“You’re not perfect. You may not have all the features, but you can inspire customer loyalty (retention) by aggressively supporting customer success. If they love working with you, and they feel like you’re invested in their success, they will commit for the long-term,” – Mitch MacFarlane
Driving customer success has become an important metric for business enterprises operating in the modern world. Customer success has a real world impact on business revenues because it reduces the high rates of customer churn. Additional benefits include lower business expenses in terms of acquiring new customers, an opportunity to improve existing products and services through the use of customer feedback, a chance to cultivate brand ambassadors, and to grow customer loyalty. We should note that happy customers represent a long-term business asset. These are important because they may help to generate fresh leads for the business through referrals and advocacy.
An enterprise that is interested in doing business in the long term has to establish solid credibility with all stakeholders. This can be achieved when the enterprise establishes a consistent record of customer success. Consider this: a software firm that helps its clients to manage their business in an information-driven world should make customer success a watchword and make it a part of its corporate mission. The said firm can choose to assign a specified technical expert to deal with its clients business. The technical expert can help the client to use the software company’s products optimally. Such an initiative can assure the client of ongoing, domain-specific expert support in its own business operations. The technical expert from the software maker can also help the client to assess his or her business requirements and periodically carry out an assessment of the progress achieved so far. In addition, annual reviews can be undertaken to identify the scope of improvements and to assess any recommendations.
Customer success can also hinge on corporate ethics. An enterprise can choose to closely identify itself with its customers. This means that the said enterprise should modify and align certain internal processes with the customer’s business. We could say that this implies that the enterprise should mirror some of the processes that operate at the heart of the client’s business. These actions should be initiated at the start of client engagement, in a bid to assure the client that the business service provider is serious about the client’s success. The outcomes of such actions can include scenarios wherein, roadblocks can be identified and rectified before they become stumbling blocks in the client’s business. The major outcomes of such collaboration with the client can lower unpredictability in a business or process, the creation of greater value for the business partners, shorter sales cycles and higher conversion rates for the business enterprise.
The significance of customer success also hinges on the fact that successful instances of such actions can be a force multiplier for businesses. The business outcomes of customer success initiatives can be transmitted by happy clients. These messages act as envoys and ambassadors of the enterprise that has managed to craft multiple customer success stories. These instances can be documented by the said enterprise and used as materials during pre-sales pitches to prospective customers. The data and the client names may have to be obscured in the interests of client confidentiality, but the facts of the matter can be used by senior sales and pre-sales personnel to fashion a compelling business case. The real-world demonstration of the core commitment to client success can win the enterprise new customers, while burnishing its corporate reputation and credentials at the same time.
Business executives that have been assigned to ensure customer success should track the progress of every customer engagement. This vigilance should be in the interests of crafting meaningful corporate interventions, while leveraging the experience of past customer success stories. A new client can be taken through the extensive scope of addressing customer success requirements; this can proceed along the lines of building a narrative that outlines past customer success engagements and the stellar outcomes that were achieved. These actions can help to fully engage a new customer and demonstrate the business benefits that may follow a full-fledged engagement exercise. The paradigm of customer success can also help to enlighten prospective clients on the past results and outline the possible future outcomes.
The efficacy and effectiveness of customer success can be measured in real world terms through customer retention, customer growth, and customer advocacy. We have to note that customer advocacy is something that emerges from a having a consistent track record of customers success. This metric cannot be quantified because it is akin to customer goodwill, which remains a business intangible. However, customer advocacy can be counted as a high-end business outcome that manifests itself when a customer chooses to be an ambassador on his or her own volition. This signals that the customer has had a significant number of interactions with a business enterprise and has chosen to recommend the business’s product or service to other customers. In this context, it is important to remember that a customer testimonial remains a priceless asset for any business. We could say that every business enterprise or brand that seriously pursues customer success should ultimately convert its customers to brand or business advocates.
A business that takes customer success seriously is likely to outshine its competition in the long run. A business perspective driven by customer success should help the enterprise to discover and identify business drivers that boost a desirable business outcome. These driving factors should be carefully assessed for the impact they have on the customer’s business and the customer’s bottom line. This information can be shared with the customer on a consistent basis and should help to expedite customer success. We have to note that such sharing of information is beneficial to both parties because modern businesses operate in an information-driven environment. Further, a sharp focus on achieving customer success can help the business enterprise to reduce investments by aligning goals that operate across multiple functions. When creating value for the customer becomes a common objective, the said business enterprise can refine its operations to become more efficient and more effective.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the benefits that accrue from operating a business driven by a customer success perspective. As with every modern business process, business enterprises have to invest in collecting feedback and data from clients. This information is critical in evaluating the efficacy of current business strategies and fashioning future policies to drive the business enterprise. The feedback and data can also be used to refine business perspectives, upgrade staff training processes, and generally inform every undercurrent that pulsates in the business enterprise. Customer success need not be a mantra that emanates from the ranks of corporate management; it should be used to define every aspect of the business enterprise every day of the week. Business operatives assigned to customer success functions should be passionate about serving customers, should have exact domain knowledge, have good listening skills, and must be relationship builders that excel in conflict resolution. These attributes can help the operatives to nurture and build customer success stories from day one of client engagement.