Have you noticed that customer success is quickly becoming a big deal? In a recent study, LinkedIn reported a mammoth 736% increase in customer success management roles since 2015, making it one of the top 10 fastest growing careers, with 72% of these professionals working in software and IT industries. This explosion in numbers and emphasis within IT is fundamentally due to a power shift between the vendor and consumer. The tables have turned, largely due to the growth in subscription-based consumption models, which have appointed the customer as king.
The result is that businesses can no longer compete on product or service alone for a transactional sale, but must now focus on providing a first-class experience, delivering on the promises of sales teams to prove value.
So, what is Customer Success?
Put simply, the role of customer success is to ensure that the customer gains full value from the investment they have made in technology and that their desired outcomes are achieved. Customer Success is a proactive and data-driven discipline, with engagement focused on results and performance and emphasis on working in partnership with the customer.
Doing it right.
Although still in its relative infancy as a discipline, the growth in subscription-based models has clearly driven businesses to clamber to appoint people in ‘success’ based roles. As Cisco shifts its business to a more cloud orientated model, traditional partners face something of a conundrum – do they resist and hope for the best? Do they show willing for the sake of alignment with Cisco? Or do they fully embrace the true concept of customer success?
When I joined ITGL I was presented with the opportunity to lead the Client Success team. Moving from another Cisco partner, I had a deep knowledge of Cisco collaboration and a growing passion for delivering success. I was aware of ITGL’s pedigree as a Cisco partner at the time, but the thing that struck me most about the opportunity was the ‘top-down’ mentality already in place to ensure a first-class experience for its clients. This notion was underpinned by the knowledge, expertise, and commitment of the wider team to deliver excellence. It was clear ITGL was not just trying to fill a job title for alignment with Cisco, or to follow the ‘success’ trend in the market, but it was on a journey to create a unique experience for its clients: building a business with the client at the heart of everything.
At ITGL, both the Client Success and Client Experience teams work side by side to deliver this. The Client Experience team, led by Samuel Cordery, is tasked with understanding the client journey and ensures the delivery of a first-class experience across the board. The Client Success team ensures that the client’s desired business outcomes are achieved, creating a roadmap that takes a client from onboarding through adoption and beyond. It is our approach to delivering in these two areas that set us apart from the crowd, and we’re confident that no other Cisco partner is as committed or passionate about delivering on the promise of client centricity.
Client vs Customer
Wait, client success? I thought we were talking about customer success? Ok so we’re a little different at ITGL, but different is good. We take pride in the fact that we have clients, not customers. Our relationship is one of partnership and consultancy, and from the outset of the engagement with us we provide a level of service and expertise that elevates our relationship beyond that of a customer and vendor. A client is not just another customer or part of a commodity sale to us, but someone who trusts us to work with them to challenge, lead, and support them in making the best decisions for their business.
Checking our Pulse
Next week ITGL will be refining its skills at Pulse 19. Pulse is the world’s largest customer success event, held annually in San Francisco. Over 5,000 customer success professionals will converge to network, share success stories, and impart knowledge. It’s a fantastic opportunity to hear from a host of SaaS industry leaders and thought leaders in the field, including Cisco’s own Chief Customer Experience Officer, Maria Martinez.
Look out for my next blog where I’ll be reporting back on what we learned from the event.
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