We're excited to be joined this week by guest blogger, Manoj Jonna, the Vice President of Customer Success at YayPay. His article tackles the importance of considering the customer's perspective when designing a customer success program. Enjoy!
By Manoj Jonna
As an up and coming customer success team at YayPay we did what most of our peers would do – read every good book in the market on customer success. The literature was plenty and so were the schools of thought. While the collective wisdom of the customer success experts led us down the right path, we sought to close the knowledge loop. One of the things we learned very early on at YayPay was that customers know best. When it doubt, ask your customers. And so we did.
A lot of what we learned was in line with conventional notions of customer success. However, we picked up on a couple of things that our customers identified as critical value drivers.
“Customer success means subject matter expertise”
One of the common themes that emerged from our discussions with customers was subject matter expertise. Our customers expected subject matter expertise both at the product level and at the domain level. Knowing your product inside and out is simply no longer enough.
From a practical perspective, for customer success teams, this translates into two things. First, customer success leaders must ensure that their teams are equipped with the right expertise. The choice is either to hire those with pre-existing domain knowledge or to fill knowledge gaps with comprehensive training. Since these options will inevitably impact budgets and consequently pricing, customer success leaders may need to plan accordingly.
Second, customer success teams must identify the simplest yet most effective method to showcase subject matter expertise. At YayPay, to demonstrate our knowledge of accounts receivables, content is our tool of choice. Beyond newsletter and email campaigns, our customers find live webinars a popular method of relaying subject matter expertise.
When your customers look up to you for knowledge beyond product guidance, you’ve laid the foundation for lasting trust.
“Customer success means engagement”
Another word repeated in many of our customer conversations was engagement. “We like to be engaged,” said a Controller of a well-known software company in New York. That statement, simple as it may sound, begets another question. What exactly does engagement mean?
To a few, it meant seeking customer feedback on the product. To some, it meant the occasional in-person coffee or lunch. To others, it meant periodic check-in calls and quarterly business reviews. Although engagement meant different things for different customers, the desire to feel ‘connected’ ties it all together. Perhaps this isn’t much different from what we all crave for, as people. The rules of engagement in a social context apply to customer interactions as well, albeit with a little more polish.
Of course, the method of engagement will largely depend on the customer success delivery model and customer expectations. In-app engagement via your product may very well be just as effective as engagement via an in-person meeting. The critical question is whether your engagement method connects with your customer at a fundamental, human level. Regardless, all engagement goes a long way in building lasting customer relationships.
If you are a customer success team that is looking for answers, they may very well lie with your customers. Ask and you shall receive.
Looking for tips to better improve your knowledge of your customers? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers online training and workshops on core CS topics like Asking Great Questions and Customer Goals & Outcomes. For more information on these and our other classes and workshops, please visit TheSuccessLeague.io
Manoj Jonna - Manoj is Vice President of Customer Success at YayPay, an Accounts Receivables Automation Platform. After spending nearly a decade working with fast growing early stage and mid-market companies, Manoj has developed a keen interest in finance transformation. Prior to YayPay, he worked as investment banker at Deloitte Corporate Finance where he represented businesses on M&A transactions. As a former CPA at Grant Thornton, Manoj worked closely with CFOs on business process improvement. He is a graduate of Georgetown Law.