Nowadays it seems like everyone is jumping on the Customer Success bandwagon. Yet in our observation, many companies are unclear where this leads. It involves much more than creating a new team of Customer Success Managers, giving them access to existing data and processes, calling them accountable and calling it a day.
Effective Customer Success programs require a shift in philosophy across the organization as well as changes affecting people, process and technology across departments.
Philosophy: The mission of Customer Success is to increase sustainable proven value for both the Customers and the Company. In practice, this means adopting dedicated, comprehensive Customer Success strategies to drive increased long-term customer value from existing customers, improve the customer experience and customer satisfaction, reduce churn, etc. Many companies don’t realize that product management, back-office support, marketing, sales, and service delivery all have an impact on the customer experience and thus on their ability to achieve Customer Success. To address this, Customer Success must become a shared philosophy across all customer-facing functions.
People: People present the greatest challenge to the success of any customer-facing initiative. Implementing a Customer Success program is no different. People are sensitive to change. New processes and technology almost always require changes in the way employees work. Employees who do not buy into these changes, who are not allowed to participate in their creation, or who are not given adequate training will, understandably, resist.
Process: Most companies have well-established customer-facing processes, but these will almost certainly require adjustments as part of any customer success initiative. Process change must be based on an organization-wide commitment to Customer Success. It requires input from all stakeholders within the organization, customer-facing and otherwise, as well as from customers. No small task.
Technology: Less than 20% of Customer Success teams have any kind of Customer Success management systems available to them. These systems may include tools and technologies to execute and, equally important, to measure Customer Success activities. But be careful. Too often, technology is treated like a magic bullet, sometimes to the detriment of the overall Customer Success efforts.
While Customer Success Managers can attempt to mitigate the impact of subpar customer engagement processes and/or technologies, these efforts are likely to be band-aids at best. The key is to create a culture where all customer-facing functions put the customer first and address upfront the people, process and technology issues responsible for driving Customer Success initiatives. This is the key for generating increased loyalty and long-term customer value.
The concept of Customer Success is currently most often applied to businesses with recurring-revenue (subscription, pay-as-you-go) business models. Don’t be left behind. Contact us to learn how ISM can help create and implement your Customer Success program, and how to integrate this program into your overall Customer Engagement efforts.
Every ISM engagement benefits from a proven, proprietary ‘top-down/bottom-up’ methodology that integrates people, process and technology to ensure the success of a customer initiative. Our solutions are unique to each organization. Our consistent, structured approach ensures a meaningful impact to the company and the customer.
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Learn more about ISM’s Customer Engagement Focus Area.