Organizations need a strong customer success vision in order to keep up with the competition. In this interview, Michelle Brown-Krier, Director of Account Management at Refersion, discusses why bringing this vision to life requires an alignment of leadership, team goals, metrics, and business strategies focused on achieving customer goals and long-term success.

Helping customers achieve their ultimate success is not a linear path. It includes defined and diverse stages of the customer journey, actionable plans, and the right strategies to achieve it.

Should companies prioritize business outcomes or the customer experience?

Many companies fall into the idea that customers measure the value of their investment through ROI or business outcomes alone. I agree that customers pay for the business outcomes they expect and want to achieve. Without those, they will not continue using the product or service. 

However, without a complete view of customer experience across their journey, how can we say that we have truly delivered the promised value or outcome for them?

Customers today are no longer receptive to unsatisfactory service or unfulfilled promises. They keep up with the pace of change and respond quickly. Hence, they switch brands almost overnight and take their business elsewhere if they are no longer satisfied. 

Businesses should not be focused solely on a set of actions such as business processes, strategies, or outcome orientation. They should also focus on understanding customer feelings and sentiments like perception, insights, emotions, and attitudes. 

In other words, we cannot just sell business outcomes to customers. We also need to make sure that their experience is consistently delightful, engaging, and memorable in every facet of our business. 

How can businesses compete with another company if both have outstanding products?

Business outcomes are the vision we sell and deliver — or fail to deliver — to customers. It is only a part or half of the picture. The other half is how we bring customer emotions, feedback, insights, and experience together.

When customer success and customer experience are fused, it brings the customer vision and success to life. Businesses have long known that differentiating comes down to fulfilling or exceeding customer expectations. It is all about the customer’s perception of what they think the product or service has done well for them. 

Since the market is full of great products, if we focus only on delivering business outcomes to create customer loyalty or satisfaction, it is like taking two wheels off your car and expecting it to work. Customer success and customer experience are needed to combine customer goals and overall success. That is the only way for them to succeed or compete well in today’s challenging times. 

Any final words or thoughts you can share?

Investing in customer success and customer experience needs buy-in across all departments to be effective. It requires alignment and commitment from everyone to achieve customer goals and long-term success. 

Customer success and customer experience must be firmly rooted in the company’s DNA and be operationalized. Otherwise, a company cannot generate the competitive advantages that retain happy, fulfilled customers.

This article was originally published here.