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In the modern software business environment, there is no singular, all-important point of sale: there are a myriad of interactions leading to numerous points of sale. Your goal is for your customers to renew, upgrade, update, and purchase software product extensions countless times.

Yet for your growing business, each of these touch points is also a pivotal moment. You can take advantage of these interactions and deepen your relationship to your customer by showing you understand and can meet their needs. Alternatively, you can damage the customer relationship and suffer customer attrition if customers find it too hard to work with you. 

It all comes down to one factor: How easy is it for your existing customers to do business with you? If you fumble your most valuable existing customer relationships and make doing business with you a frustrating affair, you’ll risk customer churn. On the other hand, if you can use data to anticipate your customers’ needs in advance, and provide service powered by automation and self-service portals, you'll exceed expectations, maximize revenue, and drive your company’s growth.

Prioritize Your Most Valuable Customers

When we talk about making it easy for your customers to do business with you, the question is about your priorities. Is your focus on prospective customers, or existing ones? Well, consider this: A study by Bain and Co, showed that if you increase customer retention by just 5%, you can expect to see a 75% increase in company profitability. Another study showed that it could cost up to 30x as much to gain a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. 

Time and time again, research shows that focusing on the customers who already do business with you is the best way to expand your company. Your existing customers are your most valuable customers, so prioritize creating processes that make it easy for them to continue doing business with you.

The Customer Experience Differentiator

Today’s customers have countless options for service providers. Therefore, customers wield the ultimate power— the power to choose. Here’s the critical question: When multiple companies offer very similar products, what makes you stand out?

In the digital world, the answer is customer experience. By the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator

As a software provider, you interact with your customers far more than the average business did in the past. That gives you exponentially more opportunities to provide a service that leaves your customers feeling happy and satisfied. As long as you make it convenient, smooth, and comfortable, your customers will want to further their relationships with you.

Use Data as a Compass

You want to make working with you easy, but first, you have to identify the junctions where your customers are either buying-in or checking-out. Data is your compass for this important step. Data can help you highlight potential areas for growth and identify places where you may be failing to capture revenue. Once you have that information, you can unleash your secret weapons: an automated software supply chain and intuitive self-service tools.

The Importance of Automating the Software Supply Chain

Unlike hardware-centric supply chains, the software supply chain is continuous. Sales don't end when you sell your product to the buyer. Instead, an initial sale is just the beginning of the customer relationship. You’ll continue adding value with periodic updates, new product versions, extra features, and external product extensions. 

Yet these procedures are also potentially hazardous. If you make the process complicated or time-consuming, your customers will feel like they are stuck in the mud and quickly become churn risks.

So how can you mitigate those risks? The answer is automation.  When you automate the software supply chain, your customers glide through each junction untouched by the complicated mechanics taking place behind the scenes. Your product suite functions like a well-oiled machine, optimized for customer satisfaction, and performing exactly how you intend.

Everyone Loves Self-Service

There are also times when you need your customers to take action. Your challenge is making action on the part of the customer feel almost as effortless as automation. If business with you is effortless, you are more likely to win the ultimate prize: recurring revenue. This is where self-service portals come into the picture.

Self-service thrills your customers with ease and accessibility. They want to upgrade, and they can do it instantly. They want to use your product on a mobile device, and with the simple click of a button, they can. Using your product becomes as easy as buying an app on their phone or placing an order on Amazon, a notoriously customer-driven company.

Plus, self-service is equally beneficial to your company. By making upsells, cross-sells, and problem-solving easy, you are far more likely to capitalize on each and every revenue increasing opportunity. By offering self-service, there’s far less that you need to do, freeing your team up to focus on their top priorities.

Digitalization Makes It Easier to Capitalize on Opportunity

While recurring revenue, upselling, and cross-selling are critical, it's dangerous to assume that your existing clients will automatically want to continue doing business with you. You can increase the likelihood of successful customer relationships by providing tools that make the customer experience effortless.

When you use data effectively, automate your software delivery, and invest in self-service, you can turn your users into loyal, satisfied, lifetime customers.

Click here to download our free infographic, and learn how to keep your customers happy.

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