Is your business “Customer Success” ready?

Article Author: KK Diaz The purpose of your business is to find, sell to, and keep customers. The way customers find, buy, as well as use products and services, has evolved significantly. The culture of instant gratification, on-demand delivery, the subscription economy, product and service personalisation, as well as stiff global competition, behoves you to implement customer success as your new business model.

The best definition of customer success, which I love to borrow, belongs to customer success advocate, Lincoln Murphy. According to Murphy, “customer success is when customers achieve their desired outcome through interactions with your company, as well as through the use of your product or service.

”Ensuring that your customers are as successful as possible, will , in turn,improve “Customer Lifetime Value” (CLV) for your business. This is because when customers are happy, each time they interact with your company, and feel they can guarantee results through the impact of your products or services, they will not only keep coming back, they will also refer their friends and family to you. 

If you can consistently, and positively, influence the success your customers achieve, then you will also improve the probability of your own business success. But the reverse is also true - if your customers are not achieving “success”, by interacting with your business and using your product or service, then your success will also be at risk. 

Even though customer success is a growing trend, which was birthed by the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model as well as the subscription economy, the following key questions still apply to all businesses:

  • How can your company start or improve customer success practices to improve product/service adoption and customer retention, while reducing customer attrition?
  •  How can you transform your staff so that they are more engaged and contributing towards your customers’ success? 
  • How can you use marketing and sales as the foundation on which to build customer success practices?-      
  • How do you get buy-in, from all your business divisions, to rally behind customer success as a way of doing business? 

Do you remember what happened to Kodak, Nokia and Blockbuster? They were all giants of their industries and had the majority of their respective market’s share. But they all ignored the most important aspect of doing business. They did not give their customers what they wanted, with the result being that their customers took their money elsewhere!-      

Kodak: The trends clearly indicated that customer expectations, wants and desires had evolved, beyond analogue and film-based photography, to that of instantaneous digital. However, Kodak chose to ignore this ‘desired outcome’, resulting in their demise.-      

Blockbuster: Customers’ biggest frustrations, with Blockbuster and other similar ‘video shops’, were that if you wanted to watch a movie, you needed to drive to their nearest branch to rent a movie and return it the next day, or on an agreed day. If you returned the movie later than agreed, you’d be penalised. It was much easier for companies, such as Netflix, to help customers, not only avoid the now unnecessary trips to the store, but also avoid penalty fees, which customers hated very much. With the advent of high-speed internet, Netflix took this customer success approach to even greater heights and annihilated Blockbuster!-      

Nokia: The very company, that introduced the world to the smartphone, lost its majority market share to new players in the market. How? When customers were adopting full touchscreen phones with app-based operating systems, such as Android and iOS that gave customers access to an endless world of apps that enabled their success, Nokia was asleep at the wheel! While Nokia’s Symbian operating system was more of a hindrance, customers chose differently. They opted for Android and iOS phones, and Nokia became a relic!

How are you ignoring customer trends that directly result in your customers achieving their desired outcomes? Before you say, ‘not in any way’, think about what the above three businesses were thinking to themselves when they were posed with that question (if they were asking it at all!).

A significant determiner of your own business success is how much more, than your competition, you can help your customer to succeed. Only those companies which commit to customer success are able to reap the rewards of winning their customers’ heart, mind, wallet and loyalty.

One thing is clear: you are never too big to fail or too small to care about customer success!

Companies, which seek to succeed, should consider implementing customer success best practices that ensure:-      

  • Happy and successful customer
  • An aligned and customer-centric organisational culture; as well as 
  • A strategic competitive advantage.

To hear more from me on customer success best practices and principles, as well as how you can implement them in your business, make sure to:-      

Register for a live stream of the SAICA Accelerated Knowledge event here:-      

Attend Customer Experience World (CEW) 2018 Cape Town by registering here:

Besides my speaking at events on customer success, we also assist growing companies, like yours, to implement customer success best practices. My team and I are currently giving away a limited number of FREE 1-hour presentations to marketing and sales teams, company executives, as well as existing customer success teams, on how they can implement or improve on their customer success readiness.If this is something you could benefit from, feel free to message me and we’ll arrange that FREE presentation for you.

To your success.

KK Diaz