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Adopting a Customer Success Mindset

“Customer success” has become quite the buzzword the last several years.  Just like a CDO (Chief Digital Officer), every SaaS company that truly wanted to be a contender started to introduce Heads / VP’s of Customer Success, CS managers, CS teams, and the like.

This shift in mind-set was long overdue, so good for them.  The shift was needed to help ensure customer-centricity finally had a home within an organization.  Many of the services and products we sell today have become too complex for our customers to use at any degree of sophistication without proper onboarding and on-going user education.  We aren’t all selling physical products anymore, but solutions and software you can’t touch or feel.  Additionally, our customers aren’t always buying turn-key solutions to their problems, but more so solutions that have a learning curve needing to be overcome prior to achieving the efficiency that was promised.  Without a customer success mindset or plan, a lot of time software or services end up costing more time and money than they are worth, ultimately leading the customer to fail and jump to the next product or service that has a new promise.

Enter the Customer Success mindset. 

Whether you have a customer success team in place or not, you can start implementing a customer success mindset.  Your organization can do this by simply asking one question during every interaction with your customers: “Do I enable this customer to achieve the desired outcome?”

The “desired outcome” is a term coined by Lincoln Murphy et al a few years ago.

“The desired outcome is very simple. It’s what the customer needs to achieve in the way they need to achieve it. There’s the desired outcome, and then there’s their appropriate experience. When you bring those two things together, you get the desired outcome.”

It doesn’t take a customer success team to introduce this mindset to your organization. Allow, enable, and empower your employees to go the extra mile for themselves and continue their education. Allow them to evaluate what is more important during a support interaction: their company’s reputation or being correct in that instance? When the stakes are high, you need to define at which point they have to come to their managers, executives – to you – for guidance.  Answers like “There is nothing I can do.” or “Sorry, but these are the rules.” “Too bad, but it is what it is,” need to be exchanged for “Let me see what I/we can do,” or “I can offer you this alternative (solution) or compromise in order to enhance your experience.”

A customer success mindset is not about always saying “yes”, but about saying “no” less often. Having an organization that lives the customer success mindset only requires training, employee enablement/engagement, and solution-driven attitudes towards customer interaction(s) that ultimately lead to their success by creating the “desired outcome”.

After all, the customer’s experience is largely driven by the interaction they have with you and your employees, versus the actual solution or service itself.  Making sure they work towards achieving a successful deployment gets your organization a big step closer towards having a true customer success mindset.

About Maurice: Maurice Hofmann is a serial entrepreneur, marketing and customer success specialist, who is known for his innovative drive as well as his ability to lead cross functional teams to achieve the highest level of success. In his 25-year-spanning career, he has experienced all aspects of marketing, working in various global roles spread across TV production, Army ‘Psychological Operations, owner of a Brand Experience agency, or as a leader of marketing departments for several software companies, start-ups, and as a M&A consultant.

Maurice is the Global Vice President of Customer Success at Open-Xchange, Inc., responsible to guide OX’s customers like GoDaddy, Altice, Orange or TalkTalk towards the highest level of sustainable success at marketing the various products of the Open-Xchange Group. He holds an MBA in Marketing from the University of Liverpool, UK.

He is currently finalizing his book “Roadmap to Marketing Success for start-ups, product launches or career changers”, which will be released at the midpoint of 2020. Follow Maurice on Twitter as @moreeze.

About the Free Agent:  Are you an executive leader looking to expand your reach?  The Free Agent works with executive-level Subject Matter Experts on an interim, fractional, or full-time basis.  Our number one priority is to be the connective-tissue between high-value executives and the companies that need them most.  Please reach out should you be interested in learning more about how we can help you.

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