article | July 13, 2018
The Top 5 Lessons Learned While Adopting New Technology to Support Customer Success
Unique to Customer Success technology adoption is the relative immaturity of both Customer Success organizations and technology compared to other business functions. This combination can cause complete misses and perhaps even worse misses that appear salvageable only to limp along and underperform for years.
Leverage our Customer Success and Customer Experience Assessment Tool for a detailed list of Customer Success assessment questions.
To avoid an unsuccessful Customer Success initiative, consider the following lessons learned:
The most painful mistakes are the public ones.
Finding out post implementation that a product does not do what was expected can be a difficult experience. Customer Success organizations by their very nature are interdisciplinary and require buy-in from multiple functions.
As tempting as it can be for a Customer Success leader to own its own technology acquisition, it is important that other functions be consulted throughout the acquisition process. Likewise it is important the tool users, Customer Success Managers (CSMs), are heavily involved in product selection to ensure that it is user friendly.
A recent client adopted a new Customer Success platform and saw immediate benefits. Within the first six weeks the client was able to gain better insight into its customer health – number of licenses used, usage of specific product features, etc. They were thrilled with their new knowledge and began to score customer health to help forecast renewal risk. It was only several months later that they fully realized the value of triggers (identifiers when the customer was not using the product as intended) and updated their renewal risk model to incorporate trigger information.
The lesson here is that you cannot fully adopt a new customer success system all at it once. Stagger adoption, at least into two buckets – basic and advanced. Once basic adoption is complete (1-3 months) move to advance adoption. Seek additional training at the start of each phase – you will learn things you didn’t learn during the previous training.
When planning a Customer Success implementation clearly define expected objectives and key results upfront.
Most Customer Success projects include Return on Investment (ROI) as a key objective.
How will implementing Customer Success technology improve ROI? Will it decrease churn, increase cross-sell/upsell, improve efficiency, bolster referrals? What are the key results expected to achieve the objective in the short-term and long-term? Will increasing usage (number of licenses) translate into decreased churn? Will promoting specific features (additional trainings) generate additional cross-sell/upsell?
Defining specific OKRs enables you to clearly evaluate competing products and select the most appropriate technology.
A customer success project charter serves as the foundation of the project, it contains the project mission, values, team roles and responsibilities and important metrics. Defining the project metrics helps to solidify project goals
Creating a project stakeholder map and identify a project champion helps to align the entire organization round the project. It sets boundaries up front for time expectations for each resources and helps to visualize the how the team will work together. Most importantly it identifies a project champion. This must be someone in the organization that has the experience and clout to drive the project to success. A good project charter will provide direction to the organization and empower the project mobilizer to achieve results.
Building a well-defined Customer Success motion is an integral part of any companies’ revenue protection model.
Acquiring a new Customer Success tool can catalyze this function. However, integrating a Customer Success tool to your current CRM without developing a proper Customer Success function is a waste of money.
It’s important to holistically assess your Customer Success function before implementing new technology. Do you know the answer to the following questions –
If you could not answer any of these questions it’s best to complete a Customer Success diagnostic prior to embarking on any new CS technology acquisitions. For a more detailed list of Customer Success assessment questions, download the Customer Success and Customer Experience Assessment Tool.
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