Successful Customer Relationship Management Is About Customer Success

By Scott Filchak, V.P., Customer Success

Since 1987, I have worked for or with configurable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product companies. Originally, the name was Sales Force Automation (SFA), but it became the foundation for CRM solutions that we have today. During my time with CRM, I have worked with large, medium, and small companies to help them implement Sales and Service CRM solutions.  

To have an effective CRM solution you need a clear understanding of:

Your Customers

• What they want from your company

• The value that your product or service can bring to them

• How they want to work with your company

• Customers, if they are not the end consumer  

Your Company

• How you are organized for customer sales or service

• What business processes are necessary to get and maintain your customers

• What the roles are, and people needed to support the processes

Knowing your customers is critical to being able to sell to them or provide service to them. There is a tendency to think about what you need from your customers but forgetting what your customers want and expect from you.  

Let me provide a personal example. When I was working at a CRM application company, I was asked to attend a meeting with an auto manufacturer. The meeting was conducted by an SI presenting their vision of a Customer Journey. The slide presentation outlined a Customer Portal that would walk a potential customer through buying a vehicle.  However, after about 40 minutes of watching this, I began to realize their view of the customer journey was all about getting information from the customer so they could market and sell more. There was nothing in it for the customer. So, I asked the simple question; “if I am a previous or current customer, why would I want to do this?”. After some blank stares, they fumbled around with “it would help customers” but they didn’t really say how. I tried to explain that I use a particular Airlines Customer Site because it benefits me as well as the airline; the SI just wanted to move on and show more slides.  

To achieve success with a CRM program you need to create the means to capture, maintain, and grow relationships with your customers. Since your customers are really the people that you will engage with during the sale and service activities, it becomes critical to know how they want to work with your company.  If they do not understand the value of working with you, the relationship will be strained to say the least.

Relationships require trust and that comes from people doing what they say they were going to do. While the basis of trust is between people, it is important that you know what is being said and committed to by your people and if they’re following up. How does a company make sure that it knows that its people are doing what they say? Well, that is where a CRM solution can help!

Your CRM solution should help establish and maintain relationships and trust by providing the following:  

• Visibility and transparency within and across the organization

• Keep relationships from becoming single threaded. Only one person to one person  

• Improved communication about what the customer expects from your company

• Improved coaching and teamwork within your team

• Ability to collaborate while selling and servicing the customer

• Improved service and responsiveness

• Improved transparency for customers, efficiently providing them with the timely information they want and need

• Monitoring and tracking how well you are doing

• Identifying areas that are working well and areas that need improvement

Customer Success requires everyone in your company to be focused on how to make your customers successful and happy by using your products or services. I have heard people talk about internal customers; while I understand what they mean, I believe that people within a company are team members – not customers. The entire team needs to work together to provide the products/services to make the customers want to work with your company more than your competitors.

Your CRM should go hand-in-hand with your customer success goals and objective.  

Customer success for Gerent is defined as:

Providing our customers continuous value by helping them reach their own customer success goals using our services. When we align goals with our customers, we can retain and grow the relationship and increase mutual opportunities.

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