Xero's Anna Curzon on cultivating meaningful relationships

Patrick Campbell Apr 6 2021

When you think of a superhero what jumps into mind? Is it the power of flight, Herculean strength, super speed? Or is it just a jacked up movie star in spandex? Today, we’re instead going to talk about a different type of hero. They are the caped crusader of your SaaS business—and they are your accounting and finance teams. 

It’s kind of a let down, right? Well, it shouldn’t be. They are the ones that elevate your business by being the ultimate utility belt—they take care of compliance issues, operations issues. They  ensure the company grows as quickly as possible, and ultimately, they make sure the bills are paid on time. They may not have the superpowers associated with the Green Lantern, but they sure use the green at their disposal to solve the kinds of problems that, if left unsolved, would result in disastrous consequences worthy of Galactus.

No one has made accountants feel truly like superheroes more than Anna Curzon. As the Chief Product Officer of Xero, Anna has accumulated the chops necessary to cultivate meaningful relationships with bookkeeping and finance professionals across the world. She has a deep understanding of partnering with small businesses and surrounding them with the proper tools necessary to tap their inner superhero.

At the time of our interview, she was the Chief Partner Officer at Xero and is now the Chief Product Officer. The conversation we had with her exemplified her commitment to community, but also to building relationships. We’re going to go deep on how she cultivated this community worldwide.


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Here we summarize the main takeaways for you to implement or hand off to your team for implementation.

 

Key term

What relationships?

The dictionary defines relationships as “the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.” And this definition holds true even when it comes to business relationships.

Why are they important for business?

There’s a reason why entire products and systems have been created to nurture and improve relationships. Because they’re the key to long-term business growth and success. Relationships in business also extend into and create partnerships and community. It’s not just about how many customers you can get—it’s also about creating real partnerships, which in turn create loyalty. Without relationships, you simply won’t be in business long.

 

 

Action plan:

What to do today: 
  • Follow Anna Curzon.
  • Schedule a time to meet with your exec and customer success teams to evaluate your company’s customer relationship tools and strategies.

What to do next quarter:

You likely already have some sort of strategy in place to help you build relationships with your customers; however, it’s important to regularly evaluate. Just as your business will grow and evolve, so will your customers’ needs and expectations. It’s always a good idea to reiterate that business is all about relationships, and that the goal should be to foster and develop long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Below are some tips for building and strengthening customer relationships in 2021:

 

      • Learn about your customers
        This is something you should do with new and existing customers. This should be an ongoing process. As mentioned above, your customers’ needs and expectations will change. You want new customers, but you also want to keep them.
      • Revisit your value prop
        Building trust is an important part of a good relationship. Constantly check in to ensure they’re getting the value they were promised. 
      • Consistent and aligned communication
        You need a communication strategy that reinforces your brand reliability. 
        • Quickly resolve customer pain points
        • Make helpful resources available
        • Proactively reach out to customers having difficulties
        • Over communicate upcoming changes in product or service
      • Create loyalty and rewards programs
        According to the 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report, loyalty programs can be an effective strategy for building loyalty long term.

      • Say” thank you.”
        You’ll be amazed at how far a simple “thank you,” will go, especially in today’s fast-paced world. Expressing gratitude to your customers will let them know you care and that they’re not just a dollar sign. It’s the little things that count.

 

What to do within the next year:

Once you’ve evaluated your customer success strategy, you want to ensure that you understand what’s working and why, so you can expand on that. But more importantly, you want to understand what’s not working and why, and correct it as soon as possible. Continue to evaluate your strategies on a regular basis. Customer retention depends on your relationships with your customers.


Who should own this? 

The customer success team. 

 


... at the core, business is about people. It's about building strong and trustful relationships that stand the test of time."

   

 

                                                                                        – Anna Curzon, CPO at Xero 


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By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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