My mom sent me and my sister this picture of my parent’s driveway on Valentine’s day.
My parents live on a dead-end street so someone had driven in and driven out to turn around and voila, two hearts.
One for each of us my mom thought.
The image made me smile for a couple of reasons.
My mom was thinking of us on Valentine’s day and sending her love.
It also made me smile because my mom notices the little things in life that make a huge difference and bring joy.
Whereas I may have likely noticed tire tracks in the snow, my mom saw hearts and used it as a Valentine’s greeting which my sister and I took great pleasure in.
Which got me to thinking about how that relates to Customer Success.
I’m an insanely huge proponent of customer centric organizations.
I learned through two decades of servicing customers and making many mistakes, that understanding the customer from their point of view is by far the most effective way of driving revenue for one’s own company as well as its customers.
The Power of Being Customer Centric
The two biggest “AHA” moments in my career are when I realized the power of being customer centric.
At Day Software (now Adobe Marketing Cloud) I saw how thinking from the customer’s perspective suddenly brought about significant internal alignment when we were discussing what the customer was trying to achieve and working together to help them achieve it (vs what our own department objectives deemed important to us).
Whereas before there were competing priorities between Professional Services and Development regarding the product roadmap, when we viewed it from the customer’s perspective a lot of debates simply started to fall by the wayside.
At Eloqua (now Oracle Marketing Cloud), the realization that we had mapped out a customer journey based on what we wanted the customer to achieve with the product rather than what they did and the reason they bought, was enormous.
By pushing our, albeit good intentioned, agenda on our customers we were actually causing churn as a result of not focusing on what value meant to them.
We would miss the mark with the mass majority who were not the early adopters, pushing them to try every function and feature to reach digital marketing nirvana, rather than simply focusing them on accomplishing their more modest yet still critically important goals.
We were thinking for the customer not like the customer.
These experiences fundamentally changed what I focus on when working with clients and how I structure business practices.
Business Alignment to the Customer
Alignment of business operations to the customer’s point of view is by far the most elegant way to drive revenue and scale a practice.
To achieve this, it starts with customer centric thinking.
Understanding the customer from their perspective.
Looking at what they are trying to accomplish, why they bought the product and how their organization operates to best facilitate delivering the value sold to them.
I use the customer journey map as the proxy to understand how customer centric my client’s thinking is.
The customer journey map is an effective means to demonstrate the customer’s point of view and start changing the employee’s perspective of what is important and how their work impacts the customer.
By looking at the customer’s typical journey of software adoption into their organization, a vendor can readily see the needs customers have at various stages of the journey and identify where in its processes they are meeting, or missing to support, those needs.
Understanding and thinking from the customer’s perspective is key to being a customer centric organization.
Customer centric business models outperform the competition in the marketplace hands down and are more efficient, scalable and sustainable.
Customer centric organizations also deliver greater value to their customers creating a win-win situation for both the customer and the vendor.
So from now on, experience the love of the win-win.
Start by mapping out your customer’s journey.
With the new perspective in mind, the rest starts to fall into place like tire tracks in the snow.