It’s understandable for some organizations to not grasp the importance of merging customer experience with customer success.
For one, the two initiatives seem an awful lot alike. They both involve customers, after all. Companies might also feel little urgency to merge the two because customers themselves don’t usually recognize or even care these are separate initiatives.
But customers do notice the two efforts when they work well together. Take a B2C customer. It feels satisfied when a software vendor delivers a product on time and without a hitch, enabling its own staff to use the software to meet deadlines. That’s an element of customer experience (CX). The same B2C customer also notices when that vendor offers free training programs that demonstrate how its business customers can align their goals with the software. That’s customer success (CS).
A company’s CX and CS teams are both customer-facing. They indeed have some overlap but, as the software vendor example illustrates, they also have specific functions. Separate functions and goals can lead companies to believe the two should remain distinct initiatives, but it’s increasingly clear in a customer-centric business climate that the two should, in fact, work in tandem, if not outright merge.
Companies that successfully practice CX have usually torn down any institutional silos that separate departments involved in the customer journey. Sales, marketing, procurement, human resources, the warehouse, shipping – every element behind the delivery of a product or service that customers use should have no boundaries. Customers do notice this seamlessness if they also deal with companies that offer nothing but resistance because of silos. They think back to their experiences with companies that offer smooth CX.
It might not seem evident to join CX and CS. Many times, CS is a division of CX and that seems sufficient to companies. CS deals with the mundane aspects of customer service: product or service onboarding, training, follow-up and other not-so-appealing tasks. CX, on the other hand, is all about the pursuit – the pre-sale engagement of customers and even employees. That’s not only strategic but also fun.
But the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive. CX can benefit from CS and vice versa.
Consider how CS teams analyze existing customers’ behavior and levels of satisfaction. A software company, for instance, can use analytical tools to observe how customers use their products. They can see whether these customers are skipping steps because of a software glitch or whether they’re finding inventive ways to accomplish tasks. This behavior study leads to informed customer outreach. Well, a CS team could teach its CX colleagues how to best use behavior analysis so they can more accurately discern where customers are in the pre-sale journey.
Similarly, CX employees could show their CS brethren all the steps behind how they provide customer experience. With a strong grasp of the customer journey and the many means in which it is provided, CS teams can recognize how customers got this far and what sort of post-sale needs they have to stay loyal customers.
As critical as marketing and sales are, customer retention is just as valuable. Acquiring new customers costs 5 to 10 times more than it does selling to a current customer, and those loyal customers spend 67% more on average than new ones.
These statistics should give CX leaders pause and wonder why the efforts of the CS team aren’t technically a part of the CX customer journey. The journey doesn’t end after the sale. Again, customers want the same TLC and information that led them to make a purchase, particularly so in the digital age. If customer service is accessible with the touch of a button, CS should be CX and CX should incorporate CS.
To make lasting connections with customers and keep the throttle down throughout the pre- and post-sale relationship, CX should incorporate the strategies of onboarding and retention, while CS should have complete access to the customer journey map. Technology that unifies this all-in approach should be the top priority of a newly empowered CX-CS leader. The customer might not immediately notice, but a cohesive end-to-end journey will inspire loyalty and further spending.
Iqbal Kaur leads customer success & product management at Zylotech. When she’s not thinking of new AutoML models or conceptualizing product UI, she spends her time hiking in the Nepal Himalayas. An avid fitness enthusiast, she loves to challenge herself with the crazy workouts from the Insanity series.
If you liked this post, check out our recent blog post: Customer experience is the new battlefield.