Why you should collaborate with your customers

William Bauer

Why bother with customer collaboration?

Now more than ever, companies must examine and transform their business to find new ways to deliver meaningful experiences to their customers. And to transform, the company must listen. Leadership must pick up on signals by collecting as much data as possible about what customers need.

It’s not surprising that the customer is the object of much attention, with significant resources deployed to understand expectations and behavior. Relying only on surveys and studies doesn’t cut it these days.  To gain real knowledge of your customers and maintain a relationship, you must work collaboratively with your customers.

Customer collaboration is the basis of everything. Here we explain how to implement a truly effective customer collaboration and why it’s becoming so important.

What exactly is customer collaboration?

Customer collaboration is an approach to customer relations where your company's departments (marketing, sales, technical support) share all the information gathered during their interactions with customers, and work on a unified front to establish a relationship.  This collaboration can take place in person (customer advisory boards, Fab Lab, etc.) or online, thanks to collaborative tools (collaborative platforms, dedicated websites, private groups on social networks, etc.).

11 Reasons to Collaborate with Your Clients

Keep in mind: your customers are part of your team! You must establish a two-way relationship with them.  Listen to them, and see eye-to-eye with them (no need to remind you here that without customers, there is no revenue...). In short, you must collaborate with them instead of treating them like another number.

Customer collaboration can be distilled down into a respectful session of opinion sharing. This can be as simple as a satisfaction survey, or much more involved in face-to-face meetings. Whatever form of collaboration, you and your customer can benefit in a variety of ways.

Collaborating with your clients allows you to:

  1. Find new ideas.
  2. Test and validate a number of decisions with clients.
  3. Create products, services, packaging, processes, communications, distribution channels, etc.
  4. Involve the customer in the creation of value by allowing him to contribute to the co-creation of solutions.
  5. Anticipate your market. Uncovering unmet needs means thinking about how to make customers happier and more loyal and how to deliver an exceptional experience. This allows brands to anticipate the customer needs they need to solve and the unmet needs they can satisfy.
  6. Loyalty: collaborating with your customers allows you to identify levers to better satisfy their customer experience and therefore better meet their needs.
  7. Sell better, thanks to the upsell strategy, also known as "moving upmarket". This strategy consists of offering a product or service with added value and at a higher price to a customer that is initially interested in a lower-end product.
  8. Sell more, thanks to the recommendations from customer referrals.
  9. Enter a new market, understand how a niche market works, etc.
  10. Shorten the time-to-market on new products or goods.
  11. Ensure the successful launch of new products or innovations, as they will have been created in collaboration with customers and then tested and validated at each stage of customer development.

How do you improve collaboration with clients?

Increased customer collaboration thus opens up promising prospects. But how do you implement it and ensure that it is productive? New methods and approaches exist to gain this contextual and factual understanding of customer needs. How can collaboration be improved?

To improve the way you collaborate with your customers, you need to create a pleasant and fluid discussion space dedicated to them. Your customers should feel free to express themselves at any time, on any subject. More than that, you need to provoke a dialogue and encourage them to talk to you. To do this, it is imperative to respond to them in real time and in all authenticity.

Creating a collaborative environment is an essential step in creating new collaboration opportunities with your customers. This can take the form of a dialogue platform that allows customers to direct their questions to the company. These insights from qualified prospects allow the company to continuously understand the motivations and disincentives of customers considering the proposed offering.

Here are 5 concrete recommendations to establish a collaborative customer relationship:

  • Establish a personalized, long-term relationship with a select few clients
  • Implement repeatable processes for different customers. With NineFive, everything is stored as it happens and you can save the entire process as a template for the next customer.
  • Adapt its working methods so as to be able to take into account in real-time the contributions of its customers
  • Test new tools to best integrate this new data from customers

NineFive improves the way you collaborate with your customers

If you’re looking for a solution to reinforce customer collaboration, give NineFive a try. NineFive allows several people to work together on a common workspace, while adapting to each client.

  • NineFive allows you to create a dedicated dialogue with your customers through customized customer portals. You can create a dedicated thread for each step and easily share it with your team and your customers. No more endless Slack chats!
  • Right from the beginning, NineFive allows you to build a collaborative relationship and make a good impression.  Your customer onboarding is streamlined when you set up an environment that facilitates discussion, collaboration and sharing.
  • NineFive allows you to structure customer relationships step by step, giving visibility to all parties. The tool was created to reduce friction in customer communications.
  • NineFive allows you to manage your files (contracts and documents) in a simple way. No more endless Slack channels, no more long email threads and no more files spread over different tools.
  • NineFive speeds up decision making. Customer portals are composed of blocks that can be discussions, files, videos and/or payment gateways. Each block has a purpose: to take your relationship to the next level. You can create mandatory steps to grant access to the next block. For example, you can ask your customer to sign your contract, decide on a result or make a payment in order to continue.
  • NineFive allows for customer follow-up over time via a dedicated channel that stays open.
  • With NineFive, you can save and reuse your process templates. In other words, when you have a repeatable process for all your customers, it's easy to save your work. Matryo allows you to create templates that fit your process with customers.

In short, without NineFive:

  • you use multiple Slack channels
  • you multiply the tools to manage signatures and payments,
  • you are constantly looking for your chat histories and other information scattered throughout your files and emails
  • you have difficulty reproducing processes

To wrap up, can now see that the way you interact with customers is crucial. A high level of customer involvement creates loyalty, affinity, and proximity, which can generate spontaneous recommendations from customers and users.

NineFive helps you get there faster.  Customer collaboration responds to a strong expectation from customers to contribute, co-create and improve the services and products of their favorite brands, and NineFive provides a dedicated collaboration environment for each of your customers.

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