With the current business landscape, having a meaningful and trusted relationship requires significant time and effort to invest. Competitors or not, SaaS organizations today strive for the same goal: achieving or delivering the success that their customers want most.
Of course, the one who will stand out is the company that gives the most impact and ease of doing business. Is it fair to say that meeting / delivering the desired customer outcomes is the only way to prove the (1) value of the relationship, or (2) is there a better way?
I spoke with Josh Zamora, Director of Customer Success at ServiceNow, to share his thoughts on the impact of this pandemic [in relationship building] and how CS should play its part while adapting to these changes?
What makes the CS role unique?
When I think about the role of CS (particularly during this pandemic), it is not just about why they encourage (or drive) customers to start using the product, but on what they do (every day) for the customers to continue or find value in using the service/solution’s value.
Our focus has always been on creating and delivering significant business value and measurable outcomes, with or without economic constraints. The role of CS has evolved if not matured during this time (pandemic).
It is necessary to determine how the solution will ensure success and how customers can achieve it. The pandemic accelerated the shifts toward the self-service model.
CS can help develop different ways to achieving business outcomes. First, we need to know how this pandemic affects their (customers) business? Next, how can they resolve some of the immediate concerns they have? Last, what do they need from us to succeed? Also, how we communicate the value of our solution must be outcome-focused and value-driven.
From “how can we help you succeed” to “by implementing X, we will improve Y and Z.” We should always ensure that achieving or delivering success must be a priority and top of mind.
Commitment and uplifting service
Customer success always links with performance and business results. For without which, how would we know if customers are meeting their desired goals or objectives?
If you break down CS into simpler words, it means commitment and uplifting service. It goes to what the business wants to accomplish, strive to achieve, and commit to delivering. It is not just strategy for the sake of having a business strategy.
In essence, CS takes the form of business philosophy. It embodies the business principle of what they believe [in]. Without it, it will be hard to keep everyone in line with what they should do.
Not only that, but it is also a combination of art and science (the next paragraph explains why). I firmly believe that if we do the right thing (providing excellent support to our employees and customers), we can build high-performing teams that understand what they need to do to deliver the success they believe in and do so consistently.
Is CS is enough for businesses to thrive?
Whether or not we have a formal CS department is less important than having a CS concept in place for our business. Why? Because CS is not limited to a department or function.
Put another way - the concept is not as important as the department itself without the right perspectives weaved together. Other teams like sales, support, or similar customer-facing roles, can also practice what CS does.
Some organizations may or may not need a formal CS role/function. The most important is they have a clear understanding of customer needs and the challenges they are solving. Also, how the solution drives the success customers are looking to achieve.
As mentioned previously, CS is a combination of art and science. As an analogy, think of a car. It requires mechanics and dynamics to function properly. Mechanics (outcomes) are what business expects to achieve, while dynamics (service mindset) is the underlying principle that drives success.
CS is just as important as all the other teams within the organization. This team (CS) is part of the larger puzzle within the organization. It will not stand on its own. To deliver the success that customers expect, it needs the support of all the other teams.
If one lesson is instilled in us by this pandemic, having a healthy relationship is a critical foundation for having a sustainable and growing business. But it comes with greater responsibility and personal commitment from everyone in the organization.
This ends my first interview with Josh. Please stay tuned for Part 2. We will discuss some business pitfalls (and how to correct those) as they emerge.