Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How to transform SaaS development into Customer Success machine?















As any other machine, Customer Success machine needs three concepts: Dashboard, engine and fuel. Dashboard is created with a strategy. Engine is built around software development and customer service processes. Fuel is of course your customers. Take one of these ingredients off and the machine gets into trouble.

As described in earlier blog post ‘How to create Customer Success strategy’, Value Concept is very useful way to define the hotspots of your Customer Success. They are the points in customer’s journey, where significant value is created. With Value Concepts your machine’s engine has a mission: To make these hotspots better, thus serving customers better over the time. This can happen if everyone in your team is aware of Value Concepts.

Pick up Scrum, Agile or any other development methodology, software development is built around issue tracking. Therefore that’s a good place to share information about Value Concepts as well without reinventing the wheel. As soon as your team understands what are the Value Concepts, how they relate to everything that you are developing, it’s time to add them as labels into your issue tracking. Same goes to backlog as well as bug tracking.

Every time when you are thinking about priorities with your team, you can check which tickets relate to Value Concepts and how important they are to your customers. Discussion gets much easier and focuses on right topics, instead of making every feature request a pain to talk about ‘tiny features’ vs. ‘significant improvement’.

This affects how you serve customers. If customer has an issue related to core Value Concept, it naturally gets the priority without having a long discussion with developers why and why not. But wait - how does this differ from regular backlog prioritisation? Two ways: 1) It’s connected to core value propositions of your business strategy and 2) Everyone in your team must have an understanding about these concepts.

Customer Success is of course much more than just software development. If you for example run social media campaigns, or serve customers with consultative meetings, Value Concepts can follow through all these actions as well. In optimal case Value Concept turns into any kind of business development tasks, adding one more layer to the objective hierarchy.

For Value Concepts that do not exist inside your product you can provide for example recommended integrations, consultation, outsourced manual labor or any other services or guidelines.

To learn more how to define strategy based on Customer Success and how to drive it into implementation, please take a look at Growhow - an agile customer success framework by SignupLab.

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