How to lead the way in customer success - part 1
Delivering a consistently good customer experience (CX) is unquestionably a key driver of business success.
In fact, according to Gartner, over 80% of marketing leaders responsible for CX say their companies will “mostly or completely compete on the basis of CX in two years”. However, with customers coming into contact with numerous departments during their journey - all with different remits and approaches - delivering on this can be a major challenge.
In order to address this, many companies – including us here at Maximizer – have chosen to set up a dedicated Customer Success (CS) function that is designed to transcend any one team and form the backbone to CX management.
Based on our experience of setting up and developing our CS function over the last couple of years, here we identify three areas that represent the first steps of the customer journey and highlight how you can add real value at each stage.
On-boarding – managing the customer’s crucial first three months
Customers buy a product or service with great expectations, and their point of purchase – or on-boarding, as we call it – is where your opportunity to shape their experience of your organisation begins. If those first few weeks after purchase fail to live up to their expectations, the relationship will quickly nosedive, and statistics show that more than half of consumers will stop buying after a poor customer service interaction.
To prevent this, we have handed our CS team full responsibility for those vital first three months of the customer journey, taking over the reins from the sales department immediately after purchase, and monitoring our service and technical team’s activity to keep everything running smoothly.
They manage thisusing the Customer Service module within our software, which gives them full visibility of each stage of the customer’s journey, streamlining tasks, setting up automatic workflow triggers and flagging up any bottlenecks.
Interestingly,this exercise helped us to speed up some processes, including delivery timelines and how long it takes to get new users up and running.
Following on from this, the team’s next role is to support customers by providing practical information and tips that help them get the most benefit from their new CRM, and this has also proven highly effective in driving adoption of our solution.
Taking the pulse of CX with value reviews
Without feedback it’s impossible to improve the customer experience. This is critical for the development of your customers’ relationship with you (and the product or service you are offering), and to help them derive maximum value. The tricky part is working out the optimum time post-purchase for conducting reviews.
At Maximizer, we have found three months to be the critical point for gauging initial customer satisfaction levels and ensuring that the solution is meeting objectives both tactically and strategically.
To create a mutually beneficial conversation, our CS team has developed a programme of Value Reviews, in the form of in-depth telephone account reviews arranged following successful delivery of the implementation service package.
Not only do these reviews add to the customer’s experience by reaffirming our ongoing interest in how our CRM is working for them, but we also gain a better understanding of their businesses, growth plans and ambitions. This enables us, for example, to spot ways in which they could be achieving greater benefit, perhaps leading them to identify the adoption of additional product features, extra training or services, to further support their ongoing business growth. On occasion, this feedback has also provided valuable technical feature suggestions.
Satisfaction surveys remain core to CX
Beyond that critical three-month mark, satisfaction surveys remain a useful way to continue regularly listening to customers. Our CS team uses them to complement Value Reviews, while they are also helpful for communicating with those customers who may not have time for a telephone appointment or who prefer giving feedback in writing.
These surveys provide valuable insight that should be analysed and acted on. It’s certainly worthwhile: research showsthat the vast majority – 70% – of companies shown to deliver an exceptional CX are acting on their customer feedback.
For us, using these surveys to track year-on-year trends has enabled us to identify the top business objectives and benefits our customers are realising from their investment, and measure adoption levels of key features and functions. This helps us to benchmark our customers’ CRM adoption levels, create more effective best practice implementation guidance, and ultimately support their business growth.
Being truly and consistently successful at CX demands the kind of joined up approach that only a dedicated team with full oversight and control of all CX-related processes can provide. And, as more businesses implement their own CS teams, it is becoming very evident that satisfying customers creates real commercial gain. The first step to customer success however is understanding how and where a dedicated team can add value for your business – and then giving them the power to do so.
Mike Richardson - Managing Director, Maximizer EMEA
As Managing Director (EMEA), Mike is charged with leading and delivering the marketing, sales, service and operational strategy for the EMEA region, alongside the management of the Certified Solutions Provider network.
Mike joined Maximizer Software in 2000, by which time he...