Customer Success is not a Department; it’s the Whole Company

Customer Success
The future is truly made with the customer in mind – just like how thinkers and inventors of the past such as Nikolai Tesla and Roger Ebert predicted. Tesla predicted the invention of the cell phone back in 1909 to send messages so simply that “any individual can own and operate his own apparatus.” Roger Ebert spoke of a “push-button dialing system to order the movie you want at the time you want it” back in 1987 and ten years later we had Netflix. The emphasis on the success and the experience of the customer is what the future of products and services is all about. Organizations across the globe are putting in concentrated efforts to transform the customer experience. Over the past few years, we have witnessed the rise of customer success teams and product success teams. In most SaaS companies, Customer Success is a separate team. According to a recent report, there has been a 500% jump in the number of jobs posted on LinkedIn in 2017 itself! This meteoric rise of Customer Success department is owing to the need organizations feel to benchmark customer success efforts mainly because, in today’s overcrowded marketplace, your product is only successful when it helps your customers succeed.

Where does Customer Success stand today?

Customer Success teams have the huge responsibility of managing existing relationships, reducing churn, influencing sales and increasing the existing revenue base. Their primary responsibility being enabling the use of the product by the customers. While this might seem quite a simple and straightforward process, it is far more nuanced…especially when it comes to SaaS products. With the golden days of unbreakable contracts becoming a thing of the past and an increasing number of new players entering the market, the customer of today is spoilt for choice. Customer Success, thus, has to focus heavily on customer experience management and product success to evolve to these changing dynamics. However, in most organizations, the customer enablement chain is broken and customer success teams function like a separate organization within the company.

The problem with Customer Success today?

Customer Success teams, product teams, product marketing teams, the key stakeholders of product success, presently work in siloed environments and use multiple disconnected apps to reach the customer. This approach leads to data fragmentation and restricts everyone’s capability to enable their customers at speed. In this subscription economy, it, however, becomes imperative to provide a good and consistent customer enablement experience as it doesn’t take even a moment for a customer to jump ship.

Customer Enablement Matters

Customer enablement begins by acknowledging that the customers of today need more than a user manual. They need more than random updates on new product features. They demand more than an automated onboarding process. And for marketing teams, these customers need more than an email drip campaign regarding your product. So what exactly is this ‘more’? ‘More’ here can be defined by knowing what success looks like for your customers –
  • It means having the capability to understand, intercept and address the needs of the customer even before they have anticipated it.
  • It is about having the capability to extend your product to have the capacity to personalize it for every customer.
  • It is about proactively working with your customers to turn them into your advocates, increase retention, and optimize the customer lifecycle.
  • However, is this possible if all the stakeholders of customer enablement work in silos?

What does real customer enablement look like?

For customer enablement, organizations need to ensure that all these stakeholders of customer success and product success have access to the right and relevant piece of customer information, at the right time so that they can proactively help their customer. Instead of waiting for a customer issue to stem, they have to receive the right information in a timely manner so that the issue does not emerge.
  • Marketing teams need to be armed with the information of what the customer wants and what she would need based on product usage patterns.
  • The product management team needs to know where the user is experiencing issues while using the product.
  • Customer support teams need to know how to educate the customer proactively.
  • All communication, assistance, feedback, guidance, training to the customer have to be personalized, relevant, engaging and immediate.
This can only happen if customer enablement takes an omni-channel approach, where all the stakeholders of customer success get a single 360-degree view of the customer. The product success teams should be able to collect feedback, deliver knowledge, educate and communicate with their customers – in real-time and in a device-agnostic manner. Organizations need to now realize that customer success is not just a department. It is their whole company. It is about bringing all the stakeholders of the company on to one platform and provide each of them with the customer insights so that they can proactively help the customers achieve their desired outcome and help the customers use the product in the best possible manner. Customer Success expert Lincoln Murphy states, “You can focus on adoption, retention, expansion, or advocacy; or you can focus on the customers’ Desired Outcome and get all of those things”. Connect with us to see how you can focus on your customer’s desired outcomes, and align their needs with your goals by a simple in-product extension.