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Addressing customer success with Barbara Stewart, Propolis Hive Expert in CX

In this week’s episode of our podcast, Editor for B2B Marketing David Rowlands talked to Barbara Stewart, Propolis Hive Expert in Customer Experience about customer success. In our 2021 Trend Tracker, customer success – a new entry – came second place overall, just after growth marketing. They dive into why customer success landed second on our list, the benefits of implementing customer success within your company, and how marketers can start humanising the customer experience.

DR: Each year, B2B Marketing runs something called the Trend Tracker. Basically, this is a survey that seeks to understand what specific areas B2B marketers will be focused on in the year ahead. In the 2021 iteration of this report, customer success – which was a completely new entry – finished in second place, just behind growth marketing. As the Propolis Expert for our CX Hive, why do you think customer success will be so important in 2021 and beyond? Is it just about reducing churn, or is there more to it than that?

BS: Unfortunately there is no easy quick, silver bullet that will enable B2B organisations to deliver a CX that will deliver. Instead companies must deliver a total B2B customer experience. Doing so means that companies must address all aspects of the relationship in terms of both what they deliver to customers and how they deliver.

They have to create and deliver two customer experiences; one that caters to the needs and priorities of buyers and another that caters to the needs and priorities of users. It is only by taking a two pronged approach, organisations will attain the tangible, measurable benefits they seek. For me, the customer success team are vital to enable this approach to be a reality. They are responsible for the on-going partnership and ensuring the organisation is delivering against the golden promises made at moment of sale and managing buyers expectations. As well as supporting the users to have the optimum on-going service and able to use the portfolio of products and services to the best of their capabilities.

DR: On that note, what do you think a great customer success process looks like? What people or processes do you think B2B marketers need to have in place in order to deliver customer success?

BS: For me, it’s challenging for marketing to do this alone, to establish a customer success process you need a whole organization to create it not a department. Marketing should lead it but they cant do it alone.

Regarding a process:

  • Have a clear & living Customer Experience Vision, that has been shared to all of the company
  • Really understand who your customers are, what their needs are and what their expectations are
  • Work to create a single view of the customers (unifying data across your internal systems, capturing each customers activities and using this information to seamlessly engage with each customer across touchpoints)
  • Articulate your CX strategies internally
  • Build a corporate culture that knows how to listen
  • Train and develop your team
  • Act upon regular employee feedback
  • Ensure that customers feel understood
  • Measure the ROI from delivering great customer experience

Don’t make assumptions or think about what makes life easy for you. It is all about your customers

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