Mid December – that time of year when you might find yourself looking back at what has been achieved and what hasn’t, what went well, and what… didn’t. You’re probably also thinking about what could be coming in the new year. There are many lenses and metrics you could use to determine whether your year has been a success – your revenue, improved margin or an increase in market share. Maybe it’s more customers or your NPS. Or you might be looking internally as to whether you’ve improved your productivity, employee engagement, or the implementation of new ways of working and improved decision making.
All of these things are solid, important things to consider – nearly every organisation will be doing so to some degree. But what about a different lens – that of your customers’ success. Those two words – ‘customer’ and ‘success’ – can be interpreted in different ways. As a function, as a capability, as an outcome. But it’s been proven that taking the time to consider what customer success means for your organisation is an important step to take, and leads to increased clarity on how you focus your energy and resources to improve those that you seek to serve.
I’m reminded of a maxim from Seth Godin
Helping people get to where they seek to go is more effective than hustling people to persuade them to go where you’re going.
Switching the focus from what you seek to achieve, to helping other people achieve their goals is essentially going to get you to your goals. If your product or the service you provide truly helps people solve their problems, they’ll tell others about it, they’ll become loyal customers, and they’ll use your product or service more often.
This in turn leads to new customers, an increased retention of your existing customers, and the opportunity to upsell more of your proposition to them. Get customer success right – and which of those other metrics isn’t going to move in the right direction?
Understanding the maturity of your customer success capabilities is a quick way to identify where you are on your journey to deliver better outcomes for your customers. Below is a model we use that you may find helpful to assess where you are and what you might want to focus your efforts on.
Foundational – you have an agreed strategy for Customer Success that includes a long term vision, benefits and plan of action
Intentional – you’ve appointed a Customer Success Lead and you’re beginning to implement new ways of working, and have established customer segmentation and engagement models, you’re capturing the right data and your analysis is focused.
Integrated – Your Customer Success capabilities and capacity have evolved and results on key metrics are tracked and used to make decisions. Cross functional ways of working are established.
Optimised – Your operations are scaling up and automation is being used across multiple processes. Real time reporting and predictive modelling are in place, making you more agile and responsive. A Customer Success philosophy has been adopted across the organisation.
It may be worth considering where you are against those capabilities and how your organisation may benefit from developing them further.
One of the bonuses that we had at Mindyasa last year was partnering on a new Customer Success strategy with one of our clients. A double win – our customer was successful by making their customers more successful. We brought clarity across their organisation in terms of what they wanted to achieve through customer success, we created a shared vision and strategy that was bought into by their leadership team, and helped develop the capabilities they needed to bring that vision to life. As we look to 2024, customer success remains a focus for us – the benefits for our clients are clear, and the excitement we get from seeing them succeed is all the motivation we need to get back at it once the festivities abate.