The single biggest impediment to retention is by far role clarity.
I often see companies tripping over themselves trying to service customers when they are not clear about who does what to support customers through the journey.
Even companies with the strongest onboarding, implementation and ongoing adoption methodologies suffer from role confusion and inefficient, frenetic activity.
The ability of an organization to effectively resource accounts and communicate amongst itself in order to provide customers with a seamless experience is key for retention.
It is also a competitive differentiator.
Clarity and alignment of role responsibilities to customer needs through an effective account coverage model allows companies to proactively anticipate customer requirements, understand the appropriate skill sets required to service those needs and then resource accordingly.
It also allows for clear, well defined, hand-off, communication and account knowledge transfer processes to be established for efficient and scalable account management.
Why Aren’t Companies Clear About Role Responsibility?
I have seen well intentioned companies lay out the best plans to drive adoption, loyalty and expansion only to be flummoxed by operating in the most frenzied manner.
There is the “Rugby Scrum” model of account management; resources are all-in on customer issues with too many people jumping reactively onto an account to resolve the issue as fast as possible without pausing to organize themselves to communicate clearly, avoid duplication of internal effort and effectively address the issue.
Or the “Crickets Chirping” model; where no one is servicing the account as long as there is no emergency and the customer is left wondering how to have their simple inquiries responded to so they can be on their merry way to adoption utopia.
The feast or famine approaches not only leave customers confused or frustrated about who can help them, but sadly, the organization itself is also experiencing wasted effort by resources trying to resolve issues in duplicate, figure out who can help resolve customer issues, or waiting in vain for colleagues who they believe are responsible for certain activities to do so.
The problem stems from a lack of understanding of what the customer needs to be successful in the first place.
The good news is that with some role clarity and a healthy habit of effective communication (both face to face and via systems that track account knowledge and health) this can all be avoided.
The solution is pretty straightforward.
A clear understanding of what the customer needs to be successful is the first step.
This can be accomplished by mapping out the customer journey and then determining the how to align the customer’s needs with the appropriate resources that have those skillsets.
The second step is setting the organization up for successful execution by putting in place the management controls required to track customers through the journey and ensuring that the correct resources are doing what they are supposed to be doing at the relevant times.
With tools in place that allow everyone to know what customers need when, and who is best skilled to service those needs, resources can rely on each other to collectively manage accounts.
The Steps to Achieve Role Clarity
Understand the customer journey to know what help customers need along the way.
Identify the skills sets required to support the journey and determine which resources have that expertise.
Align those relevant resources along the customer journey and define the corresponding hand-offs, account knowledge transfer and communication processes.
Ensure everyone in the organization understands the customer journey, that they are clear about their responsibilities along it and how they interact with their colleagues accordingly.
Make this as seamless to the customer as possible.