In this interview, Brett Andersen, VP of Client Success at Degreed, talks about the dynamic role of CS and the importance of having clear cut strategies to structure growth, manage customer expectations and opportunities throughout the organization.
The best way to get our customers faithful to our brand is for us to be loyal to the promises that we make to our customers. That transpires if we are extremely clear on what our brand promises are throughout the entire customer life cycle.
Demonstrating integrity to your brand promise
In the subscription economy, no organization grows by being a spectator or a follower or by staying immersed in yesterday’s dilemmas. The changing business environment has altered the definition of what it takes to be successful.
It has become clear over the last several years that the foundation of competitive advantage is rooted in customer experience and how organizations are delivering on their brand promises throughout the customer journey.
Brett points out, in SaaS businesses, success consists of a twin advantage - two types of outcomes that are interrelated.
As the product (or technology platform) helps customers innovate (or modernize their existing growth programs), in turn, business impacts and capabilities grow. It happens when relationships (b / n the customer and the organization) are well established and celebrated.
Knowing what customers want and the reasons why they buy our product/service serve as the guiding charters of long-term and mutual relationships. Companies should also reconsider everything that touches the customer journey — and create experiences that go beyond the traditional approach.
Promoting customers vision
To create brand advocates, the focus on customers has to exist throughout the organization. The question is no longer who or which department owns it. Remember, the customer journey is not a single event but a continuous interaction.
Customers expect the utmost value they can receive and put into use, whether that interaction happens online or offline.
Brett suggested, since CSMs are so instrumental (to the success) in the post-sales relationship, why not set up a Client Advocacy Program Manager that sits within the CS and other core business groups?
Client Advocacy Program Manager has the following responsibilities:
Conversely - if the customer does not engage and grow their footprint with our SaaS offering, then business opportunities are lost to competitors. Therefore, customer advocacy has become the pillar of your brand and success.
Advocacy is not just promoting a customer vision but translating that vision to a growth formula.
If the business is not yet ready for this new role (Client Advocacy Program Manager), CSMs are the best obvious choice. They are already listening and proactively looking for wins and success stories and could partner with the Marketing team to capture and publish those stories.
Embracing change and balancing growth mindset
I have seen in a few different organizations that the most consistent challenge is how to be okay with choosing what not to do. It is necessary to figure out and deliberate about what are the few things that have an impact on the clients and focus on those things so well.
In start-up organizations, you have a lot of ambitious people who start doing a lot of things, and often in the process, they lose sight of the most vital things and fail to finish what they started.
The key is to stay focus on the client needs making sure that those vital few projects and goals are communicated across the team and empowering them to say no if they are not part of those [vital] few.
A new breed of Customer Success
Customer success is not just about ensuring customer satisfaction but also making sure that the long-term vision of our business and technology platform is well-aligned to the long-term success of our customers.
For our customers to be successful, we must:
Growth mindsets and skillsets: its purpose and relevance
The growth of the company is influenced by how effective and efficient your CSMs. Successful CSMs have a few common traits that help them get successful, which eventually helps in the growth of the company.
Organizations need to tell the difference between mindsets and skillsets.
In the same way, a sense of purpose is the essence of learning mindsets or skillsets. CSMs draw connections between the content of their work, their values, identity, and long-term goals.
Here are the different learning models for developing growth mindsets and skillsets.