Chances are, you’ve been on the receiving end of a frustrating customer experience, where your service provider is unresponsive, unable to sufficiently answer your questions, or maybe just sold you a bill of goods from the beginning. And hopefully, you’ve been on the receiving end of a satisfying experience, where the service provider customizes your purchase to meet your needs, answers your questions quickly and thoughtfully, and treats you like a priority.
It’s not necessarily bad people in the frustrating scenario. It’s possible that they’re just following poor customer service practices. So, what are the best practices to serve customers in every phase of the journey?
That’s the question we’ll explore in this series.
We saved the Customer Success team for last. Now that we’ve reached this point, our team is ultimately responsible for leading the continuous customer journey. By the time we meet our customers, they’re already in a great place. They’ve bought into the solutions your team has offered. They’re fully implemented with some best practices. We’re providing a responsive support team for their questions or configuration issues.
But, we’re still left with the most important part of the customer journey, and that’s leading our customer to continued success.
The Customer Success Managers are the faces of our team from here on out, so we need to understand our customers and their needs. Even before they get to implementation, we need to touch base to talk about their business goals, timelines, and what they expect. We can get this information to the implementation specialist to ensure a smooth transition, and we’ll be referring back to it often, as you’ll see.
Proactive and Reactive
We’ll anticipate our customers’ needs as much as we can. That’s the proactive element. We use Gainsight to measure customer health and track usage data. Our customer’s business goals are on the table from the beginning, so the usage data should to align. If there’s a discrepancy, we’ll address it to get them back on track.
There’s a reactive element as well, as you can’t anticipate every customer need. Sometimes an issue will arise, seemingly out of the blue, so our it’s our job to quarterback the effort to find a solution. We have a support team to help, but we need to understand exactly what the issues and the desired results are.
If they expected the product to do something and it hasn’t delivered, perhaps it’s a configuration issue that we can help with. Chances are, there’s a way to do what they’re asking; we just need to take the time to help figure it out. When we diagnose these correctable issues, we can bring in support or even implementation to help them achieve their goals.
Another part of being proactive is drilling down on the goals of different members of your customer’s organization. We generally try to plan for success in the three types of meetings:
Account Review – We need periodic check-ins with our main points of contact for our customers, generally our product champions. They know the nitty, gritty, technical needs, and what they’re looking for us to provide. Some of our usage data will come into play here, and we can help them build better processes to achieve their goals.
QBR – The Quarterly Business Review might include some higher-level members of the customer’s organization. We’ll discuss the ROI and provide a slightly more broad evaluation. We can provide suggestions, address concerns, and together we’ll try to find ways to improve the experience.
EBR- The Executive Business Review is for high-level strategy. We talk big picture business goals. In many cases, our customers’ executives will have a better vision of the future for the organization, so we can start to plan how our product fits in. Organizations change and our product evolves, so it’s important to talk about these things periodically in case our goals and use cases need some refreshing.
I tell my team that phone calls are always better than email. There’s so much more that comes out of a live dialogue than comes out of exchanging messages, so set up a call whenever you can.
We hope you enjoyed the “Successful Customer Journey” series. These principles have helped make us the highest rated and most reviewed service desk solution. No matter the products or services you’re offering, the success of your customers will ultimately determine the success of your business.
About Kyle Shepard
Kyle is a Senior Manager of the Customer Success team for ITSM at SolarWinds. He works directly with customers to provide ongoing support in service management strategy for their evolving goals. He speaks on webinars and other educational resources in ITSM. He also played college lacrosse.
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