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Customer Success: Model + Metrics + Manager = MAGIC

For many organizations, embracing the core concepts behind customer success will require something of an internal transformation. So much of your daily activities have been built around achieving your own outcomes, you may have neglected to stop and think about whether or not your customers are achieving theirs, too.


Luckily, that process also has a fairly straightforward “equation for success” that you can follow to get you where you need to be. By making sure that you have the right model, the right metrics and the right manager in place, you find yourself in a situation where the magic can’t help itself from happening.


The Model


In terms of true customer success, determining the right engagement model to meet your audience’s needs will ultimately come down to your organization on a base level. Your goal is to effectively engage with and manage your customers during their journey, post-sale, in an effort to guarantee that you’re delivering true value every day.


For some, this will mean high touch onboarding – where you assign resources to the prospect account based on the amount of revenue being driven in an effort to train and configure your solution through a very hands-on approach. For others, this will be low touch onboarding – where you build a tool for your customers designed to make sure that product tips, supporting documentation and other best practices are readily available.


But again, the most important factor to understand is that you’re picking the right model for the right customer at the right time. Beyond that, little else matters.


The Metrics


Knowing what to monitor to maintain superior visibility over the customer experience will also be one of the keys during this process. This means picking the right metrics to track the factors that are the most important to you. Without the right metrics, you won’t just know where you stand – you won’t know what to do to improve, how to troubleshoot or ultimately how to grow your business.


Customer onboarding costs are obviously essential metrics to watch, because this will help guide you towards allocating the right amount of resources to prospects. Customer retention costs are also essential, as it can help identify the most expensive areas of concern from the perspective of your product. Perhaps the most important in terms of customer success is ultimately the customer health score, which monitors the completion of certain goal-oriented objectives associated with customer success.


Are your customers achieving their desired outcomes and does their level of engagement reflect that? Your internal customer health score should reflect that and if it doesn’t, it should motivate you to take action.


The Manager


When you’re talking about a process with as many moving parts as this one, another pillar of success will come down to your customer success manger. They’re the person making sure that you’re staying engaged with the entire customer life cycle. They’re the voice of the customer to your organization – the loyal advocate addressing concerns and providing feedback. They’re the people who work with multiple divisions of a company to make sure that nothing exists in a silo and who has executive visibility over the well-being of a customer base.


The Magic


When all of these elements come together, they form something much more powerful than any one of them could be on their own. What you’re left with is a situation not just where the success of your customer is built into the very DNA of your company, but also a mutually beneficial situation for everyone involved.


Every aspect of your organization is aligned towards the goal of helping your customers guarantee their desired outcomes – in other words, to be as successful as possible. That in turn feed back into the business itself, allowing happy customers to become brand advocates and repeat customers and beyond. You have fewer at-risk customers because you’ve built an entire model around proactively identifying them.


But more than anything, you’ve gone out of your way to make sure that every interaction a customer has with your company – be it by talking to a representative or by using your product – is as powerful as it can be. The importance of this is something that you just cannot put a price on.

Stefani Butler

I am the founder and managing director at the plat4m group, a global IT, Communications and Change Management firm. My team is passionate about helping businesses, educators and non-profits navigate through the often difficult changes involved with organizational and technological transformations. You can follow me on Twitter at @ButlerStefani and @theplat4mgroup, and on each of those respective Facebook pages.

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