You Only Get Paid When Your Customer Succeeds

By Lincoln Murphy, Author of “Customer Success”

What would you do differently if you only got paid if a customer succeeds?

Over the years I’ve seen business coaches, gurus, and experts ask different versions of this question, always in the form of a thought experiment.

But I’m here to tell you this isn’t a thought experiment; it isn’t just a fun question to ask your team at an offsite, only to leave the answers behind when you get back to the office.

This is reality.

You only get paid — increasingly, over the long term — if your customers are successful.

You can only unlock the value potential in a customer if you make sure that they are able to unlock the value potential in their relationship with you.

Sure, you may get some money up front from a customer, or complete a few billing cycles before the customer achieves first value, but the vast majority of the customer lifetime value  — a lifetime that could last many years — doesn’t just come after they’re successful, it is 100% because of that success.

Account expansion (upsells, cross-sells, etc.), are a core driver of your company’s valuation, but it only happens on a predictable and consistent basis when your customer succeeds. Advocacy — when your customers spread the word about you — also only happens because a customer succeeds.

So what would you do differently if you only get paid when a customer succeeds? Well, since that’s how it actually works, here are 12 things you should do:

  1. Get clear on the types of customers that are a bad fit and avoid acquiring them in the first place
  2. Logically segment good-fit customers based on their Appropriate Experience
  3. For each segment, understand the Desired Outcome: what they need to achieve (Required Outcome) and how they need to achieve it (Appropriate Experience)
  4. For each segment, create a plan to get the customer from where they are to success
  5. For each segment, get super-granular on the steps required to execute that plan
  6. Share that plan with the customer to ensure they know what they need to do to be successful
  7. Ensure they do what they need to do, and you do what you need to do in order to make sure they’re successful
  8. Intervene when they aren’t making the progress they should be making
  9. Intervene when other signals indicate that they aren’t on a positive success vector
  10. Proactively seek out and bridge any success gaps that may exist
  11. Proactively share insights gleaned from successful customers to your teams to ensure this cycle continues
  12. Proactively share insights from customers that haven’t been successful to your teams to ensure you won’t make those same mistakes again

In short, because you really do only get paid — the real, long-term kind of paid — after customers are successful, what you should do differently is adopt customer success as your operating model.

You might be able to get customers and generate revenue; but if you really want to have high-value, long-term customers you have to understand that you get paid when they succeed. If you can help your customers succeed, your success will follow.

A version of this post was originally posted on GrowthX Academy .
***  Lincoln Murphy will be delivering a full-day workshop on “Customer Success” for CEOs and their executive teams in Vancouver on November 29th, 2016 as part of ACETECH’s Growth Strategy Program.

2017-06-28T15:17:29-07:00 November 3, 2016|Blog Post, Strategy|

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