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The new era of customer relationships - Mikkel Svane keynote at Relate Live NYC

“Take all my customers,” said no company, ever. The race for loyal customers is on, and today’s leading companies are transitioning away from viewing customer interactions as transactional. A customer’s time with your brand or your products is a relationship. And a customer’s first purchase is often the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and lasting relationship.

In his Relate Live New York keynote, Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane explores how this mindset is reshaping the face and future of customer service. He shares three maxims for success in this changed landscape to help build customer loyalty.

In the full keynote, Mikkel also brings on stage Jeff Raider, the CEO of Harry’s and co-founder of Warby Parker. Raider talks about Harry's ‘Customer at the Core’ program, and Warby Parker's quest to instill a “love for every customer” into everything they do.

If you don’t have an hour to spare, here are some highlights (transcribed, with the time stamp in case you want to watch or listen for yourself):

[0:38] Customer service should not be a destination. It should not be a separate thing from the overall product experience.

[3:28] The second part in setting yourself up for success for this change in customer relationships is about your people. Empowering the staff, the employees, the customer-facing people on your teams to do what’s right for the customer. We have for too many years dealt with all these scripted conversations in our call centers. “Your call is incredibly important for us”...we don’t believe it because we’re getting crappy service. Because way too often, we run into these interactions where we know they can help us but they’re just not empowered to help us. And that in itself is a frustrating experience, but even more, it completely undermines your trust in that brand.

[6:08] The last thing we focus on, in terms of setting yourself properly up for these new trends, is to focus on removing friction and removing effort, rather than trying to be delightful.

[3:55] There is a change in how we think about our customer relationships. It’s the ability to keep the customer loyal, to retain the customer and really nourish the value of that customer over their lifetime that matters for us as businesses and that changes how we think of our customer relationships.

[5:10] It’s not only about ensuring loyalty. It’s also turning your customers into your promoters. Uber has been fantastic at ensuring that, if you actually have an issue with their product, they are incredibly good at getting back to you and ensuring that that bad experience is turned into a great experience. Because ultimately that’s how they grow their business. You don’t use Uber because you saw an ad for Uber. You use Uber because somebody told you how great a service it is.

[9:00] Trust is the basis for all customer loyalty.

If you only have a few minutes, enjoy Mikkel’s montage of complicated relationships.