Working with start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, I have come to realize there are only THREE secrets you need to focus on to build an effective customer success management system. The good news is that I have designed it into a step-by-step, a 14-week process that will lay a strong foundation to kick-start your journey of customer success management.
I have already covered Secret 1 and Secret 2 for mastering customer success management. Secret 1 focussed on how to ‘Loop-in the stakeholders on Customer Success – How to make customer success the responsibility of everyone in your organization so that it becomes their priority?’ and Secret 2 focussed on how to ‘Make customer success the DNA of your Business – How to put systems in place so you can deliver an experience by design?.’ This blog uncovers the third secret that is critical in order to master Customer Success management.
Secret #3: Build a culture of customer success
“How to build a culture of customer success by putting the customer at the core of business and use it as a strategy for MASSIVE growth?”
If you are sincerely trying to bring about a customer-focused culture change, there is a trend that you should be careful of. While many times the intent is right, organizations get caught up in the cycle of treating culture like a buzzword. They put it up on walls, creating posters and emphasizing on building a culture at every instance. All of this goes for a toss, however, if not followed by action. Not showing intent in action renders any initiative as a marketing gimmick.
The point to take home here is that culture is in action and not in words! So, let’s look at what the coming weeks hold for you to bring about this cultural change.
Week 10: Build a culture of delivering a good customer experience.
This week is about defining the behaviors and actions for your team. To ensure that you are successfully able to achieve the goals of this week, you must do the following
- Don’t leave behaviors to chance
If you just set a mandate of doing the right thing, it could be perceived differently by each individual in the organization. The employee will take action accordingly and, hopefully, to the best of his capability. However, this would also mean that the experience a customer has varies depending on the employee he is interacting with. So, you must define a clear set of behaviors and action your team needs to follow in interacting with customers.
- Define the ‘must do’ and ‘never do’
The trick here is to define the ‘must always do’ and ‘must never do’ activities at each stage of the journey. Start with the stage where you see that the consistency of experience delivered is low. When the team knows and follows steps that it knows will deliver a good experience to the customer, you will have absolute confidence in the consistency of experience you are delivering as a brand. The idea of informing the team of the ‘never do’ activities is that instructions are best followed when people are sure about both, the right and wrong thing to do in a situation.
Once you have successfully defined the behaviors and actions, the next step is to put checks and balances in place. This is the focus in the next week.
Week 11: Preempt the experience being delivered
To successfully reach the aims of this week, do follow these pointers.
- Stay a step ahead of your customer
It’s powerful to be able to predict the experience you will deliver to your customers based on their behavior. Across each stage of the customer journey, there are certain trends or metrics that can help you here.
Let’s look at a scenario here. Say, there is a bank customer who usually prefers to transact online. This customer reaches out to the call-center probably once or twice in a year. Now, it so happens that in a given time period of a couple of weeks, you observe that this customer has reached out to the customer support team two or three times. This clearly is an aberration to the usual trend. Wouldn’t it make sense for the customer experience team to reach out to the customer and proactively solve customer problems in such scenarios?
- Define experience-impact metrics
In order to be able to predict the experience that was delivered at each stage, you need to define those metrics. These metrics provide an early insight into the experience that will be delivered, enabling your team to take corrective action.
That takes us to the next step to build the culture of delivering a good customer experience.
Week 12: Build your ‘code of honor’ for customers and employees
The ‘code of honor’ for a team or for the company is the set of rules that the stakeholders need to abide by in order to live up to the values that brand stands for. Blair Singer beautifully summarizes what the ‘code of honor’ is in this video.
What he essentially says is that all the elements of your business – the product, services, systems, people, and cash flow – are like the contents of a cup. If the cup develops a crack, the content falls out, meaning that there is a business failure. The cup is the context or environment of your business. He explains that the environment/context of your business is much more important than the content. As a leader, it is your responsibility to set up the best environment for your business. The number one tool to do so is to build the ‘code of honor’ – the set of rules to hold it all together.
Follow these pointers to ensure that you build the right ‘code of honor.’
- Define the rules, behaviors, and conduct
As a united team, the business needs to define the rules for behaviors and conduct across the stages of the customer journey. This will enable the business to live up to the expectations of the customer and support employees in delivering the experience.
Let’s take an example of a car repair service. Your customer success value system mandates a seamless car pick-up experience and a customer should not have a wait-time of more than five minutes. Based on your value of delivering the best customer experience in your industry, you could establish a rule to give a free car wax coupon in the next visit if there was an unforeseen delay.
Having defined the code of honor, let’s understand how you must take action on the insights from the work you have done till now.
Week 13: Bring about a customer-centric cultural change by prioritizing projects
How can you do so? Follow the steps below!
- List your projects
Before we get into picking up new projects targeted towards improving customer experience, a good exercise is to list down all the projects across the stages of the customer journey.
- Consolidate project scope
Take stock and give a good hard thought to which projects are trying to solve the same problem or a part of the same problem. See if you should consolidate, or reduce, the scope of certain projects. Further, understand if you might want to let go of certain projects altogether.
- Back the right projects
Now, the management needs to back the projects that are targeted towards improving the customer’s experience. If the employees believe that customer experience is just-talk-and-no-action, the entire initiative will die down.
In short, you must prioritize projects that make it easy for you to live up to the code of honor, and pick the projects that have a direct impact on the experience being delivered to customers. Prioritize the ones that directly improve the experience of the stage of the customer journey and that have the most impact on the overall experience delivered to customers.
Week 14: Establish systems to sustain and maintain focus on this entire initiative
There is no shortcut to establishing customer success management in your business. It is a long-term strategy that would require consistent action, support, and course correction. The importance of this step cannot be emphasized enough – this is the step that brings together all that you have done till now. This is the step that will help your team stay on course.
- Establish a constant communication mechanism
As a leader, it’s your job to bring the discussion on the customer into the core of the business. You must ensure that decisions that are happening in the boardroom, the daily, weekly and monthly review meetings and even the annual business reports have the customer at their heart.
- Decide based on customer data
Business decisions need to be made on what the customer is saying about the overall experience rather than on what the departments feel about the experience that is being delivered.
- Help the team stay on course
Holding the team accountable or rewarding it consistently on the experience it delivers is also a critical step in making sure that the team stays on course.
Remember it is those little steps that are taken day-by-day, week-on-week, and month-on-month that will help you build a business that puts the customer at the core of business decisions and bring about a customer-focused shift in your business. So monitor, understand, communicate, and act on customer experience on a regular basis.
See what CX leaders across the globe are saying about customer experience in this e-book:
So, that’s is your Week 10 to 14 plan that is required to make customer success the DNA of your business.
Here is a quick recap of the activity that must be undertaken in week 10 to 14 of your journey of customer success.
Week 10 – Define the behaviors and actions for your team
Week 11 – Preempt the experience being delivered to your customers
Week 12 – Build your ‘code of honor’ for customers and employees
Week 13 – Prioritize projects that take you closer to your customer success goal
Week 14 – Establish systems to sustain and maintain focus on customer success
You can uncover Secret 1 and Secret 2 in this 75-minute training where we talk about the THREE secrets to deliver an exceptional customer experience: