Forget Kevin Bacon: 6 Tips for Creating Zero Degrees of Separation Between You and Your Customers
Every C-suite exec is under scrutiny to bring home the bacon. And, for the CMO, there’s no better way to do so than to achieve true customer success. That term is pretty elusive to a CEO and his or her business counterparts, who claim they’ve been focused on making customers happy since the beginning of time.
But for customer success teams who are in the trenches with customers, they know it means truly connecting with every contact at a customer organization through their entire lifecycle — which takes more than wining and dining.
In the age of the customer, the Internet of Things and the subscription economy, it means real-time technology and integration across multiple customer channels like social, email, Web and mobile. While these technologies bring many benefits, they’ve also built a virtual wall between companies and their customers — creating data silos and disconnected teams and processes that can damage a customer’s experience with a brand.
Forget Kevin Bacon, customer-centric organizations need to create zero degrees of separation between themselves and their customers. The challenge is that customer contacts are created and stored in multiple applications such as sales, support, marketing and services. And, an individual contact can be active across many channels including social media, community, product and campaigns.
Where to start? Here are six tips:
- Capture Contacts From Everywhere: When a new user is activated, a user contact is created in the support application. When a new member joins the community, a member contact is created in the community application. The same is true with marketing and other applications. Capturing the new contact data into customer success management applications gives a complete view of all contacts and all points of engagement for an account.
- Enrich Contact Data: When a new contact is captured, the first step is to enrich contact record with data from other services such as InsideView or Full Contact. In the case of Full Contact, users can grab social media information such as a contact’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn handle, as well as their influence rankings. This data becomes critical to making customer success plays more intelligent and targeted.
- Make Sure Contacts Are in the Right Applications: Contacts have all kinds of roles from buyer, sponsor, user and admin. Depending on the role of the contact, they should or should not be added to other application like marketing. Marketing will only want contacts from customer success to which they can proactively market. Likewise, customers may have rules about marketing to end-users that must be obeyed. Different team members may also want to automatically add users to a customer community and send an invite. Additionally, adding contacts to survey applications makes it easier to run Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys or product surveys. Customer success orchestrates more relevant engagement by getting the right contacts into the right applications.
- Replicate Relevant Contact Data. CSM contact data can help other teams make better decisions. For example, a customer success application may have a role description for a contact that was not recorded in the support application. If a case escalates in support, having role data for a contact can assist the support team on priorities. In a similar manner, a role can be used to inform marketing campaigns to take the right nurturing approach. By replicating relevant contact data, customer success can orchestrate smarter engagement by the rest of the company.
- Connect Your Channels of Engagement. Contact activity on one channel may need to trigger follow-up activity by another. When a post on social media references your company, identify the handle of the user to determine if they are a known contact, and based on the sentiment, notify a customer success manager. If the contact’s role is a buyer, notify marketing to seek a quote for use on the website. By connecting channels, customer success can orchestrate timely engagement in the customer journey.
- Monitor Changes in Contacts. The status of contacts is always changing. People are frequently changing jobs and roles. Keeping on top of these changes helps customer success engage the right play at the right time. Imagine if a user account is deactivated in a support application. If the user’s role was a sponsor, the customer success manager should be notified immediately to identify what changed and ensure a new sponsor is identified. Monitoring changes in contacts allows customer success to orchestrate the right response to personnel changes.
If you remember one thing from reading this post, remember this: contacts are gold in managing customer success. The more a business knows about its customer contacts, the more they know on who to engage and why.
Matt Shanahan is the CMO at Seattle, Wash.-based Azuqua. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the technology industry, ranging from Accenture to startups. He is a proven entrepreneur as the VP of product marketing and management for Documentum from startup through initial public offering and most recently as co-founder and SVP of strategy for Scout Analytics.