There are key points of leverage in any customer journey. How can we elevate items from the routine to create memorable experiences that will differentiate us in the B2B Marketplace?

Market-leading companies develop and execute on strategies that are aligned to their customers expressed and unexpressed needs.  This is often captured in a Customer Journey Map.  While this tool is frequently used to prioritize operational improvement efforts, to deliver on the customer’s outcome, we must also consider the emotional narrative, and how we can create unforgettable moments that are vital to a differentiated Customer Experience.

 

A very helpful toolkit comes from the book the Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath.  In this book, they highlight four types of moments For our purposes today, we are going to focus on moments of “Elevation” which can take seemingly everyday moments and creating positive memories.  There are three main components to leverage:

 

Boost Sensory -There are opportunities to engage all five of our senses in different ways.  These can be face to face (someone’s handshake, cologne/perfume) when you meet them in person.  Customer Success professionals do a lot of work remotely, but using video in your customer touchpoints engages more senses, and allows you to receive and convey more emotion.

 

Raise Stakes – Let’s give these moments the importance they deserve.   It’s easy to tell when someone cares about what they’re doing.  Are they scrambling in at the last minute, or are they early to set up the room or online collaboration space?  Is there evidence of preparation?  Are all of the right people engaged?

 

Break Script – While there are tried and true practices, it’s important that you create a customized approach tailored to your customers and their journey.  Clearly, there is value in what others (including competitors) are doing, a deep understanding of the objectives your customers are trying to accomplish will let you break the “traditional” script to include memorable moments.

 

This simple framework can and should be applied to a B2B Customer Journey.  For our purposes here, I am going to focus on the first phase typically owned by a Customer Success team.  The names of these phases will vary, of course, based on your own Customer Journey(s), but we will focus on the Implement phase.  We will focus on specific “points of leverage.”  These are times that create an opportunity to create a positive Customer Experience.  However, this is not without risk, and if poorly executed, could be a step backward for the relationship.  By completing an episode analysis, you can identify the key emotions your Customers are going through.   Some typical ones are highlighted below

 

Implement – Depending on your solution, this can be as simple as issuing credentials, but frequently involves a Professional Services phase (i.e., configuration or implementation).  Nonetheless, this is a critical moment, as customers are feeling various emotions, notably:

 

Insecurity – Buyer Personas took a personal risk in choosing your solution.  Is this risk going to pay off?

 

Impatient – The buying cycle was a significant time investment for your customers.  They expect results and fast.  Every day in implementation is a day their teams are not receiving value.

 

Skeptical – User personas generally experience this emotion.  Did they feel listened to along the way?  It’s going to be their job to make it successful.  Do they have the tools they need to do this?

 

Implementation is a major point of leverage in that there is a high risk of a moment where reality dips below expectations.  The stakes are already high, time invested in boosting sensory by making contacts either in-person or via video conference will help you navigate this emotionally perilous phase.  Many CSMs have taken to “breaking the script” by showing up with go-live cakes to celebrate the completion of this phase.  If you have already “nailed it” with the implementation, this can be a memorable moment, but if mistakes were made, a more tailored gesture may be necessary.

 

A robust and well-designed implementation process will increase your chances of a smooth implementation.  Best in class companies leverage robust checklists and build off a product that involves more configuration than development.  This allows implementation teams to provide options, without overwhelming the customers teams with too many choices.

 

Elevating these points of leverage can help deliver more value, faster while creating a positive experience.  Quite simply, this is what a world-class Customer Success function delivers.  As a mentor of mine would say, “just because it’s simple, does not mean it’s easy.”  Prioritizing these phases will let you earn the right to create expansion and renewal moments.  To implement this, please download the Customer Journey Moment Elevation Tool.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fred Penteado

Guides private equity portfolio companies in a variety of industries on how to make their number.

Prior to joining SBI, Fred held a variety of leadership positions with multinational Fortune 50 companies. He has worked in product/program/channel management, sales operations, and served as a Chief of Staff.

 

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