Pauline Nee at Honest Buildings lays out important points for a successful rolling out new CRETech, which any customer success professional would agree with.
- Map the new, tech-driven workflows to your existing workflows
- Recruit internal power users
- Answer the question, “what’s in it for me”
- Make sure there is a concrete plan to train your team
- Expect a few road bumps and have support in place
- Hold regular check-ins with your team to get feedback and celebrate wins
These steps work for deployment of any new system, technical or not.
This said, if you are the vendor providing the disruption and you are not involved in each of these steps then you are missing out on a large opportunity and are leaving your company open to customer churn.
Almost 25% of customer churn is caused by onboarding. A sale’s profit falls if you have to save the sale when it comes time for renewal; you have essentially re-purchased that customer. A low churn rate is crucial to your company’s valuation.
In addition, you are not learning your customer well enough to meet their next needs.
So how do you supplement the system you already have?
Grok your Customers
Understand them at a deeper level. Shepherd them through each of the aforementioned steps to learn what they like and dislike about your product and its roll-out.
Try and understand what makes people feel part of the change or feel subjected to it. Use what you learn from each interaction to shape your offering for the benefit of other and future customers.
Have a Plan
Instead of arbitrarily decrying “success”, have a plan to get from inception to renewal. Complex roll-outs require formal project plans. But all deployments should have a kickoff meeting to get everyone on board, gate checks to make sure that everything is copacetic, a demarcated finish, and ongoing check-ins.
Don’t interact with your customer only when it comes time for renewal
Be in touch throughout the cycle. For annual contracts, start the billing months in advance of the renewal date so that you have time to assuage any issues and to make sure that you are in their budget. These are often opportunities to learn about ways to expand your relationship.
Measure What Matters
“If it’s good then do it more. If it’s bad then do it less.” sounds like it could be a quote from Dilbert’s Pointy-Haired Boss.
Without metrics, you have no means to improve on each subsequent roll-out. At a minimum, the metrics can be anecdotal. Even discussions around “this seemed to go better than the last one” are fodder for improvement.
Quantitative comparison will improve your organization
Speed of Deployment is one of the first metrics that people think of, but it may be Pyrrhic. While speed is important for recording bookings, Level of Effort (LOE) may mean more to your profit. It may reflect increased automation and self-service.
The customer’s satisfaction may be another. While analyzing a survey may not be an option, you may be able to create your own behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) for use in a check-in with the customer or even internally with your deployment team.
Always Keep the End Goal In Mind
To take from Pauline . . . stress to your
team customer that change for the sake of change is not the goal. The goal is to help them be more successful, productive versions of themselves. You may even want to find a way to symbolically say goodbye to the “old way”. Before you know it, the old, inefficient way of doing things will happily be left in the past.