It’s now one of the most talked about departments within Force24’s ever-growing team. So, what has been the secret to building a killer team of customer success specialists who have the marketer’s back, no matter what? Our head of customer success, Lee Senior, shares his thoughts from the ‘front line’…
At Force24, we’ve never been shy about standing in the marketer’s corner. We put our relationships with customers before everything else, and it’s this deep-rooted commitment which doesn’t just shape what we do as a business, it underpins it.
Step one – is customer success in your DNA?
And this really is step one to building an incredible customer success team – live and breathe it. We recognise that for some time, many brands have simply spoken about customer success, rather than working hard, unswervingly, to deliver it day in day out. But it can’t be an optional strategy, or something you dip into as resource allows. It needs to form part of your culture.
This could represent the need for cultural change in some organisations, which won’t happen overnight. However, clearly communicating the need for change and involving colleagues in that journey – the shaping of values and why they are important, for example – will fuel progress.
Linked to this point on culture, is the need to recruit carefully. Many businesses – including ours – recruit on cultural fit, rather than skill-set alone. Skills can be taught, after all.
This isn’t to say we’re trying to build a team of carbon copies – far from it. But we are looking for people with a shared vision – working hard to liberate marketers from the time-intensive shackles of their role, and enable them to achieve what they actually want to do.
The job of colleagues in our team, is to put customers first, always. We’re their internal champions. It’s therefore crucial that senior management teams give customer success departments a voice – the freedom to share ideas, speak up and challenge.
Be clear on KPIs
We can only deliver success for a customer if we know what success looks like. So, we spend a lot of time during the earliest phases of the relationship building, clearly defining their goals and KPIs, to set expectations from the start.
We look at not just the objectives of the marketer, but the wider business too. The C-suite doesn’t care about open and click rates – what matters there is bottom line growth, a healthy pipeline, customer retention, market share, brand reputation and so on. So that’s what we help the marketer achieve.
Goals and KPIs vary from one customer to the next but, linked to the above, we usually frame our role under two key themes – help the marketer do more with less, and help them get a promotion!
If we were to achieve that, generally speaking, we’d be on the right track to enabling them to deliver everything else.
Proactivity is such an overused word in the world of customer service, that it almost feels trite. However, being proactive instead of reactive is core to a customer success team being remembered for all the right reasons – as I alluded to in my last blog, ‘6 steps to building a customer success programme’.
Force24 offers free training for life, for example, but waiting until a customer asks for assistance would make us little more than a service desk. While we’re here to help, our role isn’t to fault find in retrospect – it’s to hunt for ways for the customer to achieve more, even if they’re already flying. By being one step ahead they will, by default, be more agile and adaptable to change.
Ask if you’re being ‘super’
OK, in our working lives we tend to know when we’re doing a good job, but in the current climate especially, there’s no time to be blinkered or rely on presumptions alone. So, rather than just believing – or hoping – that you’ve fostered a super customer success environment, backed by brilliant people, ask the people whose opinions really matter.
Customer feedback is crucial – the good, the bad and the ugly. All of it. But acting on it is the really important bit. Being dismissive of the areas for improvement suggests that the needs of the customer perhaps aren’t the priority after all.
Fancy building customer loyalty via marketing? Call us 0845 272 5990 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org