2 September 2021
These may be new words and concepts to some, but Customer Experience (CX) and Customer Success (CS) have been around for much longer than people realise. The differences between the two are detailed below:
But what do these words mean for Forfusion customers? Why is focusing on customer experience and customer success so important? The phrase "actions speak louder than words" springs to mind.
A significant focus of customer success at Forfusion is ensuring that the business outcomes our customers are striving to achieve are at the core of their Customer Success Plan; this plan is then used to track their customer success metrics. Without a plan, the whole customer experience journey could be anything other than a positive one. Worse still, the customer's business objectives could be hampered and the expected outcomes not realised.
Early planning sessions document and agree on the current business objectives the customer has previously defined and the expected business outcomes they expect to see at the end of the engagement. It is essential that in these early planning stages, as many of the customer's key stakeholders are involved as possible, ensuring complete buy-in to the intent of the Customer Success Plan from the customer's side. A traditional sales model would see the contact between customer and supplier reduce after the initial sales transaction. The focus in customer success is to maintain contact and take the customer on a journey through what is an evolving customer experience lifecycle.
This journey would see the customer guided through the lifecycle stages by their Customer Success Manager (CSM), who is assigned as the point of contact post-sale. Throughout the customer success journey, reference is constantly made to the progress stages recorded within the Customer Success Plan, and all parties share this document for reference.
The major stages a customer will pass through on their customer success journey are detailed below. Whilst there are many vendor-aligned and industry-defined customer success models, we've simplified them for ease of understanding:
At Forfusion, we have an adapted lifecycle model that applies our own take on what we expect a customer success engagement to look like and to uniquely represent what our customers can expect from us throughout the various stages.
An important thing to remember with regard to the Customer Success Plan is that it not only records the defined business objectives, expected outcomes and where the customer is currently on their customer success journey, but it is the complete repository for all the defined mechanisms for measurement across the whole customer success journey. As such, the plan contains:
Working with a customer and focusing on that customer's own set of objectives as well as their business outcomes, the Customer Success Manager will ensure that several areas of value are realised from the technology, services and subscriptions purchased by the time the customer has completed the 'Adoption' stage of their journey. From a high level those value areas are:
If value isn't realised as expected from the purchase, then the customer will not have a good customer experience, making them less likely to have a long-lasting relationship with the supplier or subsequently complete the customer success journey fully.
Ensuring that the customer has a positive experience at every stage of their lifecycle journey with Forfusion will enable them to realise their desired business outcomes. These outcomes were pre-defined and discussed as part of their customer success strategy at the beginning of their engagement with Forfusion and recorded in their Customer Success Plan.
Working closely with you on your customer experience journey has the added benefit of your Customer Success Manager being as close to your business as your own employees. The Customer Success Manager then has the same focus and drive to deliver against your customer set business objectives as they do, so whilst there may be two parties involved, we have one common goal – customer success.
Not all customers want or expect daily contact with their Customer Success Manager. Therefore, Forfusion offers multiple models of engagement for the customer success journey. These are always tailored with the specific end customer in mind and recorded in the Customer Success Plan. So, we can accommodate a broad spectrum of customer demographics; we have high touch, low touch, or digital touch methods available. Thus ensuring communications are always current and relevant, meeting the customer's needs throughout their customer experience journey.
A quarterly customer success review is undertaken for longer-term customer engagements where progress, KPI and milestone achievements are discussed with the customer's key stakeholders. This review is also an excellent opportunity to discuss relevant customer journey stages regarding expansion and renewal, depending on the current stage of the customer lifecycle journey.
There is no better testament to our customer's success than their willingness to speak openly and freely about the positive customer experience they have enjoyed with us and why they continue to work with Forfusion. This advocacy by our customers speaks volumes, and the customer success-driven value realisation they have had demonstrates why we believe so passionately about it. When delivered and embraced by both sides, customer success will provide measurable and tangible benefits to both parties.
Excelling at customer experience is uppermost in all Forfusion employee's minds; it's ingrained into everything we do, from the first sales contact through to technical delivery and our in-life support offering FusionCare. Being embedded in a foundational way ensures it becomes second nature and normalised behaviour to deliver optimal customer experiences rather than an overlay from the top down, which equates to an afterthought.
As a Systems Integrator, we work with many market-leading vendors. However, we have applied our customer experience strategy agnosticially so that it fits all vendors and deliverables alike. Aligning customer experience (CX) to one vendor's model would not offer our customers the best experience, which is always our goal.
This same approach also drives customer success throughout Forfusion. Our customers provide us with a focus that is paramount in our decision to be vendor-agnostic when implementing our customer success (CS) operating model.
This focus on a customer's experience is reinforced because we have paid particular attention to putting together the definition of our technical engagement method, ADIOlogy. It has ensured that customer success has been built into its foundations, which helps deliver positive outcomes at every stage of the journey.
This overall and very holistic approach has completed the wrap of our Digital Transformation services around what is key to Forfusion – the success of our customers.
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