- Mar 04
Bye-bye Customer Service. Hello, Customer Success!
In last week's post, we reported how a chance encounter between a proctor and candidate during the Blizzard of 2003 revealed the life-changing impact a successful testing experience can deliver.
That story exemplified the power of the customer-service paradigm. Great service = Good direct-to-candidate service + Extra effort to deliver a satisfying experience in spite of unexpected obstacles.
Like the credentialing industry itself, customer-service expectations have evolved since 2003.
Bye-bye customer service. Hello, customer success!
Customer service resolves issues after they occur. Customer success programs are pro-active. Their goal is to develop business processes that prevent the need for customer service.
Please note: Customer-success programs produce positive and measurable outcomes.
Measurable outcomes come in all flavors. Key performance indicators (KPIs). Program enrollment growth. Annual recurring revenue (ARR). Re-certification rates. Net promoter scores (NPS). Secondary sales. Market penetration, etc.
Even if your latest metrics suggest that all is well now, “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Not in our rapidly evolving business environment.
The solution? Sorry, there is no “solution.” That’s customer service ala carte.
Customer success provides value
In the customer success environment, clients want fresh insights. And that’s where value-added vendors come into the equation.
Traditional vendors deliver a neatly defined package. They go in. Deliver the goods. And get out. ASAP. Repeat for profitability.
Value-added vendors evolve with their clients. They are pro-active. They own their clients’ goals.
“Today, clients want us to be their subject matter expert,” says Kryterion’s Director, CX/CS Advocate, William Wilkins, CCXP. “They don’t want a menu and an order form. They want us to help them figure it out.”
I asked Wilkins for a concrete example.
“We have a number of SaaS clients,” said Wilkins. “The credential program director at one of them was in hot water. The program wasn’t hitting its numbers for participation.”
What was the problem?
“The program director called us in. Since Kryterion primarily grows its revenue when our clients grow theirs, we have a vested interest in their success. I guess that makes customer success part of our corporate DNA.”
“Anyway, we listened,” Wilkins said. “We learned that the credentialing program didn’t have a marketing budget or access to the corporate marketing department.”
That was Insight #1.
Kryterion’s group dug further. “What value do prospective test candidates expect to get from this certification?”
The response was a canned, company elevator pitch for the credential.
Sorry. Stop. “The question is how your target audience values the product, not how the company values it.”
The program director didn’t know. No one had asked that question before.
That was Insight #2.
Insight #3 belonged to Wilkins. “Even though we offer a product, we deliver it as a service. And never thought much about it.
“But experiences like this one – and there have been many – made me realize that we have a portfolio of expertise,” he continued. “And clients want that. They want to take advantage of our deep experience in the provision of services. They want partners that can help them mine, develop and exploit their own untapped resources.
“That’s how our customer success program pays off for clients. It helps keep us attuned to what clients really want. Which is the product and the expert help needed to deploy it effectively."
Interested in learning more about Kryterion’s client success products and programs?
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