In the previous parts of this blog I looked at the rewards that can come from achieving customer success and then how to create, define and implement a Customer Success Strategy. In the final part of this three-part blog I will delve more into technology and discuss how technology platforms can help you on your journey to achieving customer success.
Choosing the right technology platform
SaaS platforms such as Salesforce are ideally suited to many of the principles outlined in this article. However not all products are equal and some key points when evaluating products include:
- Innovation platform – The vendor should actively promote innovation. In the case of Salesforce, the AppExchange market place is a true testament to innovation providing thousands of innovative applications and components many of which are free.
- Complete CRM – The platform needs to seamlessly integrate core functions such as sales, service and marketing into a single customer view. The platform should also be configurable and allow you to connect with customers in a personalised way through channel of choice (e.g. mobile, online portal and social media).
- Provide a high degree of customisation and fast app development – A tailored application should not need lines of code written by an IT department. A broad range of platform capabilities such as mobile, integration frameworks, etc. should be available to leverage and fulfil the majority of business requirements. However, the platform should also support heavy duty customisation if required through Object-Orientated programming languages to ensure the platform can truly meet any demanding business need.
- Security – Specific industries have more demanding security requirements. In Australia SaaS platforms that are certified through the Certified Cloud Service List or IRAP certification are often critical to ensure compliance.
Implementing the platform
The quality of the implementation is critical to success. External consultancy services can offer true value in making sure the platform is utilised to its full potential and aligned to both best practice and the overall Customer Success strategy. Key aspects in the success of a platform implementation include:
- Agile / Lean – Agile and Lean principles are ubiquitous but not often delivered in the most optimum way. A tremendous amount of value can be added through Agile coaching to ensuring teams are working in the most effective way with stakeholders effectively engaged.
- Continuous Integration (CI) – Benefits of CI include improved quality and reduced cost through automated testing and the ability to work with multiple change streams. SaaS products such as Salesforce are especially suited to CI.
- Data Integration – Technology platforms do not operate in silos. Specific technical expertise is often required to provide guidance on how to integrate with in-house systems and perform the technical integration. Data integration may be batch or real time integration (SOAP/REST) or with interactive systems such as CTI (e.g. Genesys and Avaya). Data migration is often a key consideration and considerations such as data quality
- Customer UX – Customer experience is core to the Customer Success Strategy. Translating an engaging experience to user interface design is a specific skill that if not done well undermines the value of the platform.
- Change Management / Training – No implementation is complete without fully considered change management or training program. There are a range of techniques to ensure the right outline, including interactive videos and onsite programs.
- Managed Services – Once the platform has been deployed, the right support structure needs to ensure that the platform is operating efficiently. Often it is more cost effective to outsource the support services and provided a mechanism to accommodate small changes requiring technical resources.
This three-part blog has outlined just some of the considerations in the path for achieving customer success. Of course each organisation is individual and your Customer Success Strategy and implementation needs to be tailored to suit your objectives.
Wherever you are in your journey, SMS Management & Technology can provide a comprehensive portfolio of services to ensure you reach your goal. From Salesforce, to Agile, to formulating strategy, your Customer Success is at the heart of what we do.