thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
How to engage for customer experience and success

How to engage for customer experience and success

It is time for a stake in the ground again. Of late, every vendor who used to play in the CRM arena positions itself as a „customer experience“ player and claims that its software “delivers customer experiences”. This is quite a claim. It also raises a lot of important questions. What is “customer experience”? And who is responsible for it? How does “customer experience” differ from “customer experiences”? What is the difference to customer engagement? How do they relate to customer expectations? And then there is “customer success”, too. What about customer satisfaction? Finally, how does CRM fit into the picture? As you can see, there is a lot of scope for confusion. And this confusion has definitely materialized. So, let’s start with some definitions Friend and industry luminary Paul Greenberg has ventured here already back in 2015 (and before). Still, as time moves, the industry evolves, and things tend to get forgotten, let me take another stab at it. The more fundamental concepts are perhaps engagement, followed by customer expectation and customer success. You can also watch my take on customer engagement vs. customer experience in this 90 second video. Customer engagement According to Merriam-Webster, engagement is “the act of engaging” or “the state of being engaged”. Well, let’s look at the verb, then. Amongst some other meanings, engage is defined as “attract and hold by influence or power” or “induce to participate”. So, engagement is essentially about interacting with each other. This is usually mutual, but mandatorily involves communication, reaching out, by the company. Importantly, this engagement can also happen the product or service itself, for instance...
The customer success movement

The customer success movement

Customer success has become an interesting topic for software vendors and systems integrators, alike. I am thinking about this topic for a while now and now bring my thoughts to virtual paper after Jon Reed pinged me about it and after reading Josh Greenbaum’s very readable post about “customer successing”. By the way, Jon called software vendors to attention and to deliver proof points in a great article, too. So, call me a copycat 😉. The customer success movement In the past years enterprise software vendors and consultancies alike, have increasingly established customer success teams as part of their organizations. One can almost call it a movement. And it is a laudable endeavor to work on ensuring the customers’ success. However, when looking closer at the reasons for their establishment and their charters, it becomes quite obvious that many of these customer success teams are set up as a reaction to failing implementation projects or, even worse, as a vehicle for selling further services to customer companies.  Consequently, metrics that are used for measuring the success of the customer success teams are based around project metrics. Have implementation projects been on time, in budget, and delivered quality results, means they have been successful. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with attempting to improve project success and to generate additional sales. There are still woefully many projects that do not get implemented within the allotted budget and time, and in sufficient quality. Additionally, one can argue that only happy customers do follow-up purchases; and customers are happy because the earlier projects succeeded.  I get it. Seriously. I am a consultant, too. Many vendors, often...