Somewhere along the line, companies made a wrong turn as they set up their Customer Success groups. While people across the board talked of the importance of “trusted advisors,” that’s not what companies hired or developed. Assigning a CSM to look after a customer account who does not speak the language of that customer’s business fluently does not produce an ongoing productivity and profitability relationship.
A Real Trusted Advisor
In the course of an operational review of a software company’s Customer Support group awhile back, I found that my client had an incredible asset. I discovered it from interviewing the customers as to their experience with Support, and the references were consistent from all sectors. What was this vital asset? Suzie, the receptionist that answered the hotline. She had a warm voice and manner that immediately put the most upset customer at ease; it conveyed the essential message of “relax, we’re going to get this fully handled asap.” She cared about them, and they knew it. She made sure that the support reps got the job done. The customers weren’t calling Support, they were calling Suzie. She knew it, they knew it; the company did not know it.
Are there Suzies in your company? I certainly hope so, and that your company understands their value — for I assure you, the customers do. They are buying an ongoing *relationship* based on increasing productivity and profitability. If that’s not how your company perceives its product, and behaves accordingly, there’s a problem.
Is ‘Suzie’ scalable? Most emphatically, Yes. But scalability requires that you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it in order to succeed. It takes work, wisdom, and an ability to demonstrate deep insight into your customers’ business.
How can Customer Success get back on course? It starts with authentically reconnecting to the very definition of the role. Customer Success is about an ongoing *relationship* with your customers wherein both you and they stand to gain sustainable, proven profitability. It’s about being a Suzie, a partner worthy of being trusted.