The Center of the Universe

Today’s business world revolves around the customer. More than ever, the customer is in the driver’s seat. As a result, the balance of information between businesses and their customers has shifted radically. Companies across industries – from retail to consumer goods to utilities to financial services – are experiencing the effects of this seismic change, and are developing strategies to respond and capitalize on the opportunities thrown out by this trend.

They are more focused than ever on delivering an outstanding experience that goes beyond the buying journey, and across the entire customer lifecycle. Every vertical has variations in their approach to the customer. For example, in the food and beverage industry, the focus is driving customer loyalty. In telecommunications, especially mobile telephony, the emphasis is on preventing churn, and companies in that space invest in customer support and customer service. In retail, customer loyalty is important, but CRM plays a big role in this highly data-intensive industry.

CS for All Industries

There is a pressing need for a system that can stitch together the data and business events using previously defined processes in real time so that the customer is never left waiting for something to happen. Customer Success solutions make that vision a reality. Maybe you think Customer Success is a new category, or maybe you think it has always existed. Or maybe, like me, you feel that growth in SaaS has ensured that Customer Success gets the deserved recognition that the obsession on account acquisition had masked. None of that matters, because Customer Success is for everyone who has continued revenue coming from existing customer base.

The Analysts’ Take

In fact, the two main analyst firms, Gartner and Forrester, have taken affirmative positions on Customer Success.

Gartner recommends that companies should elevate Customer Service and Support from a department within the organization, to an organizing principle for all enterprise processes that touch the customer. They count customer experience as a broad mandate, encompassing all branded interactions, pre-sale and post-sale. They have found that delivering an exceptional customer experience increases brand preference, loyalty, and advocacy, which drives long-term revenue and profit for the business.

Forrester Research has recognized Customer Success as a major trend, calling it “a hot new software category that helps you manage your customers”. Forrester calls for a customer-obsessed transformation, with high-stakes customer-centric strategies in their popular, “Age of the Customer” framework.

Beyond Subscription

Can Customer Success go beyond subscription economy? Every company in this world swears by Customer Happiness but the efforts are limited to Customer satisfaction surveys. More and more SaaS companies are relying on NPS score to guide them on customer sentiment and are even displaying NPS score as a statement of how customer friendly they are.

High-performing businesses know that they must innovate to give their customers a better experience, and are more likely to adopt a customer-centric strategy. In the end, it is all about creating deeper engagement with the customers. As Gartner recommends, companies must prioritize operations around providing the best experience to the customer. This change will be reflected in the evolution of the customer technology stack in the near future.