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Thank you for visiting, and we’re looking forward to taking this journey together!
-Chicago Customer Success Podcast Team
When I first accepted a position in SaaS, it was on the Customer Success Team at DialogTech, a fantastic organization that was wholly focused on the customer journey. We worked as a team to deliver world-class support, training, and diagnostics. The first thing I learned was that we lost customers mainly for one reason: they didn’t use the product.
It wasn’t that they didn’t know the platform or that we were missing a feature, it was because they didn’t see the value outright. This has been true at every stop along the way for me in both my professional workings and as a consultant. I see it time and again. This stalls when the culture of the organization puts the customer first and thinks about how every step of their process from buyer to power user looks.
I’ve learned a lot along the way and it’s my personal philosophy that we should share what makes us successful within our community to grow together. That’s why we started this blog.
The Chicago CS Podcast blog articles and podcast are designed to deliver relevant content to your week, making you a stronger CS professional. While we will be focusing on Chicago based organizations, we hope that anyone in CS finds value here.
I’ve always considered the term “customer success” to be a bit misleading. I believe that true success starts long before you become a customer. Customer Success is a business-specific framework that ensures a world-class experience that begins the moment you interact with a brand and in a perfect world, continues indefinitely. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling software or sneakers, every positive experience presents another opportunity to earn a customers business.
Though many of us have Customer Success in our titles, the buck doesn’t start and stop there. Customer Success isn’t limited to a single person, role, title, or department, it’s baked into everything you do as an organization. It’s targeted marketing collateral that speaks directly to customer’s use case. It’s a personalized email that takes a little extra time to write but really resonates with the recipient. It’s a support call that runs a little past quitting time but helps the customer solve a problem. It’s that and everything in between. It’s nothing less and so much more. It’s a fundamental commitment to making your prospect or customer feel like they’re your number one priority, regardless of circumstance.
Challenge yourself. Do the bare minimum and then do a little more. Dig up your job description and throw it out the window. When you start working for the customer, I promise you will find a deeper level of satisfaction and fulfillment in your career, on top of the tremendous success you will experience. That is why I wanted to write for this blog – to share my experiences, learn from yours, and remind ourselves why we strap on our boots and show up each and every day. Remember the Golden Rule from when we were kids?
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
Talk about a pro-tip! Your Kindergarten teacher may have just been trying to keep things civil at recess but if you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes and provide them with an experience that goes above and beyond the status quo, you’ll create customers for life.
If you’re reading this blog post, you’ve likely both provided and received an exceptional customer experience at some point in your career. Whether you realize it or not, every interaction we have predetermines the success rate of any subsequent interactions. This doesn’t mean that one less-than-stellar experience will ruin your chances of building a successful client relationship but it certainly doesn’t help. Working together as an organization to create an optimal customer experience is the reason we win business and more importantly, how we maintain it. No matter which role you play in the success of an organization, your individual commitment to customer excellence is your contribution to the success of a customer.
In interviews, I ask each candidate the following question: “What does Customer Success mean to you?” The range of answers given has been wide and has been even wider when existing members of the organization have been polled. If we can’t agree on a definition internally, what does it actually mean to those who pay our salaries – our customers?
Customer Success is becoming a bit of an umbrella term for everything customer-facing when it is so much more than reactive support or account management. With the right framework in place, Customer Success helps customers maximize the possible value gained from your solution and becomes the lifeblood of your company. I’m hopeful that we can use this space to apply rigor to the industry while collaborating and sharing some of the insights we’ve gained through our experience.