How do you grow your customer base? Get obsessed

The best way to grow your customer base is to get obsessed, says Lifesize CEO Craig Malloy.

“Obsession” is not a word I use lightly. In my experience, taking a truly “customer obsessed” approach was the only way our business was able to fully thrive.

Beginning in 2003, Lifesize offered on-premises video conferencing technology, but as cloud solutions and services gained traction among increasingly mobile and globally distributed workforces, we knew we had to reinvent Lifesize as a SaaS solution or close our doors for good.

After shifting our product strategy, restructuring our internal organisation and parting with our parent company, Logitech, we have made great strides in the market.

But we still needed more than a winning product to continue to grow, and the way we do that is through customer obsession. In essence, we listen to what our customers are saying and focus our entire operation on this obsession.

It sounds simple in theory, but execution is another story.  

Customer satisfaction hasn’t always been our strong suit. In the “Dark Ages” of our customer service initiatives, we left much to be desired. Our support email alias was rarely checked, and our Net Promoter score was an abysmal negative four. I’m proud to say we’ve since made significant changes to the way we serve our customers — changes that have raised our Customer Support Net Promoter score to an impressive 70.

Let me walk through the three major pillars of how we did that.

Make it a full company effort

To become customer-obsessed, you need to bring everyone on board, from your executives on down. To do this, we created a new position dedicated to this notion, bringing on Chief Customer Success and Happiness Officer, Amy Downs who has transformed our customer service programmes.

She implemented a multifaceted customer support programme to ensure that clients get the appropriate, high-touch service they need. We also hired customer success advocates (CSAs) to help customers get the most value out of our solution throughout their life cycle, and we empowered frontline tech support folks to make critical, time-sensitive decisions without having to wait for manager approval.

Put skin in the game with a guarantee

It takes more than confidence in your product to gain customer trust — it sends a strong signal when you put your money where your mouth is. While our partnership with SoftLayer, an IBM company, gives us utmost confidence in delivering the best possible performance, reliability, scalability and security, we go beyond that with our service level agreement (SLA) for enterprise customers – one of the first in our industry. Our SLA guarantees 99.9 per cent availability for our video conferencing customers with Extreme Support, subject to limited exceptions.

Take the community approach

A proactive, collaborative approach is the best way to approach customer feedback. We developed Lifesize Community as an online forum for customers to ask questions and provide feedback. The crucial part is to listen to it. Customer feedback in the community is one of the most important drivers of our product roadmap. In the last 12 months, more than 30 of our product enhancements were suggested or discussed in our forums.

Having a solid product is at the heart of gaining customer trust, but there are many other factors critical to growing our business. Ultimately, it comes down to making a great service that we know our customers will use, and then standing by it. That’s the core of how we at Lifesize have more than doubled our customer base: by reminding ourselves every day that we’re in it for our customers, and showing it in how we support them.

Craig Malloy is the chief executive officer of Lifesize.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

Related Topics