A consistent flow of active, engaged customers has always been central to building a business. Even before modern commerce existed, people created and bartered goods and services. And people who knew what others really wanted came out on top.
Today, enterprises have entire teams focused solely on customer success — working toward ensuring customers have a positive, productive experience with their brand, and keep coming back for more.
While it seems like a strategic solution to ensuring a consistent stream of customers, there’s often more to true, lasting customer success. Often, companies that excel at elevating and accelerating customer success are those who make customer success everyone’s responsibility — businesses ensure every single person in the organisation is laser-focused on enhancing the end-to-end customer experience. This happens when you not merely focus on creating customer experiences, but also on elevating your ‘enterprise experiences’. It starts with building an organizational culture where all your internal audiences, such as business units, partners, agencies and vendor are aligned to the overall enterprise vision of achieving customer-centricity.
Creating enterprise experiences needs commitment
Increasingly, companies are unifying customer success tasks and responsibilities under a dedicated customer success department. These teams manage comprehensive customer success programs that emphasize customer-centricity by putting the customer at the centre of their business and building processes and engagements designed to directly enhance every experience across the customer lifecycle. This hyper-focused approach is increasingly gaining steam. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Enterprise Customer Success (CS) Study and Outlook, 70% of respondents have had a customer success team in place for more than two years and less than half have seated these teams for more than four years.
Among those organisations that consider customer success a priority, 40% invest 5% of their revenue towards these initiatives. These, too, are organisations seeing double-digit increase in renewal rates and annual recurring revenue. That said, success in this arena requires more commitment and deep focus on the customer journey — journeys that can pivot, shift, and become increasingly complex even before a purchase is made. It’s not unlikely to see an organisation orchestrating spot-on experiences to their customers across scientifically-defined touchpoints and yet losing out to a competitor simply because that competitor layered in an additional touchpoint or got ahead by capitalizing on a real-time shift in customer focus.
Despite more and more organisations acknowledging and understanding the importance of building organisational culture and teams conducive to delivering customer success, most are
still struggling with the issue of falling out of sync with the customer they’re so focused on serving.
To reach, engage, and activate their customers, many companies launch new offers and channels, powered by cutting-edge technology — all with the hope of being “always-on” and delivering epic customer experiences. But even this at times fails to drive loyalty or trust among the audience. Brands that are unable to forge lasting connections with their customers often score low on brand recall and customer retention.
Doing it right
The solution lies in delivering enterprise experience, where the organisation is focused on delivering experiences that stay with the customer over and beyond their engagement with the brand. To do this, you need the ability to bring the right functions to the fore to handle customer requirements. For example, a certain customer request might require the expertise of your product engineering team rather than the traditional front-line support teams handling it.
Often the real challenge for most organisations is that they don’t have mechanisms that bring everyone together to support the single goal of driving customer success consistently across the whole enterprise. An “enterprise experience” isn’t a linked journey. It isn’t bound by vendor rules or frameworks. It’s an all-in game at every level of the organisation.
Getting to this stage means the entire organisation — product management, engineering, marketing, sales, partners, vendors — needs to be perfectly aligned so they can understand customer needs and motivations, plus the value those customers expect from the product or service offered. The focus, hereon, should be on closing the gap between the customer’s vision and their end experience. When companies bridge this gap, they begin to excel in the customer success arena.
Three essentials for building enterprise experiences
1. Create frictionless experiences by unifying teams
Successful customer experiences are frictionless — and achieving this requires unifying teams to work toward a singular customer success goal. Ideally, start by building a map from your customer’s pre- and post-purchase point of view, and identify what, specifically, it would take to help them to be successful. The idea here is to pre-empt any challenges the customer could face in either selecting or using your product. Make sure it’s clear who is responsible for these processes, who is contributing, and who needs to be kept informed. Have an enterprise-wide view of the customer status. Create seamless toll gates between teams, and periodically conduct check-ins and run surveys to assess progress, and course correct if needed.
2. Create repeatable differentiated offerings
While customers are bombarded with loyalty programs, differentiated enterprise offerings can also make a huge difference. At the Logan Hotel in Philadelphia, hotel doorman Anthony greets visitors and passers-by, creating an experience people talk about — an experience that’s uniquely the Logan’s. Organisations need to find their “Anthony.” They need to invest in enterprise experiences that are repeatable, scalable, and at the same time, differentiated. Customers engage with and stick with brands that deliver such experiences.
For example, a restaurant chain could serve the customer a great meal and give them loyalty points on purchase — or that same restaurant could delight the customer by instantly looking at their past preferences and recommending an offer tailored to their past purchases, preferences, and real-time experiences.
3. Measure customer success from everywhere
It’s important for companies to ensure they have mechanisms in place to measure and reward contributions to customer success. It is important to identify a succinct set of measures relevant to the industry and the business you are engaged in. Apart from tracking aspects such as customer satisfaction, net promoter scores, and customer advocacy impact, customer service teams also track metrics like first contact resolution rates and customer effort scores. In addition, retention rate and repeat purchase rates are critical parameters to understanding loyalty and advocacy, something that also ties back to your customer success efforts. Referrals and increased product integration and adoption of features are also good benchmarks. These points speak directly to the fact that customers are coming back post their-engagement with your brand — one of the definitive signs of customer success and satisfaction.
At the end of the day, it’s not about marketing handing leads off to sales, nor is it about sales closing those deals. Everyone in your organisation needs to become part of the customer success ecosystem to create the foundation for delivering memorable enterprise experiences—essential to driving success for the organisation and your customers alike.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.