It’s safe to say being proud of the work you do and working for a company you believe in makes getting out of bed on a Monday morning a lot easier. The rewards that come with doing a job you are proud of and gaining expertise along the way are powerful motivators, but how does this impact your ability to take a step back and really listen to what it is that your customers need? By taking pride in your work and being confident in it because of your expertise, are you building in subjectivity, bias and ego at the expense of customer success?

Expertise is such a fascinating conundrum. On the one hand, without it there would be no means to create truly great solutions, but on the other, it poses a very great risk of leading us down a path of assuming we know best. It's risky, because the environment that most businesses operate in is one where there is unprecedented choice. Customers have the expectation and power to have their needs met by products and services that are individually tailored just to them.  

The question you have to ask yourself is — how do you make sure your expertise is channelled into work that you know results in customer success, rather than work that you just think is great?  

Committing to Customer-Centricity Is the First Step

The answer has to be putting your customers at the heart of everything you do, and the first step along that path is understanding what it is your customers need. A simple enough notion, but in reality, understanding customers and implementing the tools and structures necessary to maintain focus and understanding is not easy.  

In my work, I see a lot of clients who have made the decision to be customer-centric. This is a great first step, but is simply the starting point. To be an organization that truly bakes customer success into the core takes more than simple redirection. A great deal of effort needs to go into changing the organization’s culture and processes to ensure staff feel confident they understand, are enabled and supported to get behind this new direction. There must be an ongoing commitment to measuring, reporting and understanding the implication of customer success for your business, and how internal decision making, and performance measurement impacts true customer centricity within the organization.

Below are our top 10 tips on how to make customer success your focus.

Related Article: What it Takes to Design Your Business for Customer Success

1. Understand What Customer Success Means

Remove the assumptions from your work by taking the time to engage directly with your customers to discover what they need, what is influencing and shaping their needs and how they define success.

2. Identify What You Are Currently Measuring

Conduct an audit of how your organization currently measures customer experience — what are you tracking? Do you have a view on the current customer satisfaction levels? Are you reporting on initiatives that were undertaken to change customer sentiment or engagement, and if so, do you know why they succeeded or failed?  

3. Establish Your Starting Benchmarks

Once you have an idea of what you have been tracking, you can establish your starting benchmarks. Where is your organization today? It is also important at this point to look to your industry and competitors to establish what best in class looks like.     

4. Set Meaningful Goals and Create a Customer Centric Strategy

Now that you have established where you are and how you compare to your peers, it is time to start setting some goals for where you would like to be. Make sure your goals are big enough in the long-term to give people something to strive for but attainable enough in the short- and medium-term to make sure that there is ongoing success.

Related Article: Innovation and Alignment: A Customer Experience Leader's Harmonic Convergence

5. Set in Place Tools and Mechanisms to Measure Progress

Ensure you have the right mechanism to be able to measure your progress. If you cannot effectively measure your progress, you have no way of knowing whether you are succeeding.

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6. Report on Your Progress

Make the progress visible. Be honest and transparent with the business on how your efforts are working. Find the relevant forum to celebrate the successes, tell the good news stories, and equally report on what is not working — and adapt your approach as often as needed.

7. Report on Customer Wins as Well as Business Wins

Report on metrics that are not only meaningful from a customer perspective, but demonstrate how customer success has a tangible impact on business success.

Identify what a compelling conversation on ROI is for your organization. Does a better customer experience contribute to higher conversion rates? Are there reductions in internal customer service costs, marketing costs or shifts in brand perception, and what does this mean for the profitability and value of your business?

8. Establish Performance Measurements that Reward Customer Centricity

Being truly customer centric as an organization hinges on everyone in the organization putting people at the heart of what they do. When trying to change internal behaviors be sure to reward and recognize people for their efforts.

Related Article: There's No Business Without Customer Success Business

9. Be Open to Make Big Changes

Putting customers first is a tough decision, because at times it means entering uncharted territory and making big changes.

Nothing embeds customer centricity like seeing tangible commitment in decision making. Make the tough decisions. Short-term upheaval is insignificant in comparison to the long-term gain.

10. Keep Evolving

You are never going to get everything right the first time around so be adaptable, learn and keep evolving your approach.

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