4 Best Practices for Superior Customer Success Management

Ask yourself this question. Who would you say is the most important person for your company’s success? The CEO? Wrong! The customer? Well, yes surely. But how about thinking beyond the customer –how about delighting the customer’s customer – the end consumer? If your business loses track of this chain, well….let’s just say, you are not in the right path of a services industry. Today, you not only have to align yourself with your customer’s goals but also go further and delight your customers’ end customers.

This is why it’s crucial to deploy customer engagement and relationship management strategies to ensure that customers realize the true value of their investments. This helps reduce churn, boost revenues and influence new sales while improving productivity and delivering tangible outcomes.

So how do you know if your company is providing customers with a delightful experience to keep them happy and hungry for more?

Here are 4 ways to build effective customer success management (CSM) programs:

1. Identify the right customer engagement approach

Brands that are committed to customer success truly believe their customers come first. They see the world and their business through the eyes of their customers. They ensure that their organization’s business culture is aligned with their customer’s needs to identify opportunities and produce high-quality products.

The absolute first place to start is to identify how success is measured by your customer and what is important to their end customer. Then maniacally focus on making sure your company takes all the necessary actions to achieve this goal. Remember to keep in mind that your CSM strategy will depend on the nature of your customers’ issues the value it brings to your organization for end consumer’s, and the costs associated with delivering CSM services. Knowing this, you can rank your customers and decide where to target your CSM efforts to gain maximum results.

2. Deliver long-standing customer delight

While it’s laudable for enterprises to aim for a CSM culture, the process gets more efficient and easier when all employees buy-into it. Along with establishing strong customer relationships, an organization needs to be well supported from the management perspective in order to understand customer business requirements. The key is to analyze and target end-users’ interests to consistently deliver great service and gain end-consumer loyalty.

Organizations that treat customers well tend to succeed! It’s not just about transactions, making high performance sales, or exceeding expectations, but also about building in-depth relationships …and being passionate about it. This attitude helps customers build trust in a brand, resulting in better customer response, partnerships, ROI, and business engagement.

3. Establish long-term commitment

An organization may have the best CSM team in place, but if customer retention is not part of the planned strategy, then it’s time to re-structure the approach. Let’s say a customer, Mr. X, is treated with the best possible service prior to sale and promptly forgotten after the sale. This reflects poorly on the organization. Focusing on the big picture is therefore critical. Not only that Mr. X has to be taken care off but customers of Mr. X have also to be taken care off and that’s when Mr. X can be even more successful. The most successful companies regularly rejuvenate their teams with training in managing not just the relationships with their customers but end-consumers as well.. This helps team members network and develop long-lasting relationships with their target audience.

4. Focus on the customer success through continuous engagement

Get involved with the entire life cycle of the customer, from the time you first sign them up until you continuously transform their business. Customer delight is the only parameter in this world which does not have an upper limit to measure and delight. Work to develop best practices, efficient processes and strategic blueprints that define success, so your trail of customers can fully utilize your products or services. Keep in mind, customers want to talk, express and enquire about anything and everything that a brand/product has to offer. What do they expect? A quick response from businesses through a channel of their choice!

Create a portal or a platform for your customers to interact with your company. A good customer success manager will encourage networking and interaction between customers, and will collaborate with the marketing teams to run customer focused events. A strong online social media presence is also a must to interact with today’s digitally savvy end-consumer. Keeping them updated with the latest trends, market sales, brand differentiators and business events promotes brand uniqueness and eventually gains higher customer response and loyalty.

In summary, delighting the customer is now a norm and is taken for granted.

So ask yourself how you can delight your customer’s customer? How to impact both stake holders in the process?

Right Engagement – The KEY to right results

Everybody has been talking about employee engagement, and it’s often sad to see people all balled up between employee engagement, employee satisfaction and happy employees, thought this would be a good space to beat the drum, Okay here is what I heard from a highly satisfied employee “I’m satisfied and happy & I do what is asked of me”. The perennial problem is, satisfaction doesn’t really raise the bar high enough, and the very key word that we all should be pondering is how to create a committed and highly engaged work force.

Almost any organizations leader’s dream would be to maximize the productivity and profitability of their employees. On the other side employees seek satisfaction from their work if both can be achieved concurrently there is a true Win-Win! However there is no standard mechanism by which this can be achieved.

Employee engagement programs like other things: we get out of it based on what is put into it. If organizational leaders expect instant results from such programs, then they are pursuing a flavor of the month. True change requires long-term commitment to the effort.

A Dale Carnegie® White Paper provided evidence that the more people perceived promotional opportunities, the more they felt that the organization implements procedures in a just and fair way, and the more people perceived an open communication environment, the more organization support they received. Gallup’s Employee Engagement Dashboard lists 4 ‘broad enablers/drivers’ which are critical to gaining employee engagement:
1. Revolutionize Leadership
2. Engaging people managers
3. Employee voice
4. Integrity

Okay let us explore each one of the above, first and foremost key employee engagement driver is the actions of senior leader, Employees need to understand not only the purpose of the organization they work for but also how their individual role contributes to that vision, unless until he knows where he fits in the big picture the LOST/disengaged feeling crops up. At American Express, “Floor Walks” by senior leaders is a practice to encourage open informal dialogue between senior leaders and frontline employees. During floor walks, leaders often participate in call listening and seek opportunities to publicly recognize employees for jobs well done.

Being in this profession for close to a decade I firmly agree that the old adage “employees join great organizations, but quit BAD BOSSES” most of the managers will argue that this is a hypothetical statement but indeed this is a factual statement. If we are able to transform and engage people managers we are close to success. However it’s very good to see that that the scenarios have changes tremendously where organizations are laying much emphasis on identify development needs of people managers in the area of people management and charting out plans to address the same. At Pitney Bowes ‘You’ve been Tagged’ is a weeklong celebration of their five core values, Managers and employees tag each other with the value that they demonstrate in their job.

Talking to a brick wall makes most of us go bananas, organizations should create platform where effective & empowered employees’ voice / views are sought out, listened to & make a difference. A strong sense of listening and responsiveness permeates the organization, enabled by effective communication. At Godrej Consumer Products through Voice-of-the-Employee programme management team members get in touch with every employee of the organization at least once a year. This process provides an opportunity to all employees to express their issues and concerns directly to the members of human resource management team.

I’m sure most of us would have listened to vision, mission… during our induction sessions and other posters that we see in our workplace, almost all the organizations have espoused vision, mission & values and also have their own set of behavioral norms, the size of the gap between the two reflects the degree of distrust within the organization; if the gap is closed, the outcome is high levels of trust among employees. At Phillips Software’s values are explained to employees through interactive and participative workshops that focuses on how these values are not optional but mandatory.

Great Place TO Work Research Institute ® based on their years of research summarizes that an engaged organization is one where there is mutual trust and respect among employees and where employees take pride in their work and the organization’s values.

To cap it all leaders will have to juggle frogs for raising and maintaining employee engagement and it requires a perfect blend of time, effort, commitment and investment to craft a successful endeavor.