Digital Transformation – The Need of the Hour
2020 started off with a vision for greater customer centricity, more data-driven decision making and cross-functional collaboration. As companies geared up to deliver on this promise, they were faced with an invisible, yet very real enemy – COVID-19!
The result? With the 2020 vision threatened, companies have had to re-calibrate and re-strategize. Growth plans gave way to rudimentary survival tactics, account expansion turned into customer retention and an overwhelming majority was left struggling to make ends meet.
With the entire world cooped up at home, digital transformation ceased to remain an option only to be implemented by a handful of companies. As in-person interactions gave way to zoom meetings, and e-learning and e-commerce became the need of the hour, companies began to feel the need for cross-functional collaboration more than ever before!
Leverage Technology to Foster Collaboration
Companies with robust Customer Success practices know that CS professionals are often in the right place at the right time to gain valuable customer insights. One of their most essential qualities is the ability to listen to its customers. While sometimes this listening is part of a transactional or task-oriented process—to ensure a renewal, solve a problem, kick off a new customer engagement or establish additional customer contacts—many customer conversations are not anchored to a particular assignment.
More often than not, Customer success teams may also rely on standalone notes applications, ranging from legacy Lotus Notes and such systems or newer applications, such as Evernote or document storage platforms, such as Google notes. While these tools are extremely useful, in a virtual environment, teams find themselves transitioning from one collaborative tool to another, often wasting a ton of time in the process – leading to cost/time inefficiencies.
Customer Success: Powering Collaboration
Some Customer Success platforms include a “notes” function to capture details from customer meetings and conversations. Having notes as an integrated function of the customer success platform is especially productive, as it ensures more consistency, centrality and fosters collaboration. Having raw, unstructured, unaided note retention is good, but the capability could be made far more powerful with some additional functionality.
The most valuable function to customer notes is the ability to create robust actions directly from within each note and the ability to route the insight and suggested or required actions to specific individuals. Even if email is used as a vehicle for routing or conveying the information, at least it has been “systematized” to establish reminders, establish assigned tasks and make the insight easier to retain and recall.
Actions may involve something on the part of service or support to remedy a problem; a bug report or flagging of a product/service problem to developers or product teams; opportunities for the sales team; and more. Insights without specific actions can be distributed to relevant people and groups and also referenced with each customer record. The ability to monitor and report on disbursed information and assigned actions and the capability to search is also quite valuable.
Greater Cross-functional Sync & Customer Interaction
The “Notes” capability within a customer success platform facilitates communication across two groups – internal (cross-functionally), as well as external (customer-facing). More advanced customer success note capabilities provide the ability to tag various people, groups or even topics. Actions should be able to have priority levels attached to them and specific due dates established, as appropriate. Integrations with other systems such as workflow ticketing systems, the CRM or other applications further improves communication, collaboration and accountability.
More than anything, the key with internal and external notetaking is capturing relevant information, creating actions, distributing the insight or actions and establishing ways to retain this information. Having notes readily available for each customer enables more seamless handover when there is a change in customer success personnel or when others get involved. Similarly, notes can bridge the ever-increasing communication gap between various departments, and result in more collective and data-driven decision making.
At its very core, Customer Success platforms try to bring in greater centrality, in terms of data consolidation, customer health, and customer expansion opportunities. Adding “note-taking” capabilities to a CS platform also adds another layer of centricity for collaboration and greater integration between various stakeholders. This is what the future holds and the present demands – and what’s better than one platform that provides a one-stop solution for all your customer success needs?