Customers want and deserve better service in all aspects of their journey. Whether we are buying socks or software, we expect concierge or personal shopper level service and attentiveness. Born from the business practices of digitally native companies, the paramount importance of the customer to long-term business success is an idea whose time has come.
This Customer Centered Economy, where the customer is the primary orientation point for business and all the data from disparate systems is seen from the point of view of the customer at the center has begun to impact how many enterprise organizations conduct their businesses. However, in this new normal, these same enterprise organizations still fail at employing a customer success mindset. This is the result of the following three key misconceptions.
Top Three Customer Success Misconceptions
1. Customer success is for reducing churn, managing renewals or increasing upsells.
There’s more to customer success than these basic benefits—it’s about maximizing customer value. In my book “Farm, Don’t Hunt,” I wrote about approaching a recurring revenue business with the mentality of cultivating customers as opposed to hunting for them. Most companies are hunting for their consumers when they should be farming them. When you think about farming, it’s clear that trying to make changes to impact the yield of a farm at the time of harvest is a fruitless endeavor. Instead, they yield results from the continuous time and care that goes into growing the crop from seed to harvest. With customer success, customers are no different from crops. They also require nurturing to ensure that, come time for renewals or upsells, there is a healthy resulting yield.
2. Customer success is used to gather data to create a 360 degree view of the customer.
To put a finer point on this, it’s not just about gathering the data. It’s important to take the necessary next step of digging deeper to elevate the insights that allow you to operationalize this data so internal stakeholders across an organization can take action. Simply put, enterprises don’t need more data, they need more data in context. Most enterprise organizations already have too much data, but don’t know how to connect the dots, especially with an outdated, siloed approach to sales, marketing, service and support.
Accurate data in context is a non-negotiable for customer success. Collecting data that purports to provide a “complete view of the customer” without taking the next step to unlock it and extract useful, in-the-moment insights is of little to no value—it’s simply noise with no direction. A customer-centred solution must go beyond visualizations to surface what to do with what a customer experience-minded professional is seeing, and data must be used to bring the customer to life, describing who the customer is with color and context. It’s not about the information but the meaning of the information, and what to do with it at the precise time and in the exact way to meet and exceed a customer’s expectations.
3. Customer success is an isolated function limited to customer success teams.
This misconception further exacerbates the outdated, siloed approach to sales, marketing, service and support. Customer-centricity must instead be a company-wide focus for business growth, especially as more and more enterprises move to recurring revenue business models. A unified, company-wide focus on the customer enables teams at all levels of an organization to be powered by customer data to ensure customers have the best experience in every step of the customer journey.
It’s time to shift away from basic data collection and focus on a way to quickly and easily equip large global teams with data to help them deliver business results. Enterprises need a customer centered solution that facilitates the extraction of insights from data across the customer lifecycle, making it actionable to accelerate customer lifetime value. Operationalizing a universal, company-wide approach to customer centricity is what delivers a competitive advantage to enterprises in the Customer Centered Economy.
Guy Nirpaz is the CEO of Totango