Building a good relationship takes a lot of effort and time, but it can be halted right away if you do not deliver the level of success that your customers expect.
Organizations need to invest in the right resources and people not only to improve (or enhance) the product or service but also to measure (customer) success through product usage, engagement, adoption and the acknowledgement of relevant areas of improvement ー Nuno Paiva das Neves, Head of Customer Success EMEA at SafetyCulture
Background and career
Nuno has been involved in a customer-facing role for the past 15 years. Majority of which was spent at SAP in various capacities. He managed a team of CSMs and worked closely with product and program owners to bring added value to their product offerings.
CS is a unique blend and right balance of human interaction, business processes, and business capability to deliver the success that customers want. Being at the forefront, we have to provide additional support to determine the actual needs of our customers, assess the outcome they are trying to achieve, and help them recognize the value of our solution, Nuno explains.
I have had different roles with different companies, which helped me to gain a unique perspective on understanding customer needs that transpire during their interaction with us.
It serves as a guiding philosophy in creating a successful roadmap and business outcome strategy. To ensure that proper value is provided, customer feedback and VOC should not be ignored when delivering or designing for contextual customer experience.
Often, it is not just the business results that matter – it is the learning [you get] and the significance of achieving it. The faster you can learn about the customer operating environment, the quicker you can prioritize and solve their business bottom line. The quicker, the better!
Winning and keeping customers
While it is easy to make claims that your company is the best vendor in the marketplace, nevertheless, this noise and excitement are no different or new to customers. Every day (imagine the number of emails and phone calls customers received and answered). Customers are used to hearing and reminding them about it. It becomes an ordinary way of competing with their attention.
It defeats the organization for serving its purpose – why? Because they do not notice (or realize), it is not the right (if not the best) way to sustain a business relationship. Why should customers believe you and your claims? Why would they stay with you if you could not deliver (or meet) their expectations?
Here are some things I recommend cultivating and developing to establish a relationship based on trust and shared mindsets.
✓ Have a clear understanding of their issue and ensure their success while using your product, service, or solution.

✓ Align and position business capability against its business pain points.

✓ Show them that they are the reason why you exist

✓ Promote their well-being where they could feel that they are part of the solution.

✓ Keep them engaged and interested (by sharing best practices)

✓ Keep an eye on the metrics invested in their success, and (re)act accordingly and properly.

With this in mind, organizations can design business processes and align metrics that will allow customers to achieve the success they are expecting. Nuno said every touchpoint is different in the customer journey. One thing everyone needs, every company needs, is to be able to focus on the value that matters most to their customers.
Success begins at home!
If a customer goes or looks around looking for a solution, the initial stage is to conduct research, compare and validate the information provided by different companies. Despite due diligence, they end up choosing a vendor based on the references and recommendations of their peers, friends, and family. Why? Because customer experience takes precedence over what the product can do or deliver. If you want to improve your brand image, Nuno suggests, invest in the customer experience and take it seriously.
It is a good reminder that customer success starts at home. In other words, how we treat our customers reflects the values and principles we choose and uphold. By staying focused on customer needs and successes, the core value of our company is shown and demonstrated, one way or another.
Understand the environment you want to improve
Understanding the market you serve and what areas need solving is the foundational success for building out a team or meeting customer’s objectives. The more we listen and interact with customers, the better we know what success means to them.
Here are a few things I recommend:
1. Start with a clearly defined goal, get everyone on board, and make everyone accountable and responsible for the success of its customers.

2. Design an onboarding process centered on customers’ life cycle. How will it be for the next 2-3 months?

3. Skills alone will not solve the business problem. It needs cooperation and support from other teams. When hiring, seek competence, relevant experiences, and behaviors such as empathy, problem solving, optimism, resilience as a strong characteristic of CSMs.

4. Build a highly consultative team that is dedicated not just to training the customers, but to consult with them to figure out what their needs and priorities are. This team is also going to work with an engineering or product team to share some vital information that could be helpful for the next product iteration or recommended changes.

5. Tie compensation and bonuses to customer success metrics or KPIs, not just with the revenue goals. Define who owns and influences the renewal and who will be responsible for continuing the relationship.

Ultimately, our goal is not just to show customers the solution as the right tool but the exact value they have achieved (and will achieve) while using our solution/service. It’s our job to make sure that the customers are well positioned for success. Without an appropriate CS strategy, placed at every touchpoint during the customer’s lifecycle, the entire customer experience is meaningless.
Summary
✓ Building a good relationship takes a lot of effort and time, but it can be halted right away if you do not deliver the level of success that your customers expect.
✓ One thing everyone needs, every company needs, is to be able to focus on the value that matters most to their customers.
✓ Our goal is not just to show customers the solution as the right tool but the exact value they have achieved (and will achieve) while using our solution/service.
✓ Build a highly consultative team that is dedicated not just to training the customers, but to consult with them to figure out what their needs and priorities are. This team is also going to work with an engineering or product team to share some vital information that could be helpful for the next product iteration or changes.
✓ By staying focused on customer needs and successes, the core value of our company is shown and demonstrated, one way or another.

This article was originally published here. 

Vincent Manlapaz, is a Customer Success Advocate at Strikedeck. He is passionate about Customer Success and is always willing to learn more! Vincent Manlapaz

Customer Success, Strikedeck, a Medallia company