Phil’s knack for problem solving, unstoppable optimism and keen ability to really listen to people makes him the perfect person to drive our customer success activities. Here he sheds some light on what customer success is all about.
What does customer success mean to you?
Customer success is the sum of all the interactions a customer has with our company and how those interactions help them achieve their desired outcomes. Whether it’s picking up the phone and calling us, browsing our website, reading our newsletter or interacting with the product, development, operations or engineering teams, I track the success or failure of these interactions to ultimately measure the service we provide. I view customer success as being much more than a support function and rather a way of working that should be fluent throughout the entire company. It’s about ‘what more I can do’ and ‘what more can we as a business do’ to make our customers more successful.
When it comes to measuring success, objectives are very different at different stages. For example, success criteria for a kiosk project might be the level of engagement on the kiosks or demonstrating that the kiosks are providing ROI. Then we work on a roll-out plan and make sure we deliver on quality at every stage of that plan. And it doesn’t end after the roll-out – we then take a look at how to continually improve the solution by analysing a wide range of data from product to operations to provide insight-driven recommendations.
What drives you when dealing with success activity for customers?
I am always acutely aware that our customers pay our salaries. That means there is only one driver and that is ‘how can we achieve the customer’s goal’. Ultimately, their success means our success. That level of personal engagement is sometimes hard to sustain, but without our customers we are nothing.
Customer success can sometimes be a new concept for our customers. When customer buys a product or service, they just expect it to work, but success goes beyond that. It’s about helping customers get more from a product and how to provide demonstrable proof that they are getting more from it. I want our customers to feel ecstatic about the level of service they get from us. Then I want them to spread the word! Being good isn’t good enough, you need to aim to be awesome.
What wider challenges are operators facing at the moment within the industry?
With the global economic outlook uncertain, it’s a challenging time for both businesses and consumers and today, unlike 20 years ago, consumers are much more demanding. They expect more from the brands they associate with. They expect a minimum level of service for less money precisely because they have less money.
Technology can make it easier for operators to meet that demand but in some ways it also creates a challenge because consumers quickly become used to a certain level of service and, when they go somewhere that doesn’t have it, they might view it as a negative. Adopting technology quickly enough, while doing it in a way that’s sustainable and successful, is an operator’s biggest challenge.
Do you see any trends emerging around customer success goals?
The two most common goals I see among operators are enriching the guest experience and generating additional revenue to improve ROI. Providing an outstanding guest experience is so important for brands in this digitally enabled world because customers always remember bad service and thanks to social media, bad news travels fast. The reality is that one small detail can do significant damage to a brand in a matter of hours so operators have to constantly ensure their guests’ experience is not only enriched but it is as good as it can possibly be – every time.
What lessons have you learned in your customer success role?
I think it’s so important to make the whole customer success process personal. You need people to want to go the extra mile, and not just do it because you’ve asked. I know when I’ve done the job right when I hear about a customer hitting their own success metrics. Positive feedback is key for me, but you often don’t get it unless you ask for it and that’s where the continual cycle of improvement and communication comes in.