How many times has this scenario played out?
Your firm invests considerable time and resources into selecting and deploying a new technology solution that has considerable potential to improve your organization, only to have your users quickly abandon it or ignore it all together. Far too often, this is the case when firms invest in new software for their organization. The fact that this occurs so often has left many technology users and their buyers with a cynical perspective on making technology investments.
Of course, the above scenario is not unavoidable. In fact, there are many things that can be done by both the firm and the vendor in order to increase user engagement and adoption across the organization. One of those things is to hire a vendor that understands what customer success is all about and maintains a central focus on the customer. What’s the difference between customer success and customer service? It’s not just a matter of semantics. Customer success contrasts customer support in its approach being proactive, rather than reactive. Most frequently practiced by SaaS companies, customer success is a role within the organization that is responsible for understanding a client's needs and works directly with them to achieve the goals that were set as part of their technology purchase. People often confuse, think they are the same, or do not understand the difference between customer support and customer success. The role of customer support is critical to address the immediate needs of clients, address questions, troubleshoot and solve problems as they come up. The best vendors have both customer success and customer support teams in place. This is the ultimate customer experience, as both immediate and strategic needs are addressed on an ongoing basis. The very nature of customer success positions the customer for better user engagement as a client's needs and goals are top of mind from the beginning of the relationship and continually revisited to make sure that they are being achieved.
Here are a few reasons why Customer Success helps to drive user engagement:
#1: Go-to resource that goes beyond product expertise.
Customer success team members are not just product experts; their knowledge goes well beyond the technology to serve the customers' needs - whatever they may be. Not only are customer success team members plugged into all facets of the vendor organization - from product development to billing, they are also continually studying trends and developing a deep understanding of the industry in order to best connect the product to the needs of the customer. With this strong understanding of both the industry and the customer, the customer success team is best positioned to serve the customer at the highest level, therefore maximizing engagement.
#2: Single point of contact from implementation through renewal.
To have success with a product or service means that roadblocks can be easily anticipated and overcome in order for goals to be met. The customer support model is simply not built to do these things. It is intended to troubleshoot issues as they arise on a one-off basis. Customer success is instead built as an ongoing partnership that starts at client onboarding and extends through renewal and is based on the mutual interest of achieving the goals set by the client upon purchasing the technology. With this model, it is much more realistic to maximize engagement.
#3: Custom experience based on your needs and goals.
There is no “one size fits all” approach to success or engagement. The advantage to working with a customer success team is that you will have access to ongoing support from one or more individuals that understand your organization and its needs and challenges and can provide strategic advice based on that knowledge. This helps enhance your ability to drive engagement since you are able to work with the team to create a success plan unique to your firm.
#4: Success built into the culture.
Customer success is as much a mindset as it is a function within the organization. Organizations that have true customer success teams in place are closely aligned with the needs of the customer and how they can best work to meet them. When customer needs are met and adequately addressed, engagement follows. The sum of these factors is better engagement between your users and the technology that you’ve invested in. Therefore, it is important to choose a vendor that has a customer success team in place and has demonstrated success in working with its customers to drive engagement. Have you experienced an increase in engagement while working with a customer success team? Share your experience in the comments section below.