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Customer Karma is What You Make It

Karma has been described as, “…that what goes around comes around.” Even though I’m a technologist, I believe that. In a big way. There are consequences in what we do and don’t do. And that is no more apparent than in the manner in which we deal with, the way we serve our customers. Like one’s own Karma, Customer Karma is what you make it.

By: Gal Rimon, Founder & CEO, Centrical

Customer Karma is What You Make It

Karma has been described as, “…that what goes around comes around.” Even though I’m a technologist, I believe that. In a big way. There are consequences in what we do and don’t do. And that is no more apparent than in the manner in which we deal with, the way we serve our customers. Like one’s own Karma, Customer Karma is what you make it.

The last 3+ months has been a test for all of us. It’s shown me, time and again, how Customer Karma works. Let me share a recent experience.

I received an email from an executive with a major customer. He urgently requested a call with me. It didn’t give me a great feeling, but I replied with a time to talk that evening. They had signed a multi-year deal a few months ago. I checked with the customer success manager handling them. She told me things were going great. In fact, our working from home solution was helping them to better manage thousands of employees now working from home.

The call began with some cordial chatting when the customer told he has a problem. Much to my surprise I learned they were having a slight cash flow problem. This executive wondered if I’d be open to better payment terms. To appreciate this fully, realize that Centrical, the company I lead, is a rapidly growing, VC-backed startup. The executive’s company is about 1,500 times bigger than us.

How much of a difference could my contract – fully executed and noncancelable – make? Then I thought to myself that my caller was sent by his leadership, like all other managers, to bring back a pound of flesh. I immediately asked if splitting this year’s payments would help him. He told me it would. And I confirmed it on the spot. The reality is this customer and their payments are significant to us.

Two days later, I receive an intro email from him to his colleague from another part of the company. recommending that unit work with us.

Too often I’ve seen companies drive to reach their goals without paying attention to the goals of their customers. In a new business pitch, I say to the prospect that when they choose to work with us, they’ll be treated as a member of our customer family, joining a group with a common purpose: to leverage the technology of my company to advance the performance of theirs. For that to work, their goals, no matter what, matter most. Our aim is to help them reach their goals; help them do what’s needed to be done.

If that requires us to help them unpack what’s needed to achieve their business success, that’s what we’ll do. If it requires us to be creative, to go outside the lines of our normal mode of operating, then that’s where we’ll go. To be sure, sometimes we debate over who’s right or who owes whom. The key is to help a few people well – not as many as you can – to see your favor returned. Do that and you’ll be on the positive side of Karma.

Before you think I’ve gone completely counterculture on you, let me make clear a few things about how we go about attaining good Customer Karma. Both in this partnership, the customer and us, are accountable. We both learn from each other. We communicate, a lot. We work to get and stay in alignment. We coach each other to make each other better at what we do. And, we are active, not passive. We do things now and make ready to do what’s needed next.

That and the phone call with that major customer make the strong growth I’ve seen in our user base and the dramatic rise in the number of activities performed on our employee performance management platform since the start of the calendar year even more rewarding.

Now that’s good Customer Karma.

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