Distilling a Client’s Need for Success
In my late 20s, I had an opportunity to enter the customer-facing side of Software as a Service (SaaS). I began my career working as a Customer Success Manager for an educational software company in the Denver Tech Center. I interacted with clients on a daily basis, whether it was answering how-to’s, troubleshooting systems problems, or consulting with them on best practices. Couple that with my foray into product development, training, and implementation, I became an expert in my field. Or so I thought.
While I was busy learning different approaches for handling customer scenarios, technology, and working across different departments, I didn’t stop to really think about why I was doing all of this. I knew I wanted to absorb as much as I could to be a stronger employee, demonstrate my value, and get the proverbial pat on my back. But it wasn’t until after I left that company I realized, the reason for doing what I did. Simply put, it was the success of our customers and their experience.
We often take for granted the impact our clients have. They represent a variable that we sell to and support but what is that really? If you think about it, “Customer Experience” is really the interaction a customer has with your organization, over the lifetime of your partnership. So we have to ask ourselves, what do we want that to look like?
As a business, it’s our responsibility to understand the customer journey and the touchpoints we have along the way. In doing so, we identify needs, implement strategies, and speak with clients to ensure their success. From a business standpoint it makes sense. After all, this serves as a key input to drive the strategy for a company regarding performance, product, and consumer loyalty.
But take this a step further and you have a material opportunity to positively impact the business operations of a client, especially when done effectively. You help drive customer loyalty, highlight your company’s success, and create a positive experience for a client that could be your greatest advocate.
We often hear buzz words relating to consumer loyalty and customer satisfaction. However, Avaya and BT research conducted a study in 2013 that revealed 44% of customers believed loyalty was a relic of the past. Why? They felt they had a number of alternatives to choose from and didn’t see the added value. If your clients can’t tell you apart from the competition then you have to wonder, what can we do to improve?
One way to do so is by creating a customer experience that identifies and capitalizes on the areas that make you better and unique from the rest of the landscape. To do this, you need a pulse on what your clients are saying, so that their feedback becomes actionable, along with their success.
I’ve worked with well-known, reputable, and large universities that helped drive product roadmaps because of my willingness to dig deeper into their business operations and their openness in going through it with me. In turn, they became some of the biggest product advocates and referrals we had.
I also read a study that The Harvard Business Review conducted on quantifying the value of “Customer Experience”. Using customer feedback and potential customer spending as metrics to identify trends, they found customers with the best customer experience spent 140% more than those that didn’t.
So what does that say about the landscape of customer success and experience? For us at Sensera, it means we’re changing the culture of that conversation and investing a great deal into the people that will drive that. Not just from our team but our customers, who at the end of the day, represent a great opportunity and privilege to foster a strong partnership and experience.
Customer Experience Manager