Much of today’s dialogue around customer success is focused on how customer success managers (CSMs) can structure processes, manage handoffs, and coach customers to long-term success. But like any good relationship, the best outcomes happen when both parties are working constructively to achieve success.
While it is the vendor’s responsibility to set expectations with the customer and gain their buy-in for onboarding services and support, the customer can help facilitate this process too. In this blog post, we celebrate our customers with the 5 ways they’ve collaborated with us to drive successful business outcomes.
1. Communicate clear success criteria
Successful customers are able to articulate what success looks like and communicate with their vendors to achieve the results. It’s critical to understand the big picture, desired success metrics, and key stakeholders and deadlines.
For example, many Skilljar customers have chosen to launch new certification programs at their annual user conferences, and measure success by the number of new certified users within a certain time period. With this context, we can help customers track towards their deadline, suggest launch strategies and clever ways to jump-start the certification ecosystem, and highlight data integrations that will enable customers to demonstrate the reporting and ROI they need.
2. Have a primary point of contact
Skilljar primarily works with company executives, training managers and content producers, but we also touch customer success managers, marketing, design, Salesforce admins, IT, legal, and finance. Successful customers often have a primary business champion, usually a training manager or project/program manager, who partners closely with Skilljar’s customer success team to achieve the desired outcomes. Just as customers shouldn’t have to hunt down the various departments within Skilljar to get answers, we’d prefer not to hunt down the various individuals in the customer’s organization in order to help them get results.
Sometimes it’s necessary to have various points of contact depending on the specific topic. For example, some organizations have a person dedicated to certifications. In these cases, it should be clear who the stakeholders are and what they do.
3. Round up internal resources
Customer success and training are both cross-functional in nature, and require support from many different teams. As your partner, Skilljar is invested in your success, and will help you make the case for more resources with other teams. Successful customers are able to marshall internal resources, usually for content creation and Salesforce support, ideally before the project even begins. If resources are ultimately unavailable, successful customers are able to flag this early and work with us to generate interim solutions.
4. Prioritize and organize requests
We love customers who provide lots of feedback – it’s what helps make our product better! In order to get you the most effective results, help us prioritize what’s most important to you, why, and the underlying problem to be solved. For our enterprise customers, we even collaborate on a shared roadmap so that we can both have a clear view on upcoming priorities and feature requests.
As a former product manager myself, I love digging into customer needs and translating those into product solutions. My favorite example is of a customer who requested a different type of CSV report in the Skilljar dashboard user interface. It turns out they were transferring the data into Salesforce manually because they were unaware of our fantastic SFDC App. The much better solution was to simply use the app, a solution which was only uncovered by sharing the underlying business problem and goal.
5. Be responsive
It might be obvious but worth restating – we are all busy people and all of our time is valuable. If a conflict arises, be proactive about rescheduling the meeting. If someone isn’t able to complete a task, let the team know and we’ll adjust the schedule accordingly. If we need input before we can proceed on an item, provide a timely response or at least acknowledge the ask. We’ll certainly do the same for you.
Customer success is a relationship. Your vendors are partners that are invested in your success, and we’d appreciate your help in achieving it. (And if your vendors aren’t partners for you, that’s a separate problem!) Our most successful customer relationships are characterized by clear success criteria, a primary point of contact, the ability to round up internal resources, prioritized requests, and responsive communication.