Companies today aren’t in the business of selling solutions. They sell a level of service based on the results and outcomes they deliver and provide, and how intuitive their brand experience is. Understanding how all of these work in forging good and healthy relationships is critically important to meet and surpass customer’s needs.
In this interview, Daniel Goldfeld, VP Customer Success at Perimeter 81 talks about why it is necessary to build proactive strategies that are measurable, well-understood and meaningfully aligned with customer’s goals.
Background and Career
Goldfeld has worked in various high tech companies for the last 10 years. He worked in both enterprises and start-ups. Coming from a highly technical role focused on product design, Goldfeld says, “I strive to understand our customers’ hustle as this understanding allows us to find a fit and generate long-term value”.
He points out, "That's the reason why I decided to move to a customer-facing role because I want to bridge the gap between the technical departments that think in a very ‘programming-oriented’ way and the not-always tech-savvy customers that are just interested in finding a company that understands their business pains and can tailor a solution.
In my experience, in both technical and customer-facing roles, I’ve learned that by being able to bridge the gap between ‘this is how they should use it’ and ‘this is what we want to achieve’, a company can quickly demonstrate the business value to technical and non-technical stakeholders."
Remember, in today's business world where more and more companies migrating to SaaS solutions and getting into the Cloud "having innovative technology and great features is not enough".
Competitors are rapidly growing in numbers, and even if you're a market leader in your space, you will still find yourself battling for customer attention and business since the new players in the market are fighting for the same market share as you are and can, at some point, become more agile and quick.
As competition becomes tougher and more challenging, our competitive edge is becoming more and more focused on providing an exceptional overall customer experience rather than new shiny features. This requires being fully in sync with Sales, Product, R&D, Support, Customer Success and, of course, our customers, in order to provide multi-faceted ways to engage every customer and ensure that they feel that their pains, needs, and technical issues are not being overlooked or disregarded by the company.
The role of CS
Customer success is responsible, Goldfeld notes, for orchestrating this “sync” and generating the value realization for our customers’ stakeholders by (1) demonstrating that the product features and product innovations are addressing their business pain points (2) aligning the solution with their specific use cases, business requirements and educating customers about the breadth and depth of our product (3) delivering a differentiated user experience, not just with customers but the people we interact and work with inside the organization (4) act as liaison, moderator and establish a nurturance and product adoption plans.
Without this business process interplay in the overall business goals, success is unlikely to be achieved. Helping your customers achieve their financial success while securing personal wins will help you position your company for future success.
If you look at a classic SaaS model, the whole customer journey or customer's life cycle has been mapped and thought out well. It only goes to say that the relationship and the customer experience with the brand, product, and team is a crucial part of a successful journey and as it is a continuous journey, this benchmark has to be maintained and kept throughout the entire life-cycle. Hence, to preserve this benchmark, that historically used to decline after a successful sale, the benchmark has to be set early-on and preferably when the customer starts engaging with our platform.
This benchmark has to be kept at the same level after the sale, or in other words, the CS should be positioned both as a pre-sale and a post-sale function.
Forging lasting relationship
In any kind of relationship, communication, trust, and commitment matters. Understanding what the customers want and the success they're looking to achieve is the very first thing an organization needs to know and take into account.
Other companies thought that CS is the company's success. In other words, CS is measured by the ARR expansion of their accounts which brings them to aggressively pushing for up-sales even if the existing solution is not fully implemented or adopted.
This is wrong, Goldfeld, points out. CS should not focus on generating additional income for the company but rather on having the customers realize that they’ve made a good investment and get a significant return. By achieving this realization, the customer will drive the expansion which will be a mutual success for both the company and the customer.
Needless to say, an organization needs to understand that achieving mutual success is a company-wide effort, not just a single team effort.
Organizations must realize that the only way to deliver and provide value is to understand customer's priorities, timelines, success metrics, and specific desired outcomes. Remember, everyone is using a different method or system to measure customer goals. If an organization can build proactive strategies that are measurable, well-understood and meaningfully aligned with customer’s goals, they will be able to quickly provide value, drive significant expansion, and reduce churn.