What is the key to a successful relationship? Is it because customers are treated well? Are their concerns resolved on time or is it because we spend time understanding our customers and what their true needs are?

In this interview, Jamey Jeff, Chief Customer Officer at Cortex Building Intelligence talks about the importance of keeping customers engaged and involved when designing successful business outcomes as the key aspect of a successful relationship.

Jamey said, “provide value first and exceed customer’s expectations”. Organizations must focus on customer needs first, before achieving company goals. Customers will stay loyal if their needs and challenges were addressed and resolved first.

Background and Career

I began my consulting career at Accenture. Some of the key principles embodied in this role, Jamey points out, “are being hyper-focused on the needs of the business, client’s challenges and you must continually deliver value (even if that value means solving problems or giving good advice). “

I have been involved in the B2B SaaS world for nearly 10 years. I have seen how Customer Success has evolved in two ways. (1) Focus on providing more value (2) Collaborating with customers to understand their growing needs and challenges.

To frame the “how” (the principles of achieving the business goal/s), organizations must understand the customer’s “what” (the pain points they are seeking to solve, or the impact of the solutions on their business bottom line). In doing so, CS organizations can tailor the service or solution to show the core value of the product throughout the customer’s lifecycles.

The Prevalent and Fitting Changes

Over the past 10 years, we have seen the maturity of this role (CS), the industry itself, and its function (purpose). Jamey points out that there are economic values driven by the business model shift from a transactional economy (perpetual license) to a subscription economy (consumption model).

One of the many economic values for CS leaders has been gaining an unquestioned seat at the executive table, as CEOs and investors acknowledge that CS is just as important as other departments such as sales or marketing teams.

Jamey recalls that one of the first challenges to its establishment (CS team) was to move away from the legacy mindset (such as support or customer service). Creating its own identity and why this group is so different from those in the organization, is a great test.

Moving away from this reactive mindset (firefighting), to proactiveness (fireproofing), provides a different way of delivering value to the customers. Organizations can measure now the “real impact” of business value.

Designing Successful Outcomes

Successful CS organizations design successful outcomes based on customer insights and feedback. Why? Because customers have different needs and challenges that they face and meet. Besides, they have different experiences in their interactions with organizations.

The other economic value Jamey noticed was how organizations segment their customer base. For example, you have expert customers and novice customers. Experts and novices can be found at customers of all sizes and industries. It’s essential to tailor the customer experience in recognition of the varying needs of the “expert” vs. the “novice”: experts may want you to get out of the way quickly, whereas novices will seek more handholding and best practices.

Jamey provides a simple process that will help organizations to create a long term partnership and deliver successful outcomes. He introduced a basic technique called K.E.E.P!

K – Knowledgeable. Understand your buyer’s industry, pain points they are seeking to solve, the impact of those pains, etc.

E – Empathetic. Understand your customer’s challenges. What’s hard about their job? Are they seeking a promotion? What keeps them up at night?

E – Easy. Be easy to do business with. Respond quickly. If you don’t know the answer, find out. Bring the right person to them.

P – Principled. Keep your promises. Do what you said you’d do when you said it would be done.

Jamey says by following this method, organizations will stand differentiated. This method can become a continuation of great service, product value, and brand experience. At the end of the day, the brand experience should be unique. Whereas, the customer experience needs to be reinforced in every interaction or touchpoint, while the product value grows based on the customer’s appreciation and perception.

Since we have different products on the market, each of them has different ways to determine the impact they are giving and offering. But one thing remains, every customer wants to make their life better by using your tools and platforms. They aren’t buying tools for the sake of tools, but they want to achieve success when they use your platform or service.

Today’s customers are fully aware of your competitors’ strengths and what kind of solutions you offer. Whatever the customer achieves when working or partnering with us is the ACTUAL value of our brand, our service, and our commitment to their success. We can’t provide a well-rounded experience or good product experience if we don’t involve or engage customers on their desired result/outcome.

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