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Customer Experience Management through service…beyond operational metrics

We all like graphs! It’s something that comes natural, especially in the customer support business. We all want to know where we stand when it comes to response times, ticket volumes, resolution times, top issues, CSAT, NPS, etc. And all of that is more than ok to measure, as it helps us improve our customer support operations and services.

Reports, whether dynamically generated or periodic, help us to have a clear understanding of how we are doing, so we can diagnose issues, implement actions/changes and then measure again, to hopefully confirm a positive impact.

Design, monitor and measure in alignment with Ideal Customer Experience

But how do we measure our customer’s experience with our product or brand? How do we perform customer experience management when it comes to support and service. That is not something that is easily achieved, and operational metrics like CSAT do not tell the whole story. We must come up with ways to LISTEN to the Voice of the Customer (VOC) along all the key touchpoints in our customer’s journey. Many of those, we know, happen as the customer interacts with our support and service teams. Whatever we measure needs to be aligned with the “ideal” customer experience we’d like for our product or brand to deliver. For example, what is a given customer (or persona) willing to do and not willing to do in order to contact us for a solution (e.g. yes to calling on the phone, but no to self-searching our KB)?, and what does the data tell us about how we’re complying with those wishes?

Monitoring our adherence to the right “hows” of delivering the ideal customer experience is an art, not a science, and must start with mapping the customer journey so that we know what those key touchpoints and moments-of-truth are in the first place. Then comes the creative process of deciding how we’re going to deliver (talent, channels, coverage, policies, etc) and what we must pay attention to on the back end. That will will most certainly need a combination of operational metrics and our observation of customer behavior and feedback any way that makes sense.

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The Customer Experience is Key to Growth and Profitability on the Cloud

The Cloud business model is probably the biggest breakthrough in computing since the invention of windows-based software.
By offering applications and functionality on a subscription basis, software companies are becoming more like services companies than product companies.

Salesforce.com may not have pioneered the software-as-a-service model, but they, more than any other company, popularized it and made the concept a part of everyday life among SMBs and in the corporate world.

Thousands of cloud companies have followed suit, offering anything from accounting applications to business analytics platforms.

The Cloud land grab

The Cloud application and computing movement is undergoing a fast-growth land grab. Start-ups in every possible vertical market imaginable, and now the largest and most important ISVs, are scrambling to become the dominate players in their niche on the cloud. The key to dominating their market and locking out the competition is a fast-growth strategy.

Additionally, because of the pay-as-you-go business model, cloud companies must make up in volume what their brethren ten or fifteen years ago charged in high enterprise software license fees and services.

Cloud application companies have subsequently focused on acquiring as many customers as quickly as possible.

But to become profitable, they need loyal customers

And this presents an interesting Catch-22.

The key to cloud profitability is to maximize the lifetime value of their customers. This requires customers to renew their contracts with them every year or every month, as they case may be.

On the cloud, the customer is king, and happy customers drive SaaS business model ROI.
To achieve the customer’s loyalty, Cloud companies must deliver an exceptional experience. On the other hand, in their bid to grow as quickly as they can, customer satisfaction and experience may suffer.

Hence the Catch-22.

Cloud companies need to create advocates and avoid detractors

But it’s not just customer renewals Cloud companies should be concerned with. In order to sustain the level of growth they need to dominate their niche, Cloud companies must enhance their in-house marketing and sales efforts with the efforts of a committed, passionate cadre of customer advocates.

These are customers who love the service so much they will proactively, and without prompting, spread the word via their social graph about their Cloud service provider.

Cloud-based companies must also avoid detractors, customers who will spread the word about bad customer experiences on their social graph.

So what’s the solution for all this?

A Customer Experience Delivery System

The key to keeping customers happy, ensuring renewals and developing customer advocates, while maintaining a fast rate of growth, is to implement a Customer Experience Delivery System.

A customer experience delivery system must begin by determining the ideal experience for your target customer from a customer care, customer support perspective. That IDE will then allow you to design the HOW that experience will be delivered to your clients. This includes looking at every touchpoint, designing the right services for customer success (onboarding, implementation, training, technical support, premium support, social engagement), and combining people, processes and technology to ensure your customers enjoy the best possible experience.

Call it customer success, customer support, customer care, this is taking care of your customer in the 21st century, and something the Cloud economy has brought to the forefront in a big way!

 

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