Customer success is more than just a buzzword, and Guy Nirpaz, the CEO and founder of Totango, and author of Farm Don’t Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success, talks to us about how to realistically integrate customer success into customer experience. In today’s episode, Guy talks about the importance of delivering value to the customer and across the entire customer lifecycle. It’s about understanding that you need to create lifetime value that goes beyond the number of transactions had with a customer.
Totango is a customer success software that helps enterprises drive revenue growth and reduce churn while focusing on the SaaS customer journey.
Align Products, Services, and Behaviors to Customer-Centered Growth
Guy explains that customer success is about starting with your customers’ goals. Incorporate the achievement of their goals to your Key Performance Indicators. When you focus on customer success, you need to have a customer-centered growth strategy. You can’t start with your goals and try to have your customers adapt to them.
According to Guy, the biggest challenge when it comes to a customer-centered growth strategy is translating it into business operations. He shares that businesses need to create a customer-centered model. This means that leaders think through how to improve retention, expansion, and customer loyalty. These actions have to be agreed upon, company-wide.
Guy makes a great point by stating that there needs to be alignment with products, services, training and executive leadership, and long-term metrics. You will need to fight through the “over promise and under deliver” challenges that can lead to disappointment in early implementations.
Remove the Hero Mentality
Leaders need to understand that customer success is a business initiative. Guy shares that you need to remove the “hero mentality.” It’s not about one person or department caring about customers more than another. There’s no ownership of the customer; everyone is involved. This is a growth strategy led by people who have concrete numbers they need to deliver on, which are tied to retention, extension, onboarding, satisfaction, etc.
Customer success is dependent on organizational behavior and an organizational set of activities. It happens when you can manage the customer lifecycle in a way that is predictable and going to lead to better results and retention. This is a CEO level initiative. The CEO, as the business operation leader, has to translate this initiative into an execution model so that the organization can build the connection between teams, and the technology to execute the work.
Three Critical Actions to Achieve Customer Success
- Recognize that you want to run a customer-centered growth strategy and be willing to put in the work.
- Understand that customer expectations continuously increase and know your customer lifecycle. Figure out where you can get quick wins.
- Drive adoption into the services and products, and run training programs. This means thinking through new processes for onboarding, expansion renewal, win backs, etc. When you do this, you start to build a scalable model that can be implemented.
Guy mentions something that I speak of quite often, which is, when it comes to implementing new initiatives, don’t boil the ocean. Implementing a broad customer success model is going to take at least two years and will be very hard to measure. You can’t do it all at once. He suggests that you break your initiative down into measurable, bite-sized chunks.
For instance, implement one block of work within a month to two months, measure the success of it, then move on to the next one. It’s easier to demonstrate quick wins when you implement a customer success strategy block by block. Through this action, you begin to build on top of each success and drive momentum in the organization.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“People focus on what’s in front of them and data drives actions. Take all of the relevant data, put it in front people as they engage with customers, so they can make better decisions that provide value to the customer. Also, break down the work into pieces, iterate proof, and repeat the process.”
About Guy Nirpaz
Guy Nirpaz is Founder and CEO of Customer Success pioneer Totango and author of Farm Don’t Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success.
Guy Nirpaz is a Silicon Valley-based Israeli entrepreneur, CEO and founder of Totango, the leader in customer success for the enterprise. A pioneer in the customer success field, Guy established the Customer Success Summit. He is a well-regarded industry speaker and community contributor, and is the author of Farm Don’t Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success.