Aligning Customer Success Mindset to Meeting Business Goals by Orchestrating an Intentional Customer Journey

4 min read
21 Sep

In this interview, Doug Snow, VP of CS at Harris SmartWorks, talks about the importance of building a CS organization that meets the business objectives of the company and its customers.

Meeting the business's goals and its customers provide mutual value that helps achieve business growth (in Revenue and Earnings) and an enduring relationship for both organizations. It's interesting to look at this both from the buyer (customers) and the company or organization providing the solution (businesses).

The core value of a successful partnership

At the very core, Customer Success means that buyers are receiving the value in the solution (products and services) they have purchased. It means simple and obvious: the products and services that make up the solution are fully deployed and running [in production] in the shortest time possible. 

Customers purchase new capabilities and services to help them succeed in their business. With the implementation of a new software solution, the buyer can do things they could not do before. They can unleash new revenues, reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and improve their service offering, all of which drive to the bottom line. 

They are better today than they were before the deployment of the solution. The customers use the product in their business for the intended purpose and realize the initial part of the intended value. 

From a business point of view, when customers are successful with the product and the people they work with, it results in a positive correlation observed in measures like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Effort Scores (CES). But these are often referred to as vanity scores and are not core business outcomes. 

Consideration of each perspective

Ensuring customers are successful with your solutions leads to the most meaningful business outcomes in retaining recurring (Maintenance and Services) revenues and generating references and referrals for future business. 

So long as your customers are using and successful with the product, the business has access to recurring revenues that can form the basis for growth into the future. Another benefit is customers are willing to provide you some attestation to help you earn new business in the form of a referral or marketing case study. 

The business and customers benefit once the solution is up and running in the shortest time possible. The business goals are aligned, and both organizations are deriving value and have the opportunity to create an enduring relationship. 

Companies that retain customers over the long term have the chance to grow recurring revenues over time. Customer accretes and provides the company the growing income they can use [to continue] to support their needs and enable investment in developing new capabilities in the solution. These additional capabilities can benefit customers in the form of new solution usage scenarios or increased efficiencies.

Transforming customer journey

The very fact that you can grow your return from the customer base is the heart and soul of why customer success matters. If we do not have our clients using and deriving value from the system (in the first place), they will not renew. We will lose a stable recurring revenue stream from which we can grow, a reference, testimonial, and a chance of future business. 

A focus on customer success is a win-win both for business and customers. Customers are getting and deriving value from their relationship with us. As their business grows, so as our offerings grow. 

Working with Customer Success Managers, they use more of the product capabilities, and they can easily justify and quantify the return on their investment [in the solution]. They become more successful over time as they achieve their business outcomes with our services.

From a business point of view [providing the solution], there are five core business goals: 

  • Customers renew their subscription (SaaS, or maintenance recurring) contracts on a reliable and predictable basis
  • Are willing to speak positively about their experience with the vendor in reference, conference, case study, or other marketing attestation
  • Purchase additional products, services, and solutions from us
  • Expand and grow their use of the product (more features enabled) and use cases are enabled and exercised
  • They remain an enduring customer and recurring revenue stream

Meeting these five core business goals means making sure customers are successful with the solution you have provided to generate the desired outcomes when purchasing the solution.

To generate the business outcomes we plan and our (customers plan) to achieve, the Customer Success team must play a critical role in achieving this. We achieve that by ensuring [first and foremost], our customers are successful with the solution. Helping executives from the business and customers organization understand it from this perspective ensures alignment on the importance of Customer Success. 

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