Chief Information Officer

Sr. Customer-Success Manager at Signavio on the Value of Customer-Success Management

Jim Smith, Senior Customer Success Manager at Signavio, reviewed the value to the business of the customer-success program and manager.

“In order to relate my conversation to information security, we can tie it to transforming your business. If nothing else, it could be a kind of cross training,” stated Smith at the outset of his thought leadership presentation at the 2017 Information Technology and Security Forum held on December 7 in Boston. He then asked for a show of hands of how many members of the audience had a customer-success program in their organization. About half the audience raised their hands.

“The goal is to make sure we’re setting up expectations for the customer so nothing is left to interpretation. We want to make sure our customers hit the ground running, get the most from our products and services, and we make their transition from purchase to operation as seamless as possible. The vendor’s goal is to help customers along this journey to ensure their continuous improvement and success with new products. We do this with training, coaching, and nurturing,” Smith stated.

“The goal of any customer-success program is to make the customer’s transition from purchase to operation as seamless as possible.”

“Ultimately, we want to understand what customers are doing, what their goals are, and what their roadblocks are. We need to do business reviews to make sure they’re getting the most value from our services, that we’re hitting the mark in meeting those goals, and how to improve if we’re not,” he said.

“The biggest and most important part of customer success is onboarding—setting expectations from the get-go. We need to convey to customers how this process is going to proceed and give them a general timeline of how long it will take to get them up and running. We begin with a sales hand-off. Salespeople are the first point of contact for customers, and they have a lot of information about them that we need to proceed most efficiently,” Smith explained.

“Next, we want to have a kick-off call and educate customers on how we’re getting their systems up and running. We want to provide guided tours for both the admins and the users of our services and software. We need to have a success plan on paper so that when we have business reviews, we can demonstrate where we hit the mark or fell short.”

“The biggest and most important part of customer success is onboarding—setting expectations from the get-go. We need to convey to customers how this process is going to proceed and give them a general timeline of how long it will take to get them up and running.”

Smith continued, “We need to give our customers best practices, nurture them through the process, and help them through roadblocks. It’s essential that customers get a good feeling from the word ‘go’ about our services to reduce churn,” he said.

“What do customer-success managers do? They know a lot about products, services, use cases, and customer stories—which are useful for sales and marketing. We have to know contract terms and be constantly communicating, coaching, and training. We drive user adoption and retention through all kinds of engagement and interactions.”

In closing, Smith stated, “If you don’t yet have a customer-success manager, think about hiring someone with a diverse background that can do a lot of different things, who’s both technical and customer-facing, who can do webinars and other such presentations. We have to know the roadmaps of our products to explain to customers and get customer feedback to convey to product managers. In my opinion, the customer-success manager maintains the most relationships throughout the organization.”

“We have to know the roadmaps of our products to explain to customers and get customer feedback to convey to product managers. In my opinion, the customer-success manager maintains the most relationships throughout the organization.”

ABOUT JIM SMITH:

Jim is Signavio’s Senior Customer Success Manager. Jim meets with and onboards all of Signavio’s customers based in the Americas. Once activated, Jim provides training, shares best practices, and offers ongoing coaching to ensure all Signavio customers are successful in their business transformation journey.

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