Balaji Uppili, Chief Customer Success Officer
Driving customer success
More power to Customer Success! Earlier, the term customer satisfaction resonated heavily with enterprises of all sizes. But now it has been overpowered by customer success. Customer success has evolved dramatically over the years, transforming its need to more of a necessity. Secondary research confirms that 21% of companies consider customer success important hence, they invest time and money on the same. As a concept, customer success ensures that customers achieve their desired outcome. It is not only about retaining customers but also adding growth to the business through a conducive relationship focused on effective client management. Such a mutual relationship between a client and the vendor can be a win-win situation for both, thus driving customer success.
In an attempt to understand the value of customer success, we conversed with Balaji Uppili, Chief Customer Success Officer in GAVS Technologies. His 25 years of industry experience and expertise helped unlock a dynamic perspective on customer success.
Customer Success – the key basics!
He pointed out that customer success, although it may sound simple is way beyond just modest execution of individual expectations and aspirations. As a vendor, the primary concern is to focus on an individual or a group of individuals or even an organization to meet evolving expectations. He pointed out the challenge that most enterprises face in this environment is in identifying the precise aspiration or expectation – is it customer success or customer satisfaction? In most instances, it is misinterpreted as customer satisfaction, which is why there is a fine gap that enterprises strive to fulfill.
It is a myth that customer success is a simple delivery of a Statement of Work (SOW). Rather the reality is, delivering customer success will automatically ensure delivery of the SOW as it is a superset of identifying and fulfilling an expectation. It, however, cannot be perceived the other way around. The success mantra for a leader is to get the demarcation right between customer success and customer satisfaction.
The ‘What’ and ‘How’ of Challenges
The key aspect of customer success is not only ensuring the best return on investment but to understand the customer requirement in a precise manner. The requirement must be in sync with the profile and positioning of the customer – a key attribute to ensure customer success. This entire process is a challenging task as expectations keep evolving.
Balaji didn’t forget to mention that to a great extent customer success depends upon emotional quotient. Hence, the focus should be on ‘how’ to transform an emotion into something tangible that is measurable. This will enable the entire team to participate in the journey of success. He elaborated further that customer success is a cohesive success of the entire team rather than an outcome of an individual.
The measurement scale of customer success
First of all, Balaji acknowledged the importance of real-time information from the customer himself to understand if the delivery met expectations.
Secondly, he highlighted the point that understanding the behavior of individuals that can influence customer success.
In order to achieve customer success, one needs to add quantifiable measures and follow three basic steps. First, it is absolutely imperative to understand the facets of basic customer success, after which one needs to figure out tangible ways of attaining that success and lastly execute the same in an efficient manner. Such a cohesive approach to tend to customer expectations in all probability lead to attaining customer success. Balaji stressed on the fact that ‘customer success’ is the driving force and lifeline of GAVS’ existence. GAVS has a platform to enable and drive measurable outcomes and ensure critical governance to customer success. He further said, “We call our organization a customer-success organization instead of just being delivery-driven. We have achieved this transformation over the years with great grit and an evolving mindset”.
How unique is GAVS’ approach to Customer Success?
GAVS stands strong in its approach to delight customers. To build a strong ecosystem that drives customer success, GAVS has a customer success management platform, wherein the entire process is templatized. Every facet of customer success at GAVS, whether it is baselining, capturing, to measuring and delivering success, follows an in-house standardized template. Weaving its sub aspects together into a single string ensures effective customer success management.