Customer Experience (CX), Customer Relationship Marketing, Voice of Customer Research, Customer Engagement

VoC-Driven SMB relationship marketing program


  1. The ever expanding SMB market represents substantial growth opportunities. 


  1. Marketplace and competitive factors keep raising the stakes to better serve the SMB market.


  1. A majority of Microsoft product sales in Small and Medium size business segment come through a channel partner (e.g. Value Added Reseller, Retailer, Original Equipment Manufacturer).


  1. SMB customers are mostly transactional (gather information, trial, purchase and disengage).

Customers feel they have no relationship with Microsoft.

  1. Past Small Business Voice of Customer (VoC) Research indicated that most customers would welcome a relationship with Microsoft.



Lisa Clawson, Senior Marketing Manager Microsoft Corporation

Lisa launched the first U.S. Microsoft Small Business Relationship Marketing program. The VoC research-based program has consistently driven a 2X increase in volume licence revenue and a 7x increase in response rates and increased customer satisfaction.



Sustained Increase in volume licence revenue


Increase in response rates and customer satisfaction


Email opt-in rate increase greater than


Volume license renewal rate



SMB Relationship Program Goals

  • Increase customer satisfaction scores.
  • Increase licensing renewal rate.
  • Improve customer engagement.
  • Deliver the most relevant content and communications.
  • Improve marketing efficiencies

Pillars of the Online Relationship Program



Voice of Customer helped answer key questions

From 1 - 500 employees, what type of training, support, community and communication can drive deeper engagement?

How to improve the value and usage of training.
How to improve the support offerings to provide greater value.
How customers define a value added community.
How the communications strategy should be improved.
What are the value propositions to motivate people to opt-in and self-profile their SMB preferences.

We listened and learned

  1. Relationship Program Value Must be Obvious and Differentiated

Make it easy

Must provide easy site navigation. 
Use lay terms / user friendly (non-tech) key word searches. 
Provide access to information and business solutions from every part of Relationship Program.

Keep it focused

Online Resource Center value: 
One stop, convenient resource for SMB customers.
Clearly different from other resources. 
Every facet of the user experience must prove this.


Deliver wins

Make the initial interactions engaging by offering a quick training.
Help users by providing industry, business and technology info.
Partner with non-MSFT experts for valuable content. 

We listened and learned

  1. Personalize the Experience per Business Needs, User Level, Size, Industry and Products

Focus on Needs

Develop from the user's perspective, not MSFT. Request user feedback at every touch point.
Use feedback to evolve the experience, provide relevant content / communication.


Alleviate pain by using simple terms as self-help key words.
Highlight common problems and provide quick access to solutions. 
Leverage peers for additional support.


Satisfy Different levels of Needs

Target content based on start-up, segment, business needs and user level. 
Offer ways for 3 different user types (Learners, Connectors, Collaborators) to engage. 

We listened and learned

  1. Tie Training, Support and Community into a
  2. Differentiating Relationship


As a key benefit, users should be introduced to training early on.
Follow-up training to encourage the next interaction.
Offer user-defined categories for easy access. 
Make training easy to share.


Alleviate pain by using simple terms as self-help key words.
Highlight common problems and provide quick access to solutions. 
Leverage peers for additional support.



Peer interaction must be facilitated across a variety of demographic and businesses areas.


Points of interaction include:

  •  Level of knowledge. 
  • Common Problems. 
  • Forums. 
  • SMEs / Moderators.


The value of


Customers actively engage expecting something of equal value in return.

Your Opt-In list will help you achieve greater relevancy, marketing efficiency, and ultimately customer lifetime value.

Apply a progressive profiling strategy, reducing the need to ask all questions at once. 



Opt-In relationship

VoC insights guided development of the appropriate questions to ask: 

Name; Email; Primary role in company (i.e., sales, marketing, finance); Microsoft software usage/ownership; Number of employees; Industry; Primary customer business need; What is the biggest challenge facing your organization today?; Number of PCs; Number of servers.


SMB relationship program at-a-glance 




Telephone Customer Service (Tier 1 & 2 only).
Support - free online chat tech support.
Training - software training and computer based training is key.
Library (info).
Dashboard. VoC Objectives




Personalized Communications based on Opt-in Data.

  • Welcome e-mail.
  • Monthly personalized e-newsletter.
  • Ongoing e-mails.



    Benefits of the value exchange

      Customer Benefits

      • Personalized Service
      • Customized Communication and Information
      • Ease of Use?
      • Relevancy

      Microsoft Benefits

      • Opt-in Profile information to drive relevancy in web site content and communications

      • Ability to analyze click and usage behavior

      • Marketing efficacy
      • Cross sell/upsell opportunities