Some years ago I would have identified Customer Success for Zapiens with fast and efficient support team, where our users would recommend us and our clients would be happy with our product. I now know that perhaps I was mistaken, A Customer Success strategy compiles much more.
My aim here is to share what my understanding of Customer Success is, as occasionally it’s understood along with other standard concepts, such as Support, Satisfaction and Experience. These are in fact key elements to its success, but even when working together, they are still unable to cover its scope entirely.
I joined Zapiens at a time when we didn’t even have a name for our project. We were a small team, a bunch of passionate individuals who worked together in the garage of a house outside Oviedo, Asturias. When we began working with our first clients, I would just manage all our helpdesk support related activities through my work email. Though we were able to offer a quality service, we rapidly realised our method had its limitations..
The number of clients has increased since, and so has our support team. This also posed a new challenge for us as we implemented a new tool to manage incidents through which we deal with different types of requests and problems submitted by our clients and users.
As a result, this allows us to take this relationship to a new level. The quality of our support can now be measured through our SLAs. Our support includes different report resolution times, our agreement with customers and our commitment to a first-class support.
Another factor we include when assessing the health of our customers is throught the user experience. The first time I read about NPS (Net Promoter Score) was in a post by Javier Megias titled: “Customer Experience; when satisfaction is not enough”. Megias explains that NPS is a metric based on the answer to one simple question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, would you recommend our brand to a member of your family, work colleague or close friend?”. The score obtained allows a company to quantify the number of users that recommend their product.
We included this question in our surveys as a satisfaction indicator. However, I observed that a couple of problems derived from this. On one hand, to effectively measure satisfaction there has to be a plan and objectives, its progress needs to be followed over time. UX is a measurement that we need to focus on separately. We decided to provide our users with a well planned and long term NPS survey; this allows us to monitor how the relationship between our product and clients evolves. In addition to this, our clients take part in our CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score). So, all in all, we can take actions based on objective data.
So, how do I personally understand Customer Success? I like the definition given by Lincoln Murphy, because, as he puts it, it’s a simple concept. “Customer Success is when your customer achieves their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company.” Murphy explains that the Desired Outcome is what the client wants and how they want to achieve that. Interactions (the relationship with the client) are even more important than just the use of the product, despite this being their main interaction.
Customer Success can be organised through what is known as Customer Success Management: the process of guiding the customers to the Desired Outcome, which, inevitably, is constantly evolving. Briefly summarised here, this process includes a few of key touchpoint we need to bear in mind when we start the customer journey with them:
- Customer segmentation.
- Manage customer expectations as a number one priority.
- Set out customer-company responsibilities jointly.
- Widen implementation and promote our product.
- Interactions must be proactive and programmed based on pre established segmentation.
- Measure how both the clients and the company are evolving.
- Expansion and opportunities for renewal must align with client objectives.
- Communication as a key factor.
- Instrumentation, which means the process of collecting data on the customer’s interactions with the company, across their lifecycle.
- Analyse data insights and take actions based upon them.
I find myself on a continuous journey of learning about what Customer Success is and how to manage it, as I delve deeper into its process. Customer Success can’t be reduced simply to concepts such as Support, Experience and Satisfaction. However, these are essential elements to its success, and therefore, must be ours as well.