Becoming a Customer-Centric Organization

July 24 2019 0comment

The customer-centric mindset entails making major decisions while taking customer needs and customer journeys into account. This responsibility is not limited to the CSM (Customer Success Manager) alone, a company-wide disposition to customer satisfaction is crucial to customer success.

Companies that prioritize customer needs and put them at the forefront of new initiatives see increasingly better results than those who decide on new initiatives without considering customer success and feedback. This is as a result of greater customer trust which reduces churn, increases renewals, and bolsters user adoption through referrals and testimonials.

 

Here are some solutions that you can use to foster a customer-centric mindset across all departments in your SaaS company:

1. Align Strategy with Customer Needs

If your company is committed to customer centricity, then you must focus on aligning all your strategies and playbooks to promote customer satisfaction through these processes:

Listen

Understand your existing customers through customer feedback obtained from surveys and interviews. Get a feel for how they feel about your processes and how you compare with other vendors in certain aspects from their perspective.

Plan

Define the goals for your initiatives based on customer expectations, and design or adjust your playbooks and templates based on customer feedback.

Deploy

If your company is not a startup company with limited clients, deploy the new strategies and playbooks to a cohort of customers and monitor the impact on the select customers. Leverage customer quotes and feedback from the new strategies to prove value to top executives, other departments within the company, and to your customers.

Assess

Review and systematize your new strategy to scale and launch the new scalable strategy to the entire customer base.

2. Optimize Cross-Functional Processes

As a core company value, customer centricity should be evident in all company processes and strategy. Consider augmenting these processes towards your customer’s expected business outcomes:

Onboarding

When designing a roadmap, a company could prioritize features that keep them competitive in the market and gains more customers, but a customer-focused approach would be to prioritize facilitating the customer onboarding experience. You could also personalize the onboarding process to identify and meet unique customer needs.

Customer Support

A customer-centric organization is proactive towards customer support, providing resources that help customers solve problems before they occur without the need to contact the vendors. This provides an added value to the customers after successful onboarding.

Product development

Rather than developing products and features to solely boost sales, a customer-focused company would prioritize customer enhancements requests when developing new features or products. The company would also invest time to close the loop on enhancements requests, informing the users of the direction the company will take vis-a-vis their request.

Customer Health-Score

A typical customer healthscore design would help you mitigate churn risk, however, this is an internal metric that only serves your company. Conversely, a customer-centric healthscore would also determine whether your product helps customers to become industry leaders in your domain expertise, revealing how much value customers derive from your product.

3. Promote a Collaborative Environment

The CSM plays a central role in the company and is capable of breaking down the walls of the company’s functional silos and promote collaboration through effective communication. Using customer feedback and knowledge of the customer’s desired business outcomes, the CSM can cultivate a customer-centric culture in different departments by:

3.1.    Sharing customer feedback with other teams

On a consistent basis, the CSM can share customer feedback to further promote collaboration in areas that impact customer experience and customer success in these departments:

  • Services – The CSM can help with identifying opportunities for additional services.
  • Sales – The CSM can identify expansion, cross-sells, upsells or renewal opportunities that customers might be interested in while assisting them to close more deals.
  • Marketing – CSMs can drive effective customer campaigns and identify advocates.
  • Support – The CSM can follow up on escalated tickets while support resolves customer issues.
  • Renewals – CSMs can flag renewal risk early and spot opportunities for expansion.
  • Products – The product team and the CSM team can coordinate to prioritize feature roadmap through insights to customer’s needs.
  • Onboarding – A successful collaboration can create above the line customer relationship and develop a long-term roadmap.
  • Finance – The CSM can assist in resolving billing inquiries and drive collections.

3.2.    Promoting the CSM’s value within each team

As a CSM, it is imperative to promote your value within the organization. This can be achieved by relating with other departments based on their KPI, communicating the internal value of customer success through language and areas that each department can relate to.

Summary

Customers are drawn to companies that demonstrate customer centricity in their initiatives. Becoming a customer-centric company will require hinging your strategy on customer feedbacks, optimizing your company processes for ultimate customer satisfaction, and collaborating with other departments to imbue the customer-centric culture.

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Written By:

Irit Eizips

Irit Eizips brings deep expertise in the area of Customer Success. As an early member of Gainsight's executive team, Irit has been pivotal in shaping Customer Success methodologies and best practices. For the past 3 years, Irit has been voted as a top Customer Success influencer and is frequently featured as a speaker at conferences and Customer Success public events. Irit serves as CEO for CSM Practice, a global Customer Success consultancy firm. The firm specializes in working with customer success leaders to accelerate the creation and implementation of Customer Success strategies, derive extensive value from Customer Success technology solutions as well as certify and train customer facing teams in becoming more proactive and efficient.

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