to customers’ evolving wants and needs also helps you personalize aspects of that experience to different customer personas and segments. That increases engagement and helps to bring the customer relationship to a deeper level.
Engaged Customer Relationships Generate Honest Product Feedback
Creating a delightful product experience helps you connect with customers on a deeper level. And those deeper customer relationships are the source of open and honest feedback. When you understand what drives current customers to not only engage with your product but make it a part of their daily lives, you gain vital insight into how to evolve the product alongside your customers' needs.
This honest customer feedback is also a great way to identify potential pain points with your product. Because at the end of the day, usability drives product engagement. Having the most innovative solution on the market will set you apart from the competition—but if that solution introduces friction into the customer experience, you’ll never keep customers around long enough to grow your business.
The better you are at addressing customer problems, proactively removing potential blockers, and adding functionality to your current product, the more valuable your customer relationships become.
Poor product experience has the opposite effect, causing frustration that drives down customer satisfaction, decreases engagement, and fosters a negative perception of your brand. Unhappy customers will also share their experiences with more people than happy customers will. Eliciting direct, honest, and open feedback about your product also helps you show your customers that you care. It acts as evidence of your empathy for their problems and your investment in your success.
When you get this feedback, make sure you use it. Long-lasting customer relationships are the product of active participation on both sides, and you’d be wasting an incredibly valuable resource if you fail to address feedback as a team.
Great Products Turn Customers into Long-Term Advocates
When you provide an engaging product experience, it not only satisfies your customers but also shows that you’re invested in their success. That strengthens customer relationships and helps you turn more people from regular users into active brand advocates. These brand advocates sing your praise to their networks, increase awareness of your products, and stick around to grow alongside your company.