Graham Clark combines deep operations experience in the manufacturing and service sectors with over 20 years teaching high potential MBA students. He is committed to helping people make and sustain change and his latest book, More than Good Enough, describes the leadership frameworks that have inspired him. Here he offers some reflections on achieving a customer success mindset.
Focus on outcomes
Much of the change required to deliver customer success is tied to culture; thinking about how you define success as an organisation and how that links to your customer. Focus on what the customer is buying, i.e., the positive outcomes your solution will deliver for their organisation, rather than a set of outputs that meet sales, profit, and usage targets. Expand your scope to help the customer succeed, bringing in other team members and your executive sponsor when you need help.
Customer empathy is critical. What is a priority for them, might not be important to you and vice versa. Inevitably some customers are going to offer more long-term revenues and profits than others, client data and your experience is needed to prioritise and manage capacity. Although people are increasingly comfortable with using technology to self-serve, it depends on the scale of their issue, and your technology may not be smart enough to make the right call. High-value customers need to have the option of being channelled to someone who is dedicated to their account.
Reinvent service delivery
Instead of focusing on the short-term, service delivery plays a critical role in ensuring continuous improvement by building relationships and bringing insights that deliver long-term customer value. Listen to the voice of service delivery to ensure continuous improvements are implemented to deliver long-term customer value.
Connect for success
Unless there is a sharing of insights and intelligence, you will remain very good at delivering yesterday’s value as opposed to tomorrow’s or the day after’s. To enable teams to be effective, the emphasis must be on connection, on how we span the boundaries between suppliers and customers. We must enable teams to be effective. The stronger your relationship, the better the flow of information will be between you.
Read Graham Clark’s full Viewpoint in Account-Based Growth by Bev Burgess and Tim Shercliff, published by Kogan Page.