While the concept of customer success has been around for some time, the term has gained increasing credence among tech companies in recent years, particularly SaaS and online businesses. However, the notion continues to evolve, with no single strategy emerging as dominant, leaving businesses to experiment and innovate in different ways.
According to some experts, customer success is increasingly playing a fundamental role in the prosperity of a business—one report from Forrester Research asserting that we have entered the “age of the customer” and another from Gartner revealing that 89% of respondents expect customer experience to be their primary basis for competitive differentiation by 2017. If a business can help its customers be successful, they will make the business successful as a result—makes sense. Establishing and executing a strategy that evolves with customer expectations and trends is where the real challenge comes in.
Determining What Success Means
At Druva, we believe customer feedback is the best metric of any customer success program. We are constantly evolving and innovating our business to better serve our customers and lead the industry with innovative, scalable solutions.
One way to measure the impact of such a program is through metrics such as renewal, churn, deployments and overall health scores. While these metrics are important from a business perspective, our focus is on defining what customer success means to our customers and building those concepts into our solutions. We also believe customer success is the responsibility of everyone in the organization, not just those with a specific title.
After surveying thousands of customers and researching various industry standards, we discovered that most customers want a solution that will deliver the best value and outcome for their business, from cost savings to improved efficiencies to ease of use. In order to meet and exceed customer expectations, we developed the following six key pillars, which we use to guide our customer success strategy and execution:
- Innovative Solution: Prospective customers are looking for solutions that are innovative and add value both for the business and users. They are often replacing traditional tools with newer cloud-based, eco-friendly, easy-to-use and low maintenance solutions. Vendors are constantly challenged to keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape and make their solutions competitive. Startups are built on the mantra of agility and disrupting established solutions—take for instance companies like Google and Facebook that have redefined their industry. Customers exist when businesses can develop solutions that are cutting-edge, scalable and offer the best value and outcome.
Customer Experience: The rise of the mobile workforce and proliferation of devices and applications in the last decade has completely changed the way data is consumed and user experience. Enterprise users are looking for similar experiences with their business applications. The challenge for IT teams arises when determining what the business values are as well as the benefits to the users. While IT decisions are based on how well the solution meets business needs, additional factors such as ease of use, robust features and functionalities can impact those decisions. Druva, for example, offers users the ability to easily manage user data and discover business outcomes all in a single, unified dashboard.
Dependable Infrastructure: Having a fancy UI and rich features are nice to have but they are meaningless if the service is unreliable. Engineering and operational teams must work together to balance stability and additional enhancements. The key to success for customers relies on the agility of new feature developments and reliability of the system.
Professional Services: If a solution is easy to deploy and use, why is professional services so important? Services teams are dedicated to helping customers get the most out of their experience by providing best practices and support to get them up to speed quickly. When dealing with more complex challenges like integrating with different technologies or developing processes, the services team can help customers develop efficiencies that have the least impact to users.
Education: The goal of education is to unlock the full value and potential of the solution for customers. When customers understand this, they are able to achieve greater ROI, business efficiency and success. At Druva, we deliver new features in the cloud every two weeks. The need for continuous education is essential for customer success as it empowers them to utilize new features and get the most out of their products.
Customer Support: A previous founder once told me that “the only way to guarantee bug-free software is to not write code”. The overall customer experience should be simple, straightforward and always have the customers’ needs in mind. For customer support teams, the focus is on ensuring the customer’s needs are met, from beginning to end. Support teams must also work alongside engineering and product teams to provide valuable customer feedback that can help shape future innovations and customer outcomes.
There’s more to customer success than just happy customers. It’s about helping customers achieve their desired outcome and experience real business value. We at Druva are proud to have an award-winning strategy for helping our customers be successful and honored to have received two Gold Awards at The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. It’s part of our continuous efforts to innovate and evolve with the rapidly growing digital world.
Want to learn more? Visit our customer success resource center and browse our extensive library of support and training materials, professional services info, documentation, community links and much more!