The tech industry is often viewed as one where information and data are the most critical factors. But that’s not necessarily true. In fact, customer success is even more important than product quality or technology in many cases. I learned this in my own personal customer success journey in the tech world. If you can create a great product and have good technology but fail to achieve customer success, then your company will need help to grow as it should. Let me give you an example: Imagine a company developing a new software product for school use. The idea is excellent, but the development team needs to do a better job of understanding what their customers’ expectations are before developing the system itself. This means that when teachers try out this new software in their classrooms, they find it challenging to use because it doesn’t meet their needs precisely as advertised by the board of stakeholders – who were overly focused on how cool their product looks rather than whether or not teachers could actually use it effectively with students (regardless of age group or ability level- our product vision).
If we take these four factors into account when building our product or service (and then measure them, yes, we have some data analytics nerds here), then we can achieve exceptional customer success by delivering on these critical areas:
The first step to building a successful customer success team is to understand the expectations of your customers. You need to know what they expect from you and how they communicate with you. This is best served by establishing a communications plan early on. How does the customer like to receive regular status reports? What days/times work best for them to meet throughout the project?
Here at Codelation, we like to establish clear customer expectations and the north star product vision during our discoveries.
Once you have this information, it will be easier for you and your team members to provide high-quality service that meets those needs.
Create processes and systems consistent with those expectations. It’s not enough to just have a great product or service; you need to have the proper process in place to deliver on your promises, too.
If you don’t have a system that works, you will not be able to deliver on your promises.
A great way to do this is to implement sprint ceremonies and have the best practice software development roles in place. Within each role, carry out the customer-centric vision and work closely with the product owner role. The product owner has the responsibility of determining what needs to be built in each sprint and making sure that the team stays focused on those priorities. The product owner should also be involved in all meetings with customers, stakeholders, and developers.
To align across your team, you must have a clear product vision and review it often. Be accessible to your team by providing channels for feedback and checking the product backlog and vision every week. We like to use Slack as an A- synchronous tool and lean heavily on scrums and sprint ceremonies for continuous feedback.
Get to know your customers by talking with them directly often and watching them use your developed product so you can better understand their needs–this will help ensure that what you build meets their expectations! This can be done in scrum via software demos and UAT and with the customers using the developed product via beta testing.
Build a culture of continuous improvement. Once you have your processes and systems in place, it’s time to get everyone on board with improving them over time.
Have regular requirement and design meetings to iterate around customer expectations, identify gaps in the product, and ensure alignment with the north star (product vision). If a feature request does not align with the north star, re-assess whether this feature or request is really a need or just an idea from someone who doesn’t understand what they’re asking for. Be bold and say not at this time if it doesn’t meet these criteria! This will make sure that we are delivering value through our services rather than just creating features for funsies that don’t add any value whatsoever for either party involved (customers included).
3rd party research can also help identify themes within industries/sectors so that we can better understand where there might be opportunities within them – this could then lead us towards creating more relevant products/services which are tailored specifically towards those needs/desires instead of trying too hard without knowing where exactly these needs lie first hand. Let’s be honest; research and development with the highest intent is just fun!
I also like to consider all parties impacted by each decision we execute with the highest intent. Some example roles to consider are investors, customers, employees, and society as a whole. Write down why the change is being made and the pros and cons of impact for each role. Finally, take full responsibility and move ahead with an excellence mindset.
When it comes to achieving exceptional customer success, it’s not just about interactions but also about aligning people to a common goal.
Here are some ways that you can help create an environment where your team feels supported and motivated:
In the end, success is about aligning your team behind a common goal and doing everything exceptionally well. Customer success is an excellent opportunity for organizations to build loyalty and create long-term customer relationships to help them grow their business. But it takes work! You need to be committed, take risks and make some changes if necessary. If you want to learn more about how we can help your organization achieve exceptional customer success, contact us today.