In this interview, Jon Triggs, Head of Customer Success at Fluent Technology, talks about how CS has grown in alignment with sales, product, marketing, and engineering teams. This alignment involves strategic thinking, quantitative analysis, and a line of sight in improving the customer’s bottom line.
With the rise of subscription-based technology comes the Customer Success function. This business model, Jon notes, ensures that customers are successful not only in the work they do but how satisfied they were when using the solution/platform.
This shift from on-premise to a subscription-based model pushes SaaS businesses to be more proactive and laser-focused on customers changing needs, business challenges, and meeting their expectations.
In the transcending years, CS becomes a multi-faceted position that bridges all teams towards achieving a common goal. That is to deliver the success that customers aspire and expect in the organization. No wonder Customer Success is gaining momentum and trust among business executives, investors, and stakeholders.
When customers or prospects reach out to us, they already have this expectation of what they want in a product. We must do our best to showcase the differentiated capabilities of our software/solution. Why? Because customers are already halfway through their buying process.
There is only a small chance to change or sway their decision, and it is about addressing their remaining questions (or reservations) if we are the most reliable business partner that can help solve their pressing business needs/challenges.
We must be confident in ourselves, Jon asserts. Customers should see us as an expert in our space. For us to sell our product or allow customers to realize the value of the partnership, we must listen and recognize their needs and embrace their objections.
When we obtain any critical information from potential or existing customers, we can make strategic action and decisions to improve our brand focus based on the stated requirements, needs, and desired outcomes/success.
CS is not just about providing support or upselling the service. It is always about proving, establishing, and promoting the value of the relationship (and why the solution is necessary and a great fit). Keeping customers will not help in achieving mutual success if our product/solution won't meet or satisfy their needs.
The key to a successful relationship
Organizations should (1) prioritize customer success, (2) continuously provide value and deliver the success customers expect, (3) help them achieve their business growth, (4) invest in their success; however, they define it.
With various shareholders involved, finding a balance between the desired outcomes of each user is critical (this is to prevent misalignment).
To ensure that organizations are not going to miss any changes within the customer organization, they should always involve other internal and external stakeholders when making strategic decisions. It helps straighten out business commitments and achieve both long-term successes (customer and organization).
One of the challenges in the organization, Jon observes, is that some internal teams do not see each other eye to eye. It can lead to confusion and a lack of direction (which issues need to be solved first).
It does not mean we have to beat the Product or Engineering teams to come up with some features that our customers want. Instead, we must relay the feedback we have taken from customers and be transparent about how valuable it is for them.
Having a customer perspective that blends in and supports the overall strategic goals and business objectives; gives us a better understanding of what we need to do next. Aside from the evolution of how technology is being sold and utilized, customer feedback helps the organizations to effectively manage their expectations and grow their relationship the right way.
Remember, when you make changes based on customer suggestions and recommendations, you empower other customers to share their own opinions and sentiments. Achieving success is not just having a good strategy in place. But seeing mutual success through the eyes of your customers and applying what you have learned in every interaction.
If you are looking for new ideas about how you can transform your CS organizations into a brand that customers think is right and appropriate for them, my third book on CS will talk more about it. I will share new concepts on how this can be done. This book will be available before the end of the year (2020).