What your customers actually need (and how to deliver it)

February 17, 2016 Matthew McLaren

What your customers actually need (and how to deliver it)

Issue 76 - What your customers actually need (and how to deliver it)

Your customers are going through a journey with you. Your Customer Success team plays an important role in determining the needs of your customers. 

Here's a breakdown of what your customer needs:

  1. Your customer needs you to understand their individual journey.

  2. Your customer needs to work with a well functioning team.

  3. Your customer needs you to provide value.

In this issue of the SaaS Tattler, we look at how you can deliver on your customer’s needs.

Register for our upcoming webinar, Defining and Managing Your Customer Lifecycle, on February 23 at 1pm ET.

Activating the Customer Journey: Six Steps to Growing Your Own Diamonds

Your customer needs you to understand their individual journey. Having a clearly defined customer journey can align departments with the goal of driving value. Mapping the journey identifies the roles each department plays in creating a satisfied customer, as well as illuminates potential gaps in the process. In this post, Wim Stoop, helps to effectively map the customer journey.

The diamond greenhouse

While this customer journey may sound like a linear path; in fact it’s circular. The “advocate” stage leads back to discovery, because advocates not only continue to buy from you, they draw in new prospects through social selling and content marketing. They may not even be aware they are doing this; they’re just having a great time being your customer. And that’s what drives increased engagement in your community. Increased activity and user generated content (by advocates) mean more SEO. Advocates provide insight into how to use your products and services, and answer questions when new customers ask. They even advocate for other -- customers to become advocates as well.

How to Build a Team of Customer Success Heroes

Once you’ve determined how many CSM’s you will need to hire, it’s time to begin the hiring process. But what exactly are you looking for? Well, to answer that question you will need to have an overall understanding of where Customer Success fits into your organization. Once you determine the fit then you’ll know what qualities they need to be successful. In this article, Louise Philp lists the three must-have qualities that indicate a CSM will be successful regardless of the organization.

3 Attributes

From my experience working with and staffing my team, there are three must-haves for customer success managers that are good indicators for success:

  1. Ability to multi-task and pay attention to detail. Most CSMs are juggling data and colleagues and new features and customers and more data. As the book of business grows, it’s easy to overlook or forget something – even a customer! And that’s just not acceptable to the customer or the business. It also helps to have a system in place to help them manage it all.

  2. Critical thinking. Have them walk you through interacting with a customer. Find out their play by play and their drive to succeed. How a CSM thinks through and approaches a customer it vital to the conversion and retention because each customer is unique.

  3. Communication. I mentioned above how a CSM needs to communicate and collaborate with various internal departments and of course the customer. How well do they read who they are speaking to? Can they speak to various levels of an organization – they might be talking to a CEO or designer depending on your service offering and are they comfortable all the way up the chain? Can they influence decisions in how they communicate?

Understanding Your Customer's Desired Outcome

You know that success looks like for you but do you know what success looks like to your customer? It’s not easy to answer that question and most often your customer would struggle to answer that question. Lincoln Murphy explains that to understand what your customer needs to be successful, you need to understand their desired outcome. Prioritizing by outcomes allows you to focus on the right customers because they have defined their stage in the journey to make them successful.

This is where “Desired Outcome” really starts to shine as a way of thinking about Customer Success.

It’s our job to understand what the customer is trying to accomplish, but moreover, it’s our job to understand how they want to accomplish it.

And of course the airline analogy I used can play out in other transportation methods, too, but also in pretty much every product and service category.

But in technology, we’re seeing this all the time:

Enterprise software is being disrupted by cloud offerings even if on-premises products do the same thing AND there is infrastructure in place to support them simply because the cloud experience is preferred.

Products with old-feeling (Legacy) UIs are being displaced by products from smaller vendors who understand the need in certain market segments for a great, modern UI, to the point where UX trumps feature parity.

Mobile-first startups are disrupting even “modern” cloud providers as consumer desires are evolving faster than “legacy” cloud providers can – or are willing to – keep up with.

Uber disrupted the awful experience of taxis or – like in Dallas – disrupted the inefficient valet procedures at popular restaurants.

So while helping your customer achieve their Required Outcome, helping them achieve their Desired Outcome is even better.

And some people are willing to pay more for that Desired Outcome.

So… does “desired outcome” resonate better? I think so.

The Best of Customer Success Today

If you are a customer success professional considering taking a role at a SaaS vendor, this test can give you a quick sense of how customer success operates there. The Amity Test: 16 Steps to Better Customer Success.

When a customer-centric organization is taking shape, everyone should formulate a mindset to simply ask themselves on a daily basis – “What is my contribution to ‘customer’ today?” Here are 7 things your organization can do to get started.

To communicate with consumers effectively, marketers require insight into where their customers are now and will be in future. Why brands need to respond to individual customer journeys.

Every week I issue this roundup of relevant articles from the customer success industry so we can learn from each other and share best practices. If you like what you read here, please consider forwarding to others. New reader? Subscribe.

Find an interesting article you would like featured in the next SaaS Tattler?
Feel free to submit them on this page.

About the Author

Matthew McLaren

Matthew McLaren works as a Digital Marketing Manager at Amity. His passion for creative design has motivated him to explore the many uses of technology.

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