It’s that pyramid again - the Customer Engagement model I introduced last week. This week I'm going to talk about Stage 2: Success Team. In case you missed my last blog post, here’s a little recap...
How the Model Works
The 4 stages on the pyramid are different areas where customers engage. Product is your customer offering. Success Team includes all of the customer-facing parts of your organization. Company is your organization and brand as a whole. Community is the group of customers who use your product or service.
The bullet points on the right hand side of the model are statements a customer should be able to make about a particular stage. Take the perspective of a customer and start saying these statements out loud, starting from the bottom of the pyramid and moving up. The point at which those statements become false is where your company stops on this model. Anything above where you stopped is something your organization should consider to improve customer engagement.
Customer engagement requires more than just effectively performing your job as a CSM or customer success team. It isn’t about what you or your team do to take care of customers, it’s about how your customers feel about what you’re doing. Here are three key areas where you can influence how your customers feel about your team’s efforts:
“Your Success Team cares about me as a person and customer.”
If you don’t think this is important I would recommend reading Daniel Goleman’s book Social Intelligence because a whole bunch of research says it is. Customers are people with good days, bad days, kids, parents, bills, a boss and co-workers. Their interactions with you will range from positively amazing to hatefully negative, and it might have absolutely everything or nothing to do with you. In order to improve customer engagement, your goal should be to demonstrate that you care about each customer as a person, and not just because they are paying you. A few practical ideas:
- Show Empathy – When someone seems frustrated, it is often not the product itself that they are angry about. They might be worried that they will look dumb in a meeting or miss a deadline. Take a few minutes to think about how they feel, and ask about what is really going on.
- Remember Details – People love to hear their name, and they like knowing that you remember the last conversation they had with you. If you’re like me and you tend to remember feelings more than details, take great notes and use a CRM system to keep track of what you talked about.
- Make it Personal – Customers generally like to talk about themselves and their lives. Don’t be afraid to bring up non-work topics like pets, hobbies and kids. People are a lot more than just the work they do.
“Your Success Team teaches me to better use your product.”
This is the human part of product adoption and customer engagement. It feels great to know exactly how to do something really well, and even better to have a product that helps you achieve more than you could on your own. While I strongly believe that (especially technology) products should be intuitive, often it will take a human touch to bring a customer to complete mastery of any given product.
Tips, tricks and best practices can be difficult to convey in a strictly automated fashion, so your customers rely on the on-boarding and training your success team offers. If your organization doesn’t have the bandwidth to hand-hold every customer to product expertise, consider the following one-to-many training options:
- Training webinars
- Online product Q&A sessions
- Newsletter “Tips & Tricks” section
- Product blog articles
- Road show to key cities
- Trade show sessions
“Your Success Team recognizes me for using the product.”
One of my favorite books, The 12 Elements of Great Managing, has a chapter dedicated to recognition and praise, and how that generates employee engagement. The authors get into a lot of detail on the reward centers of the brain, but it basically boils down to the fact that all humans get a dopamine high from hearing positive words and being recognized. Hey, guess what? Your customers are human!
Recognition and praise can range from small acts of acknowledgement in an email (“I really like how you set things up.” or “Great job getting your entire team through training so quickly!”) to larger gestures (featuring a customer’s success story on your website or at a user conference). Don’t worry that the recognition you have to offer is too insignificant to matter. Big or small, gestures of recognition create customer engagement and are a wonderful way to thank your customers for their business.
Next week we’ll talk about what your Company can do to make sure customers are engaged, and we’ll continue to work up the pyramid from there. Tell me all about what you are doing to make sure your Success Team is engaging your customers!
Need help figuring out where your company is on this customer engagement model? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm created to help companies build customer-centric brands. www.TheSuccessLeague.io