In the first part of my blog, I looked at the rewards to organisations who focus on and achieve customer success. In the second part of this blog, I will look at your Customer Success Strategy and how you can create it, define it, implement it and see real results from it.
Defining your Customer Success Strategy
Establishing a Customer Success strategy produces a central vision and considers how the many interactions emerge into an overall customer journey. This will help define how, when and which changes to make to provide an optimum experience and answer questions such as:
- What does your existing customer experience look like?
- How will you help your customer succeed?
- How can a technology platform help enable Customer Success?
- What’s the appropriate approach for engaging customers and monitoring them throughout their lifetime?
Answers will originate from every aspect of your business. External consultancy services can provide a range of capabilities to overcome challenges, such as bringing together disparate silos to deliver a single cohesive strategy. Stimulating an innovating environment to help think outside the box is also important to investigate new ways of working. Much will depend on your situation and organisational maturity in this area and overall objectives.
Implementation of your Customer Success strategy
Once the Customer Success strategy has been defined, the implementation needs to ensure that value is delivered throughout the process. Some of the key considerations in the implementation activities include:
- Start Small, Iterate Over Time and Measure – Implementing a Customer Success strategy will not come from a single project or action but rather as a result of many small changes all moving towards a common goal. Focus on one topic with a single team and then get feedback from customers to establish a baseline. Then throughout a series of iterations, set a single improvement goal. Taking on too much scope too quickly makes it difficult to take action and to make progress. The key is to also take measurement and obtain supporting data to make informed decisions. Each metric should also have an accountable owner.
- Creating the right culture: Foster innovation – Everybody has ideas. A few may be so incredible they could bring a whole new way of doing business, potentially leading to industry disruption. The implementation of new products or services which your customer has never seen before typically leads to invested customers bought into a culture of doing things differently and connecting to your company in a whole new way. First mover advantage is certainly an advantage. Challenging conventional thinking and accepting the risk of failure need to be promoted by management and accepted throughout the organisation. Innovation needs to iterate back into the Customer Success strategy.
- Creating the right culture: Empower and collaborate – Employees need to be empowered with supporting information and also given a mandate to act upon it. A technology platform is a key enabler in this process, but only if the organisational and cultural aspects are considered in the implementation.
- Embrace Agile and Lean Development – Throughout the implementation, the business and customer needs will change and the direction of the Customer Success strategy will evolve as feedback on the process is gained. Matching your development cycle to your feedback cycle will help with continuous change and enable the business to move more quickly.
- Management Commitment – Accountability should be defined for both defining the Customer Success strategy and implementation. This will ensure that the business can work in a cohesive way. A Customer Advisory Board will also help to support the process.
- The right technology platform – An enabling platform will help both customer and internal employees in achieving Customer Success. However, the platform needs to be tailored to the individual needs of the business.
In the third and final part of this blog I'll delve more into the HOW and look at technology platforms you can implement to assist you on the journey to acheiving customer success!