Customer success no longer starts (or ends) at the point of sale. Here are three ways you could be preventing customers from making progress by focusing more on your company than your customers.
June 2, 2022
Close your eyes. Think about the last product or service you purchased? How did the experience feel? Fragmented? Confusing? Time Consuming?
Customer success no longer starts (or ends) at the point of sale. True customer success is a journey, one that begins prior to the sale and continues through the entire customer experience.
Blake Bartlett, Partner at OpenView, divides software into three eras and today we’re living in the End User Era where individuals drive decisions and the product leads go-to-market. The end-user, not the CIO or other c-level executives, hold decision-making power and their main question is, “does this add value to my day-to-day life?”
Here are three ways you could be preventing customers from making progress by focusing more on your company than your customers.
Whether it's a requirement to book a demo before seeing the product or scheduling a kickoff to begin implementation – requesting synchronous time with a customer creates friction (who want's yet another Zoom call on their calendar right).
There are plenty of great reasons to ask for face time, but before you do, ask yourself why this specific interaction needs happen in real-time.
Are you talking strategy with lots of open ended discussion? Are you using the time to walkthrough a particularly tricky setup step live?
Send personalized videos using a tool like Loom or Tella to communicate work to be done or share updates that can be consumed as needed.
If you do need synchronous time – make sure you have clearly communicated the agenda, expected outcomes, and next steps with the customer.
Each internal team likely has their own set of processes and tools for getting their work done. That doesn't mean customers should be expected to understand or care about them.
The important part is making sure that no matter who is interacting with the customer at any point in time they have the full context of the customer's experience and are empowered with everything they need to make them successful.
Customers feel handoffs the most when internal processes and customer data become siloed forcing them to repeat themselves and do time consuming rework that slows their progress and kills momentum.
Focus on the data - create a single source of truth shared by all customer teams (we recommend your CRM) as the foundation for your customer experience makes it much easier to have a complete picture of the customer's journey and enable everyone to get aligned around what needs to happen next.
Most companies talk to their customers like this:
But that feature-centric approach usually ignores the specific problem the customer is actually trying to solve - and doesn't reflect how the customer is measuring the success of your product.
The most effective narratives are focused on the problems customers are actually trying to solve and they outcomes they want to reach, with product features merely being vehicles to help customers achieve them.
When it comes to deciding to continue using and paying for a product, customers certainly don't care about the features they adopted, only the problems you solved for them.
Start every conversation in the context of the customer by asking explicitly about them. What are they working on?, where are they spending their time? what are they thinking will be a challenge in the next 3-6 months?
Use this information to "coach" customers to reach the best solutions, whether using your product directly or in combination with other products and services.
Reframing each interaction in the customer journey from your customers point of view helps remove friction and more effectively communicate value.
Most importantly it creates a clear connection in your customers mind between the problem they have and how you will help them solve it.
Each customer needs different things at different times. Build the bridges that will let each customer choose the best route to get where they want to go.
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