In this interview, Brett Andersen, Director of Client Success at Degreed, shares the dynamic role of CS and provides clear-cut strategies to structure growth and to manage expectations and opportunities across the entire organization.
"The best way to get our customers loyal to our brand is for us to be loyal to the promises that we make to our customers. That transpires if we’re 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 follower or by staying immersed in yesterday’s dilemmas. Today’s market 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 the customer’s experience and how organizations are delivering on their brand promises throughout the customer’s journey.
Brett pointed out that, in SaaS businesses, success is defined by a twin advantage – two types of outcomes that are interdependent.
Today’s market environment has altered the definition of what it takes to be successful.
At the end of the day, the success of your customers is the success of your business. Whatever the interactions the customer has with the business, they are expecting the utmost value they can receive and put in use.
While the product (or technology platform) helps the companies to innovate (or modernize their existing growth programs), in return, business impacts and competencies grow. This happens when the relationships (b/n the customer and the organization) are well established and celebrated
Knowing what the customers want and the reasons why they buy our product/service are the guiding charters of continuing and long-term relationships.
Similarly, in growing and sustaining customer relationships, companies must reconsider everything that touches the customer’s journey — and create experiences that go beyond the traditional approach.
Advocacy: A Commitment to Serve and to Be Served. In order to create customer advocates, the focus on customers has to exist throughout our organization. The question is no longer who or which department owns it. Remember, the customer’s journey is not a single event but a continuous interaction whether it happens right in front of the business (online) or behind the business (offline).
Brett suggested, “If 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 group?”
Client Advocacy Program Manager has the following responsibilities:
On the contrary - if the customer doesn’t engage and grow their footprint with our SaaS offering then business opportunities were lost to the competitors. Hence, customer advocacy becomes the pillars of your brand and success.
Remember, advocacy is not just promoting customer’s vision but translating that vision to a growth formula.
If the business is not yet ready for this new role (i.e. 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 your Marketing team to capture and publish those stories.
Advocacy is not just promoting customer’s vision but translating that vision into a growth formula. Few things to consider before (or when) asking feedback to the customers.
Embracing Change and Balancing Growth Mindset. The most consistent challenge I have seen in a few different organizations is how to be okay with choosing what not to do. It's important to figure out and be 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 important things and fail to finish what they have started.
The key is to stay focus on the clients’ needs, making sure that those vital few projects and goals are clearly communicated across the team and empowering them to say no if they are not part of those vital few.
I asked Brett, how he builds or structures his team differently. He told me that there are 5 different roles functioning in his Client Experience organization. Those are.
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.
In order for our customers to get successful, we must:
Growth Mindsets and Skill Sets: Greater Purpose and Relevance. The growth of the company is largely 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 central to learning mindsets or skillsets. CSMs draw connections between the content of their work, their values, identity, and long-term goals.
Embrace common measures of learning mindsets or skill sets related for formative and diagnostic purposes, and adopt learning mindsets in high-stakes accountability systems
Here are the different learning models for developing growth mindsets and skillsets.