Does IT need a Customer Success Team?

Is it time for IT in non-technology companies to create a Customer Success team? I had coffee yesterday with the managing partner at a technology consulting firm. They focus on strategy and methodology, primarily for business technology consumers. It’s a successful practice with over thirty customers, and she had not yet heard about Customer Success teams.

Is it time for IT in non-technology companies to create Customer Success teams? I had coffee yesterday with the managing partner at a technology consulting firm. They focus on strategy and methodology, primarily for business technology consumers. It’s a successful practice with over thirty customers, and she had not yet heard about Customer Success.

In the technology product space, Customer Success has reached a tipping point. Customer Success is the evolution of account management and professional services, combined. It is a big enough shift in how to approach customer relationships that it warrants a new name. When I first had the title “Vice President Customer Success” in 2006, it was not something people had heard of. People wanted my business card so they could see it in writing. Nowadays, if you are a technology company and don’t have a Customer Success group, you are behind. There are Customer Success meetup groups, and SaaS solutions that are “Customer Success” solutions.

If you are in IT, and you were to create a Customer Success team, it would mean the following:

  • A dedication to knowing who your customers are. I would expect this includes the other departments of your company, probably some of their customers, and hopefully the customers that provide your company with revenue.
  • Understand how your customers determine value. Don’t just think about their label (Accounting, Store Managers, etc…) – understand the persona – what they do and how they derive value from technology.
  • Know how you are providing value to your customers. What actions of yours help your customers derive that value from technology. Do you maintain systems, customize solutions, run a help desk, etc…
  • Create ways to track and measure your value delivery. Not just with questions and surveys, but also by such means as how many help desk tickets they open, and the average response rate, how much they use the technology that’s been implemented or built, how many projects have they requested, etc…
  • Maintain proactive relationships with your internal customers. You not only understand them, but are able to suggest solutions and solve problems before they may know they need them.

If you are looking for a holistic view of your internal customers, what they need, and how well you are delivering it to them, then you either need a Customer Success team, or something that acts a lot like one.

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This was originally posted on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140903131504-4190039-does-it-need-customer-success-teams. I am experimenting with different mediums to get my messages out. I will report on my findings when I have something to report.

 

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