The journey from Technical Support to Customer Success requires more than a name change or the addition of a team of Customer Success Managers. To fully embrace Customer Success, Support must rethink its role and adopt new ways to engage, retain and grow customer relationships. This Playbook provides a guided journey across four key milestones to help you define essential Customer Success capabilities.
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The term Customer Success seems to permeate the industry with nearly every company engaged in some type of success initiative. The focus and awareness of Customer Success is timely and refreshing. This does not imply that technology companies have not been focused on making customers successful in the past, but this emphasis on Customer Success creates a new level of awareness and commitment to truly impacting customers’ ability to derive benefits from technology. Customer Success has profound implications for the ways that companies engage, serve, and retain customers.
As we rush to embrace Customer Success it is imperative that we have a shared understanding about what Customer Success is and is not. All too often we find examples of Customer Success initiatives that involve little more than changing the name of the Support department or adding a few new roles to focus on success-related activities. Every step towards a Customer Success-oriented approach is positive, but if we truly want to pursue Customer Success, we need to understand what it is and why it is different from traditional Customer Support models.
MILESTONE 1: READINESS ASSESSMENT
The first step in the transformation to Customer Success is to understand what it is and why it may be right for your business. While we all want our customers to be successful, the implementation of a Customer Success capability can be costly and disruptive. Before you commit to a customer success strategy it is essential to determine if this is the right approach and the right time.
MILESTONE 2: DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS STRATEGY
Customer Success does not just happen – you need a plan. The foundation for an effective Customer Success initiative is a clearly defined strategy. The Success strategy must: Define what you expect to accomplish; Justify why it makes good business sense; Articulate the resources and changes required to execute; and explain how Success performance will be measured. Define your strategy, develop the plan, and gain champions and sponsors.
MILESTONE 3: INVEST IN SUCCESS
To execute your Customer Success strategy and achieve your target objectives you must implement the necessary capabilities. Customer Success demands that you have well defined practices, appropriate staffing levels and roles, and enabling tools.
MILESTONE 4: OPERATE AND IMPROVE
Defining a Customer Success strategy and installing staff, tools and processes is just the beginning. The need and expectations of customers will continue change and Success strategies and offerings must evolve. Focus on maximizing Customer Success performance by monitoring KPIs. Look for opportunities to continually improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Customer Success initiatives. Create a success-focused culture and differentiate your brand by selling results.