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 the Secret#1: Loop-in the stakeholders on Customer Success in this three-part blog process. That blog also discusses the first four weeks of the journey to champion customer success management.
This blog uncovers the second secret that is critical in order to master Customer Success management.
Secret #2: Make customer success the DNA of your Business
“How to put systems in place so you can deliver an experience by design?”
Many of us dread the thought of managing the expectations of and speaking to an unhappy customer. Right? The challenge is not that the customers complain. Organizations should be happy that this customer at least made the effort of letting them know that something went wrong.
The challenge is when you start working as a firefighter – always struggling to put out fires and never being in control. We start believing that this is the role of a customer success professional and this is how you deliver a good experience to customers. I too have been at the receiving end and it is soul crushing, to be in the least!
However, I knew there would be a better way of dealing with such instances. It took a lot of effort but I could ultimately figure out how to get out of this mindset and succeed in delivering an experience by design!
Here is the step-by-step process for what you must do from Week 5 to Week 9 to ace the customer success management game!
Week 5: Begin your journey to Secret #2. Get the attention of the stakeholders in your business on your customer needs, wants, and desires.
In this week, you must get the stakeholders of your business to understand the customer needs, wants, and desires. You could abide by the following steps to attain that goal.
- Build and share the story of your customer
Everyone loves stories! Storytelling is an art that helps you evoke emotions and get the attention of the stakeholders. Michael Hauge, the master storyteller, helps you decode this art in this video:
So, for your need of getting the attention of all stakeholders, you need to share the story of your customer. You must also do so in such a manner that it helps the stakeholders at your end empathize with the challenges the customer is facing in doing business with you. They must understand the reasons for why customers coming to you and where are you failing in meeting that need.
- Share it with all the stakeholders
Share these stories not just with the frontline or the customer-facing teams but with each and every stakeholder in the company so that they can empathize with the customer and put themselves in the customer’s shoes. Make it visible in your internal newsletters, office walls, annual day speeches, and your boardroom.
Do remember that to share the story, you first need to build a crystal clear understanding of what your customer needs, problems, and desires are.
Week 6: Listen proactively to the voice of customer so that you can understand what your customers think and feel about doing business with you
To attain this goal, the following steps must be undertaken.
- Capture customer feedback
The experiences your customers are having is a sum-total of all the experiences they are having across the journey they undertake in doing business with you. Capturing your customer feedback is a fantastic proactive mechanism for listening to the voice of your customer. The feedback could be relational or transactional. While transactional feedback is captured at the end of a particular transaction of a customer in interacting with you, relational feedback is an overall experience in doing business.
To help you design and conduct surveys that customers love to respond, we have designed a Udemy course that helps you reach out to 1000 customers and build your NPS® benchmark.
This is what students of the course have to say about it:
Week 7: Remove the debate from your survey score validity so that you can focus on taking action
Do follow these pointers so that you can achieve the aim of this week.
- Don’t get caught in the debate
On having established a mechanism to proactively capture feedback, I have seen many organizations get lost in the discussions around scoring itself and whether it’s the real reflection of experience being delivered or not. Steer away from it.
- Build a holistic listening strategy
This essentially requires you to identify other data points such as reviews, discussions with customers, meetings, and blog comments that validate the insights you have captured from the proactive feedback capture.
Below is an amazing video from Moz – Top Ten Ways To Get More Customer Feedback:
- Identify the stakeholders
Once you have identified these data sources and built a good understanding of what the customer is saying across the stages of the customer journey, focus on identifying the stakeholders that need to take action based on the insights captured at each stage.
Week 8: Build your system to close the loop on your customer feedback
The task in this week is critical. Without this, all that you have done till now fails! So, here’s how you do it:
- First and foremost, share insights with the team
All the stakeholders that are involved across a stage of the journey need to be appraised on these insights and the customer expectations. Sharing this understanding with the stakeholders and showing them how their actions directly impact the experience at each stage helps them plan and act on the corrective measure.
- Focus on quick wins and big bets
The ‘quick wins’ are easy to accomplish tasks that will be able to address an immediate need of the customer. These tasks are great in building and maintaining the momentum in the initiative. The big bets are the projects that may require deeper planning, such as a major change in product or strategy. Essentially, these are the bigger projects that can be undertaken in the long term. As a business head, you need to take a call on which projects have maximum impact on your customer experience, get approvals from your management team, and execute these projects.
Taking action on feedback may not always be easy for your team. It is the responsibility of the leadership to empower teams. This is exactly what we focus on Week 9.
Week 9: Empower your team to take action and remove roadblocks that are stopping them from realizing your customer success vision
Like any other initiative, problems will be a part of this one as well. Problems and roadblocks an integral part of evolution itself. Our task is to not get bogged down by these problems but to resolve them from the core so they do not recur. Read the following steps to make this week a success!
- First of all, Identify the problems
Help your teams identify the problems that are stopping them from delivering the results that customers desire. You need to encourage open conversations for identifying and solving problems for your team. Facilitate discussions that help your teams to think and talk about problems they are facing in delivering the experience customers desire across stages of the customer journey.
Discuss openly and frequently, because a team that is stuck with problems is limited in the effort it is willing to make.
- Identify the root causes and fix them
To keep your team upbeat about delivering a desirable experience, it is important to help them identify the root causes of the problems due to which the issues recur. Moreover, it is important to fix them. The fishbone analysis or the 5-why analysis is a simple yet effective mechanism to achieve this.
Let’s take a quick example here.
Say there is a delay in delivery of a product at the customer location for an electronic goods brand. On the face of it, it may look like a logistics and supply chain issue. However, when you drive a step deeper, you realize that the delay was because of product unavailability. On further probing, you identify that the product was not purchased, which was because the purchasing team was not informed. This happened because the inventory system was not updated. Now, this may have occurred because the networking equipment was not working in the retail outlet.
So, this is a classic example of how a logistic issue may actually be an IT hardware issue! Help your team identify and fix root causes.
That’s your Week 5 to Week 9 plan required to make customer success the DNA of your business by putting systems in place and deliver an experience by design!
Here is a quick recap of the activity that must be undertaken in week 5 to 9 of your journey of customer success.
Week 5 – Get the attention of the stakeholders in your business on your customer’s needs, wants, and desires
Week 6 – Proactively listen to the voice of customer
Week 7 – Remove the debate from your survey score validity
Week 8 – Build systems to close the loop on your customer feedback
Week 9 – Remove roadblocks for your team and empower them to take action
Week 9 onwards will help you build an environment that fosters customer success and make it the mantra your business lives by. Would you like to know how?
You can uncover this secret in this 75 minute training where we talk about the 3 secrets to deliver an exceptional customer experience right away.
Additionally, you can read more on the process for the last few weeks in the third blog of this series: Secret #3: The 14-week formula to master Customer Success Management.