In today's business world it’s more common to talk about Customer Service and Customer Support but in Lyyti’s case Customer Care is what we truly mean when we refer to the attention we give to the relationship we have with our customers.
A long-term Lyytian and Key Account Manager, Antti Vaahtoranta, discussed what it means to care about customers and how he nurtures a relationship with them.
Customer care calls for connection
Even though Lyyti is in the B2B category we still work very much with humans, and outside of product use, personal interactions are the main building blocks of the Lyyti brand.
Our Key Account Managers and Customer Support team are in contact with our customers daily and they foster the emotional connection with our community. They give advice and assistance, but most importantly they meet the customer as a human with needs, questions and sometimes an event emergency.
Nowadays, customer care calls for a keen radar that detects frustrations and outstanding interpersonal skills to meet the customer where they are. We are reliant on digital tools and most often meet not in real life but in a situation where we can’t interpret facial expressions or body language.
“The most important skill for nurturing long lasting customer relationships is the ability to build trust and connect heart-to-heart.”
- Antti Vaahtoranta, Key Account Manager
Antti has been at Lyyti since 2012. He never intended to end up in sales and started as a Lyyti trainer. He has an impressive 800+ training sessions under his belt. His sales skills were developed and nurtured in the trainer role and he sort of grew into a salesperson.
“Customers today do a lot of research,” explains Antti. Before he is ever in contact with a potential customer they might already been investigating their choices. “Decisions are not made very fast and customers might use a lot of time for research which means the salesperson arrives into the customer journey quite late. Overall the relationship with customers can be quite light.”
This has not always been the case. In the past, the time spent on a b2b relationship was more intensive. “Training sessions were almost always full-days whereas today the customers want to figure things out themselves,” recalls Antti.
He continues, “Time is a precious commodity and therefore agendas are more precise and schedules are stricter. We get a lot more done when we have a clear goal for a meeting and both parties know what it is.”
“After 10 years of doing sales, a completely new generation of customers has entered the scene,” says Antti. Roles have been completely redesigned and new job descriptions have come into play. Likewise, the competition field has gone through a revolution. “Understanding this new landscape is important - you have to know your product and the person you're selling to,” explains Antti.
Lyyti is an event management software and even though it has many creative uses, it still has a niche user base. It pays to know who can benefit from the product the most. “If I’d be a mentor, I’d encourage salespeople to lead the conversation with their authentic self and build the relationship based on true needs,” says Antti.
Lyyti has a strong track record in customer care -
last reported Customer Satisfaction Score was 92 (0-100).
When purchasing any software the user needs to justify its use and its relationship to other software in use in the organisation. “A good salesperson understands their responsibility and knows how to support the purchasing and stop the process if the product is not suitable for the user. This is what true trust is all about,” explains Antti.
From trust to loyalty
“The Customer Success concept is knowing what value a product brings to its user and how it manifests. This should be made transparent and understood to the customer,” says Antti.
At Lyyti, a potential customer will encounter a number of different people before they actually sign the deal. This way they’ll actually get a very good understanding of what kind of company Lyyti is through multiple first impressions.
“We need to be truly present in every interaction we have with our customers - potential or existing ones.”
- Antti Vaahtoranta
Trust is earned through individual moments. “Whenever a customer is in a pickle and needs assistance, we try to meet their expectations or even over-deliver on them. This is appreciated and has resulted in long and loyal relationships,” continues Antti.
Nurturing customer relationships
No interaction is too small to appreciate. Each call and conversation is a brick in the foundation of a loyal customer relationship. Lyyti has had a strong community from the start, in fact, many users introduce Lyyti to their next employer when they change jobs.
“You have to be a professional enthusiast and really dive into the role and industry of a customer. One day I might talk to a rep from the car sales industry and the next I’ll chat with an event organiser who works in the public sector. I need to understand both areas equally and this is possible by listening to customers and by asking a lot of questions.”
- Antti Vaahtoranta
Antti continues, “In the case of the car sales industry, we were able to find many more use cases for Lyyti once I understood what the customer is doing, what their needs are and how their activities could be developed. We were able to talk about the business beyond just events and this is truly personal service.”
Through lows and highs
Lyyti is used in events but it has a lot of other use cases. “By tapping into my experience, I can easily see all of the opportunities for Lyyti in different organisations. It’s also good to understand that in most cases people want to understand how to develop their ongoing activities and if I can add value here, the connection will be profound,” says Antti.
Operating in the customer care sphere isn’t always easy. Antti admits, “We encounter a lot of different kinds of event organisers and they all have distinct needs. Even though our product is quite versatile, we might not always be able to meet every single request for development. In these cases, the role of customer care is really central. You need to be able to deliver bad news and find ways to mitigate frustrations and disappointment.”
Antti enjoys meeting customers at events or over lunch. Much of the contacting is done remotely but he doesn’t consider that a disadvantage.
“I’ve heard this claim that you can’t sell over Zoom, but I disagree. It might be harder to sell via video meetings, but everything is doable as long as you keep the customer front and centre of your business and your heart in the game.”
- Antti Vaahtoranta
Think in terms of Customer Care instead of Customer Service.
Even though we call it B2B, a sale takes place between people - always approach a case with your heart in the game.
The younger generation come to a sales meeting quite often well prepared. Know who you are dealing with and how your product can meet their needs.
Be your authentic self and know when the product is a good fit and when it’s not. This resonates more than trying too much and over selling and under delivering.
The secret to a long lasting relationship is the ability to build trust quickly from the beginning and communicate often. Use every lifeline you’ve got.
Trust yourself and your abilities. Practise what you don’t know. Be a professional enthusiast.