How many times are you going to have to look at this crazy pyramid? Hang in there - this is good stuff! Meanwhile, if you need to take a break and read something a little lighter, see my post from Friday. This week I’m going to talk about Stage 3: Company. This is all about how your success team can influence your company to provide programs that engage customers.
Recap - How the Model Works
The 4 stages on the pyramid are different areas where customers engage.
- Product = your company’s offering
- Success Team = customer-facing parts of your organization
- Company = your organization and brand as a whole
- Community = group of your customers or users
If your customers are engaged they should be able to make the statements on the right about each stage. Start from the bottom of the pyramid and work your way up.
I mentioned in a prior post that there are stages in this model that your customer success team controls and other stages that they can only influence. Obviously your success team doesn’t control your entire company, so moving to this stage of engagement can’t happen without the help of other teams. Given that, I’ve listed some ideas you can use to help make it easier for other teams to recognize the value of customer engagement, and implement programs that move your brand toward its peak.
“Your Company takes my feedback seriously.”
The challenge here is that while the customer success team is generally the group hearing the feedback, they typically aren’t the ones who can use the feedback to drive change. Too often there is no formal communication between success and product or engineering, and customer requests are lost in the day-to-day of a busy organization. So, how do you fix this?
- Have multiple collection points – you should be gathering feedback in many different ways: a feedback button on your website, calls to your sales and success reps, a page in your customer portal. Different customers have different ways they prefer to provide feedback, and you should be prepared to accept it from a variety of different sources and then…
- Develop standard records – everything you get from customers should be funneled into a single, standard record format that lets you easily sort and categorize what customers are telling you. Turn that data into a report that will help you prioritize the feedback you’re getting from your customers and…
- Establish a regular task-force meeting – this is where you’ll hand off the feedback you’ve gathered to the teams who can use it to make a difference. The more comprehensive and specific the data, the more likely these other teams will understand the importance of the feedback and execute the changes so you can…
- Report back to your customers – a lot of companies miss out on this critical bit. Customers don’t spend as much time thinking about your product or service as you do. In order for them to know that you made the changes they asked for, you have to tell them. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of a CSM’s job, and creates a lot of loyalty!
One of The Success League’s contributors, Natalie Macks, recently wrote an article that covers the specifics of a system like this. I recommend reading it if you don’t already have something in place.
“Your Company provides opportunities to learn about my field.”
If you work for a smaller company, this might need to be a joint effort between the success and marketing teams. Larger companies sometimes have a training or professional services group that can help educate customers on your field as a whole. Anything your company can do to give your customers opportunities to learn and grow will increase engagement and improve loyalty. Here are a few ideas I’ve seen work well:
- Webinars - invite an industry leader to speak about a topic of general interest. (Be sure this isn’t a sales pitch for your product.)
- Meetups – have one of your executives talk about a topic of general relevance to the industry. (Again, avoid the sales pitch if your goal is engagement.)
- User Conferences – while user conferences generally include sessions on your product, you should also include sessions on your industry. If there is an association that provides certification within your industry, see if you can have a few of these sessions count as credit toward certification.
- Certification Credit – if there is a certification program in your industry, consider sponsoring your top users, offering a scholarship program or even just offering up your site as a location for certification classes.
- User Connections – provide introductions between the junior and senior users from different companies. These relationships can provide education on both sides, and start to develop your user community (which we’ll discuss next week!)
“Your Company gives back in ways I like.”
I know that all of you can think of a brand you love because of the ways they give back to their industry, their community or the world. If you work for one of these awesome companies, make sure the success team participates! If your company doesn’t already do this, your success team can start driving change within your company by being the leaders who kick this off. In any community there are ways you and your team can help – soup kitchens, food banks, animal shelters, cleanup, building housing – the list is almost endless. Don’t just do this for the publicity. Pick something you like and do it because you actually care. If you’re the only team in the company giving back, spread the word by inviting other teams to participate with you. You’ll find that when you serve as leaders and have fun doing it, other teams will want to follow.
Next week we’ll talk about how your customer Community can engage other customers for you, with a little structure and help. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear about the creative ways your company is creating customer loyalty and engagement!
Need help getting other leaders in your company to understand why customer engagement matters? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that can quantify the value that engaged customers bring to your brand. www.TheSuccessLeague.io