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Back to the Fundamentals: 3 Pillars of a Customer-Centric Discipline

Last week I presented at CS in Focus’ first virtual event speaking about going “Back to the Fundamentals: Navigating Customer Success During a Global Pandemic”.

The presentation built off of an article that I wrote a few weeks earlier about what Customer Success will look like moving forward.

The fact is, the current and evolving market conditions have forced companies to pay particular attention to customer success in order to keep customers and to ensure that the churn rate is kept as low as possible.

In subscription-based businesses especially, how to prevent customer churn (the loss of customers) is a regular focus of business. If customers do not realize value and see a return on investment, they will leave.

The practice of Customer Success was created to address this very problem and so working out how to retain and grow customers is nothing new to the industry.

However, somewhere along the way with the speed of growth and the demands placed on Customer Success Managers (CSMs) to get things done, we strayed away from the fundamentals.

Luckily for customers and vendors that have long ago employed a customer focused strategy, the focus back on solid, customer success management means better customer experience, customer success and revenue growth.

3 Pillars of a Customer-Centric Discipline

Businesses that succeed in this new reality are ones that invest in, and operate with, the following mindset:

  1. They view customer management holistically. They use customer thinking to understand customers thoroughly and then align business accordingly from the customer’s total, business, point-of-view.

  2. They employ an intelligent approach. They align their organization to help customers achieve their business objectives and streamline operations to enable their teams to better spend their time as strategic partners with their customers.

  3. They are results-driven and measure their progress to growth. They demonstrate value and use data to prove it. Data informs a constant effort to optimize and improve customer-focused practices.

Holistic: Understand Your Customer

Create opportunity through your customer’s point of view. Customers selected your product or services specifically to achieve their business goal so know why they chose your product and help them be successful. Employ empathetic listening, understand what they are trying to achieve and come up with innovative and compassionate solutions to help them achieve their goals.

Intelligent: Drive Customer Outcomes

Understand the patterns of your most successful customers and align accordingly. Map out the successful customer journey - the desired path – to understand what the corresponding customer success playbook is that will support each stage of the journey. Figure out what roles need to do to support those customers and align expertise and the organization around the customer accordingly.

Results-Driven: Demonstrate Value

Measure progress to smarter, faster revenue growth. Ensure everyone is heading in the same direction to realized business outcomes. Align the company through customer key performance indicators (KPIs). Use data with customers to demonstrate tangible business value and benchmark customers against best practice and relevant peer groups. Use customer funnel metrics internally to be able to proactively respond to customer progress through the journey.

Customer Success Best Practices

With an intelligent, customer-centric framework in place an organization can then focus its efforts on executing customer success best practices.

A helpful reminder on the do’s and don’ts of customer success best practices when driving adoption, retention and expansion.

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