What does it take to excel at delivering your solution or service? How do you build a customer-facing organization or process that ensures your customer’s experience is as amazing as your product? How do you build a foundation of services that can sustain and perpetuate itself as your company grows, so you aren’t forever re-inventing the wheel and putting out fires all day long?
These are the sort of challenges that all leaders in Customer Success face daily. Here, we will attempt to provide some useful building blocks for you and your organization to excel in meeting and exceeding your clients’ needs.
Understand that there are some table stakes required to begin talking about service delivery. Specifically, we need to already know that the services being provided are of stellar quality. If an actual deliverable (the product or service) is lacking, leaking, or broken, you’d do well to prioritize fixing those issues ahead of elevating the quality of your service delivery.
Shoddy services can temporarily be hidden by exemplary service delivery, for sure; but probably not quite long enough to get a customer to renew their contract, or to sing your praises to friends and associates. Think of an amazing wait staff serving food at a restaurant that only inconsistently manages to produce delicious meals. The staff won’t be able to explain away a terrible meal very easily, and certainly not for very long.
So, with the premise that your organization does produce a great deliverable, how do you actually deliver it effectively? The answer lies in cultivating an incredible customer experience – the journey on which a client embarks with your company, your team, and your actual services.
To succeed, an organization’s commitment to customer experience should be pervasive and infuse everything the company does on a daily basis. To that end, you might want to start with a battle cry – something for your company to rally behind and see as the one true driver of real success. It should embody and remind all players what it takes to successfully deliver the great products and services your organization creates. Consider it a singular guiding light that will influence all activities and decisions throughout a client engagement. At BFO, we strive to embody a persistent customer goal-vision as our battle cry:
Persistent Customer Goal-Vision
We breathe life into this Customer Goal-Vision by resonating everything we do with the client’s goal, in the client’s language, and for the client’s purpose.
Sounds like an easy solution to great service delivery, right? Well, it’s not. It’s hard to keep a team focused on the client’s goals. Things get lost in translation all the time regarding a client’s language. And it can sometimes feel like extra effort to strive toward the client’s purpose above all else.
There’s a lot of work and effort required of client relationship managers to embody and live this battle cry. It requires selfless thinking, and a humility in knowing that the wonderful things your company does – these “great services” – are not actually the things for which your customers pay. The customer pays you to help them achieve their own goals. If you focus solely on your solutions and services, you risk being confined by a myopathy which neglects the customer entirely.
To use the restaurant analogy again, think about serving patrons a 5-star meal on paper plates and in plastic cups, under florescent lights, while having to listen to a frantic kitchen staff yell at each other throughout the meal. The food might be stupendous, but the diners who bought the meal, perhaps to celebrate a wedding anniversary, will be hard-pressed to appreciate it. Why? Because you paid no attention to their customer experience – the context within which they take in and appreciate the meal you served. A great 5-star wedding anniversary dinner experience is only partly dependent upon the food. If you don’t consider why the couple came to your restaurant, beyond just the great food which they expect as table stakes, you place their customer experience in jeopardy. If the experience fails, the product or service will not likely save the day.
It takes a pervasive commitment to the customer experience across all facets of a business to deliver great customer service. Relying solely on your product or solution will not be enough. If you can find ways to regularly remind yourself of this need to focus on the customer’s engagement with your service above the service itself, you will be much further along to delivering a fantastic customer experience as an organization.
How do you, then, infuse a persistent customer goal-vision effectively into day-to-day operations, so you’re not just talking about a lofty vision? How does this rubber meet the road? It requires a focus on empathy, expectations, and communication, all of which we will explore more deeply in upcoming posts.
Until then, feel free to check out our ebook on how to find the right agency for your business.