Monday, June 13, 2016

The definition of customer success

The definition of customer success is according to the big wiled web (www if you insist) as listed below:
“A proactive, holistic, and organization-level approach that leverages technology and real-enough-time visibility into customer health (not just usage data, but any contextual inputs) to ensure your customers – including those who directly use (users, administrators, etc.) and those who benefit from the use of your product – continually and increasingly receive value from your product over the course of their lifetime as a customer.” - Lincoln Murphy, Sixteen Ventures

The above statement noted first sometime between 2013 to 2013 and it was referring to SaaS, Software as a Service. Selling a platform for application that will be cost effective to the customer. Vendors needed to learn how to leverage this virtual service to increase their revenue, by approaching a new (one can say prehistoric) method. facing the customer, teaching them how to leverage their business with the newly purchased service. 

In the last couple of years since then the vary same approach was (re) adopted by the entire market. Customer Success, with the addition "and Growth", regardless the service or product being offer. having the customer keep on purchasing your products, that the key.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Refresh and adjustment

Time to refresh and adjust my goals in this blog. Customer support or customer care are important roles in any organization. But why one need to support his customers? Aren’t your products good enough or easy to maintain?  Why taking care of them?
Customer Success is not just a buzz words, trend or a fashionable words to rebrand your organization. It is an approach.

Customer Success has its roots in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, which defined new market verticals.  It appears that non technology companies have embraced such model into their operations. Instead of just sealing a product or a solution to the customer and then waiting for the calls to arrive, organizations need to listen to the customer needs and teach (or should I say educate) how to use the products (or service in SaaS approach) to improve his business and well-being.
In that spirit, I needed to re-invent myself, re brand my product. Keeping the same with a twist. Something that will represent me better.
So more or less the same, with updated wording. But still, I'm an old school… like the direct interaction with people, guiding and instructing. Prefer a white board over a power point with all the animation. Old school, therefore the blackboard and chalk.

 older vs newer

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Building up Professional services

Few weeks back a friend have asked me for the best method to build an integration team in his start-up. A team that will be responsible for the implementation of their product into the customer's network.   
In my opinion calling such function as "integration" will be aiming low, as it will force the team to focus only on such activities, with minimal value added to the company. I suggested to call it "Professional Services" in order not to limit the team's activity to narrow aspects of integrating a system into network, and being able to offer additional paid services such as network audit and optimization, training etc. Having a professional services team will contribute the company to position their customer facing activity with "customer success" approach.
I therefore suggested the following plan…  
The below  three steps methodology is not new, but I still see it relevant for implementation, especially when a product company makes the decision to move from basic product support services to more solution-oriented services, and in that aspect, it is the integration services that my frieand's start-up looks to provide.
Of course each phase has its unique challenges and priorities that will be handled in due time.  
First phase: Recognize when the company begins to offer implementation services. This phase occurs when a product company first makes the decision to offer services beyond basic support services. In this phase, the product company is willing to take on more responsibility for the overall success of a customer project. This typically means a willingness to manage the successful implementation of products from other companies if required.
Products of this phase: HLD, LLD, limited ATP and Basic operations training
Second phase: The integration services phase starts when one realizes that some critical components are required to glue together a customer solution, and these components don't exist. In this case there is a need to invest in specific technical skills required to build the solution. Success in this phase will make any vendor a critical business partner to the customer.
Products to be added at this phase: SOW, comprehensive ATP, Advanced troubleshooting training
Third phase: offering consulting services that designed to solve high-level business problems, where discussions regarding technology and products are secondary.
Products to be added at this phase: Network audit, IOT
Stay tuned, checking up with the progress.