Customer Success - Simplified!!

by Madhur Kulkarni

"Wow, this is exactly what I wanted", said one of my client during a project initiation presentation. I got a smile on my face. Then I wondered, is this really customer success? What if the same customer came back after few months and has issues with final project delivery? How and when is the right time to measure customer success and what really it is?

I would like to compare customer success to an athletics relay race; it has many contributors, different connecting hands and a common goal. It cannot be just obtained by having a good project initiation or delivering a strong sales presentation or even by promising to deliver what the customer is looking for. It is much more than that. Like a relay race, customer success needs to be achieved by various team members by performing at different stages of a project lifecycle to collectively complete the circuit aka project in our case.

A typical customer success story starts from a point where sales has been initialized until the project has been delivered. It doesn’t stop there either; it needs to continue through support, follow-ups and many other future engagements with the same customer.

As I embark with Saviant Consulting (@Saviant) by leading their Customer Success & Delivery group, my focus is to accomplish customer success by not only delivering projects on time but also "putting on the customer hat myself" to understand their vision, plan their roadmap and ensure value throughout the project lifecycle.

Based on my previous successful engagements with customers, I would like to highlight TOP 10 of building blocks to achieve "Customer Success" -

  1. Vision: Work closely with customers to better understand their end-to-end vision.
  2. Feedback: Provide value to customer discussions with recommendations & feedback.
  3. Ethics: Do business the right way to gain customer faith.
  4. Business focus: Understand customers’ functional domain to better know their business.
  5. Attention to detail: Support your decisions with detail analysis at every stage.
  6. Prompt Service: Ensure quick responses to customer needs.
  7. Communication: Be a good listener and understand what customer is really looking for
  8. Quality delivery: Ensure zero compromises on quality.
  9. On-time: Honor timelines and share periodic updates during project lifecycle.
  10. Support: Run that extra mile to support customers’ needs proactively.

At end of the day, a happy customer is the right way forward.

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