Karen Russell’s insightful article, “6 Mistakes That Can Sabotage The Success Of Your Customer,” sums up a lot of the problems we often see with our Saas or Enterprise clients as they transition from making software dreams a reality. As more companies realize that concerted efforts on customer success will yield better adoption and better business outcomes, these mistakes can interfere with realizing the full business value of a system.
Whether you are the client or the vendor, the goal is not introducing a slick new technology but putting the systems and processes in place to make that technology effective.
On the list, #4 is “Being the Expert,” and it is perhaps the hardest to overcome because most customer success managers are not trained to be coaches, though that is exactly what is needed. The role of a coach is to “give them the skills, techniques, routines, and exercises to make them 1st on the podium.” But before you can be the expert, you need to become the expert. This is where a lot of customer success managers struggle. They are fluent in their technology, and the functionality that it offers but providing the right tools and exercises to get the customer or a team to adopt the technology can be daunting. This part of the role requires more than just account management or customer service. Developing and implementing those tools can be time consuming and ineffective. Not every customer success manager is also an organizational development expert or has a degree in change management. And for those who are, the demands of their “day job” crowd out the skillful methodology behind a truly effective adoption program.
In order for customer success managers to bring value to their clients, they need guidance in the why, what, and how of driving adoption and what barriers they will likely overcome on the way. Since software adoption is not a technology issue, they need to not only know what might be slowing down adoption but why the customer is facing challenges and, even more importantly, how to address those challenges. Here are three ways that your people can become the experts you need them to be:
- Myth Busting: There are a lot of misunderstandings about the true challenges behind software adoption. Understanding the latest trends and methodology behind solving those issues will keep your team on track addressing the deeper issues behind your customer’s adoption issues, rather than scratching the surface.
- Action Plan: Once your team can identify the issues behind software adoption, they need a plan to address them. Developing goals with the customer is key to gaining an understanding of their goals and how best they can receive the full value of your system.
- Communications: Your team needs to work with the customer to bring adoption beyond the software project team. This is where becoming the expert turns the technology project into a value-driven enterprise across your customer’s business.
This doesn’t mean you have to re-educate your customer success team. There are customer success automation tools and training that can give your customer success managers insights and techniques for overcoming adoption barriers.
Organizations like ours are devoted to bringing your customer success team up to speed on the methodology behind software adoption, how to deploy tools and techniques to drive adoption, and how to measure success with an out of the box solution that you don’t have to create. Once your Customer Success Managers become the experts, they will have the ability to deliver not only service but also value to your customers.