Businesses today MUST realize the power of customer success. They have focused on the shareholders, the employees, the product, maybe even their operations, and sales. I agree that all of these play a critical role in the success of a business. However, with my experience of working with business owners and leaders across industries, I have come to realize that most of the successful business leaders understand that all of this is taken care of when you focus on “The Customer” and customer success.
The beauty of building a customer success system in your business is that it adds to your company’s bottom-line.
You DON’T have to offer endless discounts.
You DON’T have to be overwhelmed with customer complaints.
You DON’T have to stress over the ever-increasing gap in revenue and sales targets.
In my experience of working with start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, I have come to realize that there are only three secrets you need to focus on for customer success management in your business. Honestly, I could crystallize this after spending tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours wrapping my head around the work of real masters.
The good news is that I have designed it into a 14-week, step-by-step process. In a three-part series of blogs, I will explain in detail the entire process. This process will lay a strong foundation as is guaranteed to kick-start your journey of customer success.
This blog uncovers the FIRST secret that is critical to building customer success system. It shows how to build a team that collaborates and works together towards a common goal of delivering an exceptional customer experience.
This SECRET 1 will ensure that you are well on your way to MASSIVE and sustainable business growth through creating raving fans of your business in your customers.
Secret #1: 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?”
This is where the crucial first four weeks begin! Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.”
If the teams in a business are not working together to deliver a great customer experience, the results you achieve will also be limited. Since the teams are not aligned and not pulling in the same direction, there will be a constant push-and-pull to prioritize projects important for them. However, when the team is aligned and working together for a common cause, the impact obviously is a lot bigger.
So let’s begin and see what do you need to do in the crucial first four weeks.
Week 1: Ensure that everyone has a common understating on what customer success is
- Explain why is customer success important
Share with all the stakeholders what companies that have focused on customer success achieved. Instill in them how the next wave of growth that companies are going to achieve will NOT be based on product or price, but on the experience they deliver to customers. Don’t tell them that they should do it because the competition is doing it! Don’t tell them they should do it because it is the right thing to do! Tell them they should do it because it is something that will get them a massive return on investment. To understand this, let’s refer to this newspaper article from ‘The Times of India’. It says the following:
“The year was 2006, Google had just released maps, Yahoo looked like it still might make something of itself, and Blackberry dominated the market for what we would eventually call smartphones. Apple was rumored to be working on a phone, which turned out to be just a few months away.
In the same year, the UX Fund was formulated Geoff Teehan (now Facebook’s product design Director), it consisted of Apple, Google, JetBlue, Netflix, Nike Progressive insurance, Target, Yahoo, Blackberry and Electronic Arts. There are many non-obvious entries here. Few people would put an insurance company and airline in such a fund but they believed that these companies offered the best experience. The common factor amongst these companies was that they focused on a good user experience. They actually invested $5000 in each of the 10 companies, in November 2006. 10 years later $50,000 has grown to become $305,926! Again vastly exceeding any index over the period. A return of over 450%!”
It’s actually a no-brainer to invest in companies that are focusing on customer success. The question is, will it be yours?
- Share customer success stories or organizations from your industry
Each industry is different. There are multiple stories within your business/industry to make one realize the power of customer success. So, look out for these stories that are relevant to you and your business and share it with the stakeholders.
Click on the image below and get this e-book with a collection of stories of brands which have succeeded in delivering an exceptional experience to their customers.
- Establish that customer success is not equal to customer support
Customer support or customer service is a sub-function of customer success. The experience you deliver to your customers, however, is a sum-total of all the experiences they have in doing business with you. Customer support could be one such experience that your customer goes through in doing business with you. So, it is important that your team understands this clearly.
Once you have raised awareness and built a common understanding around CX, the next important task at hand is to develop a growth mindset.
Week 2: Build a mindset of delivering a good experience to customers
To build an outlook of delivering a good customer experience in your team, the following must be done.
- Get your team’s commitment
The mindset that your team holds has a huge impact on its commitment and action in delivering a great experience to your customer. This mindset is due to certain beliefs about customer experience that may be stopping the team from aligning to the cause or performing at a level that it is capable of.
- Unearth the beliefs that are stopping the team from achieving results it is capable of
As a champion of customer success in your organization, you need to understand and help your team members unearth the beliefs and prejudices that are stopping them from achieving results they are capable of. The best way to do it is – Ask them!
“What is your most negative belief around customer success?”
This is a very powerful question to encourage your team members to share their opinions openly. When you know what are the limiting beliefs of your team, you are much better placed to tackle them, isn’t it?
More often than not, these are some common myths through some preconceived notions that can easily be sorted out through constructive, logical conversations.
Once the mindset to deliver an exceptional experience is achieved, the next step is to make all stakeholders understand who the customer is!
Week 3: Ensure every stakeholder has a crystal clear understanding of who is your customer
When your team understands this, it focusses on providing a personalized, targeted, and proactive experience that customers love and appreciate. To do so, ensure the following steps are undertaken.
- Build your customer segments
There may be multiple types of customers you are working with. Arrange your customers into groups. These groups could be:
- Geographic – based on factors such as gender, age, familial and marital status, income, education, and occupation.
- Demographic – based on factors such as customer’s locality, city, state, or even country of residence.
- Psychographic – based on factors such as social class, lifestyle, and personality traits.
- Behavioral – based on factors such as spending and consumption habits, product/service usage, and desired benefits.
Customer success is not about providing a ‘one size fits all’ offering. It’s about segmenting your customers to provide personalized and differentiated services.
Think about it, marketing the same holiday package will change depending on your target audience. For instance, a child may resonate with a theme park, a lady may want a leisure destination, while a man may want a good overall time for the family! This may again change based on the age group, location, past buying pattern and the like.
- Define the persona of your customers
Defining the persona of your customers helps your team identify the customer. Connect a name and a face along with the needs, problems, and desires. Further, describe the persona based on their geographic, demographic, psychographic, or behavioral traits and put down their personal and business goals. Below is an example of how you can define a persona.
Week 4: Build a framework that enables you to understand what it takes to deliver a one-company experience to customers
To successfully build such a framework, ensure the following:
- Map your customer’s journey
The customer journey is the step-by-step path that a customer takes in doing business with you. It is a journey of one complete experience where each stage is a step in itself. This map captures how your customer feels, thinks, and acts in taking this path. It defines the tools and systems your customer needs at each stage. Further, it lists the stakeholders that are involved at each stage of the journey from your end.
The customer’s journey map enables your team to see how their actions directly impact the experience being delivered to customers. It empowers them to collaborate across the stages of the journey and eventually work towards the common goal of delivering an exceptional experience to customers.
Would you like to map the customer journey for your business? This e-book is a great place to start.
Click the image to download your Free copy now!
So that’s your 4-week exercise required to loop in the stakeholders at your end and make customer success the responsibility of everyone in your organization.
A quick recap of the first 4-week activity of your journey of customer success:
Week 1 – Create awareness of customer success
Week 2 – Help your team build a mindset of delivering an exceptional customer experience
Week 3 – Develop a crystal clear understanding of who is your customer among your stakeholders
Week 4 – Build a framework for your team to collaborate and deliver a one-company experience to customers
Once you have been able to bring about this common alignment in your team, from Week 5 onwards, we will help you get away from always firefighting to delivering an experience to customers by design. Would you like to know how?
Uncover this secret in a 75-minute training where we talk about the three secrets to deliver an exceptional customer experience right away. Click here to get the training.
Additionally, you can read more on how to work on the remainder of the process in part two of the blog: Secret #2: The 14-week formula to master Customer Success Management.