What is Customer Success: My Takeaways from a Customer Success Workshop
As a marketing strategist, my first thought when selected to go to a customer success workshop was “why me?” Why would I be chosen over a campaign manager at our organization? What would I get out of this that would expand my knowledge of digital marketing solutions? How would I be able to integrate my takeaways in my job role? To my surprise, my questions were answered within the first fifteen minutes of the two-day workshop.
While my job title doesn’t outright include “customer” or “client,” thinking big picture, the purpose of my role is to help clients reach their goals. Although I may not be a client’s main point of contact, my job entails client interactions, knowing what is important to my clients, planning and brainstorming with clients, and building relationships with our clients. For those of you about to stop reading as you think how your job role involves little to no client interactions, you might want to reconsider. Customer success fundamentals should be ingrained in all levels of an organization. After all, what is a business without successful client relationships? Keep reading to discover points that everyone across an organization should be aware of in terms of customer success.
Proactive Relationship Management
Before a client comes out and says how they’re feeling about a project, deliverable, or recent interaction, you usually have a good idea of what they’re thinking. That said, when that feeling we have isn’t positive, we sometimes have a tendency to prolong having that crucial conversation. Although seemingly daunting, this conversation could save your relationship, while putting it off could ruin it.
Regardless of your title, checking in with your clients, outside of formal reviews, is important. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Make sure you know where you stand with your clients and have an idea about the health of the relationship. Being proactive in this sense allows you to maintain, fix, and mend your client relationships.
There is a sweet spot for planning with your clients. Planning too far out leads to disengagement and lack of focus. So much tends to change so rapidly across industries these days that we don’t want to overlook those changes or plan too early on to account for these changes. We do, on the other hand, want to plan far enough out to ensure clients feel supported and know that we are striving towards their overarching goals. In several industries, a good rule of thumb is planning two years out.
In planning, you want to ensure that your suggestions and efforts are in support of what truly matters to your clients – what your clients find valuable. To do so, you should be checking in with your client regarding the deliverables and projects you are responsible for on a somewhat regular basis to ensure that the client hasn’t shifted their focus or changed their mind.
Additionally, in your planning efforts, you should always have the mindset of what services your client is currently utilizing and what else they could utilize that your organization offers to help them meet their goals going forward.
In many cases, a lot of people within your organization can be working on a client at any given time. While the “all hands on deck” approach ensures that the best people with the most applicable knowledge and experience are working on the right projects, it has the potential to come off as discombobulated. When a client is being asked to review hundreds of different items from different people, or even worse, when they are asked the same thing twice by two different people, the experience can be frustrating.
Whether or not it directly affects your projects or role, having a sense of what else your team is working through with the client is important. Before giving your client a deadline to review a major deliverable, check in with your other team members to ensure that nothing else takes precedence over your project.
At the end of the day, everyone across your organization should be working to support client success. Thus, it only makes sense to ensure that everyone across the organization has a client success foundation to work with. Whether or not you are in a client-facing role, knowing what your client needs, their ultimate goals, and how to maintain healthy client relationships is important to the success of your organization!