November 20th, 2016
Good Customer Success Isn't Enough....The Time To Wow Is Here
So, why are we in this? Why are we in this exciting, fantastically inspiring, rapidly moving and evolving industry known as customer success? As Customer Success professionals we are driven by the need to delight our customers; driven by the need to demonstrate value; driven in making our customers successful either directly, or by utilising our products or services.
However, as the industry matures and the bar of quality is raised being "just" good isn't sufficient anymore, it is time to wow your customer. Below are my top 5 ways to wow your customers. I am sure there are more, I am sure you have your own personal favourites but these are mine.
Be Authoritative & Credible - Nothing will build your credibility with your customers more so than writing or speaking publicly and therefore seen as an authoritative, leading figure. If customer success is what you want your customer to recognize you for then use this opportunity to market and position yourself. Talk definitively about the key components: customer journey mapping, segmentation, business outcomes, demonstrating value & RoI realisation, business reviews, etc. Not only does this market you and your company but it also highlights your values, your beliefs and also your opinions. You may choose to do this specifically about the industry or products you work with.
Respond To Survey Responses - Nothing infuriates a customer more than than asking them to invest their valuable time in providing insights into their experience using your product or service and then doing nothing with that information. As a manager I make a conscious effort to contact every survey respondent irrelevant of the feedback being good, bad or indifferent. More often than not my call or email is greeted with pleasant surprise from them that I have made the time to personally acknowledge their feedback and detail at a high level how we will react.
Customer Advocacy - Helping customers get the maximum from your products or services is the main focus for you as a Customer Success Manager. One of the greatest strengths you as a CSM should have is being the strongest advocate possible representing your customers needs internally to your organisation especially to your product managers and product teams. However, it doesn't take much to be an advocate for your customers range of products and services too. The prominent position social media now plays in Customer Success will allow you to constantly be aware of how your customer's business is performing, new products they are releasing, business they are winning and some of their greatest success stories. Don't be shy in sharing this with your contacts through your social media platforms.
Activity Attribution - Customer Success isn't just about volume of activities; activities analyzing how much software your customers use, activities of webinars and newsletters, activities involving executive meetings. Customer Success is about attributing any and all of these to a value, a value that is tangible and a value that your customer acknowledges. Whenever you look to do something for your customer, or with your customer ask yourself why are you doing this? What value are you bringing to them? Remember, them as much as you want and need to prove an RoI. Have this conversation with your customer and you may be pleasantly surprised how open they are to the conversation and working with you to prove that value.
Close That Loop - Like survey responses that go unacknowledged or ignored, requests of product enhancements or fixes that get logged and never to be heard of again are one of the major frustrations of your end users. Again they have taken the time to provide feedback, and yes this might be for their benefit but it is also for your benefit, for your product or service. Based on this you should treat that feedback with the respect it deserves and what it deserves is you closing the loop. I am not saying you have to agree and approve any or every enhancement or fix, but what you should do is close the loop. If you are making that change, set expectations of time and detail - the old mantra of "under-promise and over-deliver" works well here. It is also OK to not make that change - but go back to your customer and be transparent why it has been declined. It may not be what they want to hear, they may still be frustrated but ultimately they will respect you and appreciate you more for that honesty and for closing the loop.
As I said, these are just 5 ways that I believe you can wow your customer rather than just being "good". Customer Success is progressing, the bar is getting higher in terms of what we need to deliver so all of us need to up our game. I would love to hear more in terms of what other things you all believe we can do to wow our customers.
Matt Myszkowski - experienced Customer Success leader & founder of CustomerSuccessMatters