Authored by Beth Skierski, Customer Success & Pilot Program Leader at Current
Beth Skierski is an Executive for the Customer Success & Pilot Program at Current. This article was originally posted on LinkedIn on Oct. 16, 2018. You can connect with Beth on LinkedIn and see her original post here.
There is a café in my neighborhood that I used to go to almost every day. It is all-vegetarian (a plus for me), boasts lots of local ingredients, and serves great coffee. It has a relaxed feel that I found to be a nice change of pace; I used to do work there from time to time, especially when thinking through something strategic or creative. But the employees were never very friendly to me. It has a kind of “cool” vibe, and I always felt like my corporate attire made me stick out like a sore thumb. I would notice them chatting with other customers, and when I tried to engage in similar dialogue, it was not reciprocated. I felt awkward, and I didn’t enjoy going there as much as I used to. So, I started going down the street to another café (this time all vegan!), where the food is just as good, but the experience is better. I’m getting to know the staff, and they even remember my order. Success!
At Current, we have been thinking a lot about these different customer experiences. As we start selling software solutions, we need to ensure that we not only help our customers on day one, but also provide value and a positive experience over time. What we need is a focus on Customer Success.
Customer Success is a growing function that is important for any company with recurring revenue. Any software company focuses initially on proving the value of their products, but soon after needs to ensure customers feel that value on an ongoing basis. Lots of companies (like my original café) lose customers without ever seeing it coming. What are we doing to prevent churn?
Here are a few of our reflections at Current, as we build out our Customer Success function:
- Customer Success requires focus. As with any complex effort, a dedicated team yields better results. We need people focused on acquiring new customers, but we need separate, dedicated people focused on retaining and growing our base.
- Strong Customer Success is about both the customer experience and customer outcomes. I liked the food and coffee (the outcomes) at my old café, but the experience was sub-par, so I sought out an alternative.
- How do we know that customers feel ongoing value? We can track product usage, define and measure clear success criteria, and get specific about how we interact with customers. We must be both proactive and honest about measuring the health of our customers.
- Ensuring our customers value our solutions starts with a great product but relies on many factors. Do we have effective training? Are we helping organizations adopt a new process? What is the experience when issues arise? Many functions need to be involved to deliver the best outcomes and customer experience.
- Customer Success must be an organizational mindset shift. Building a new function is a huge undertaking and having organizational buy-in to the vision is critical.
The goal is for everyone in our organization to obsess about providing ongoing value and a positive experience for our customers. We at Current want to provide solutions that customers find so valuable they never stop using them. There is a lot we have done to realize this vision, and a lot more we are excited to do. I am glad I finally found a favorite café that cares about these themes, too. What actions or approaches have you observed that bring Customer Success to life?
Learn more about how Current is helping customers achieve their goals by reading our customer success stories.