For most of us, we might be familiar with fractals in terms of the shapes of trees, coastlines, snowflakes or even just really beautiful, soothing screensavers. Fractals are essentially beautifully complex patterns created by repeating the same simple pattern over and over at larger scales in an infinite feedback loop. Whether you zoom in or out on a fractal, you find the same shapes – think of the branching process of a tree or the spiral of a shell. What does that have in common with customer retention? Well run companies who retain customers over the long haul have one thing in common – they have a repeatable system or operating model that guides their daily business across all departments. There is a data set they work from and key values and activities that are baked into their routine.
Anyone who has been successful in sales or marketing will tell you that their results are a function of having a set of actions that they do repeatedly – X lead generating activities per day, X follow-up calls, etc. While their conversion rates might differ significantly as a result of the strength of their value proposition or their own innate ability, it’s those daily activities that fill the funnel and let them use their strengths. They know their metrics and they adjust strategies based upon that feedback. In customer experience, that routine might consist of looking at customer feedback on a daily basis, following up with customers directly, and feeding improvement opportunities to product teams and customer service teams. For customer success professionals, it might be looking at usage data and reaching out systematically to those customers who have triggered alarms as being at-risk, while strategically driving actions based on overall retention trends. For product and development teams, it might look like running agile sprints with continuous feedback from their stakeholders and clear operating cadences and objectives.
The common denominator for each area to be consistently successful both independently and together is an operating model created around clear objectives, trusted data that includes a customer feedback loop, and repeatable effective actions. If any part of your business is operating without those things, you’re probably not creating the picture you want. So where does creativity come into play? It’s judgement and creativity that allow your team to interpret feedback, determine whether to act on it, design the responsive actions to take, and build new offerings. Those talents and skills are what determine the direction all your daily actions take you in and, ultimately, what the shape of your company looks like. While the structure might help provide the rotation, the human element determines the direction of expansion.
What does your operating system look like?