Top five things that make finance software support world class
October 22, 2018
Paride Forte – Customer Success Manager
Customer Success – the new buzz word dominating the IT and Software industry. You may have come across this when looking for financial automation solutions. But what does it mean?
Back in the day, things seemed a lot simpler. You had the customer service, sales and operations departments and each had a clear distinction. But with the emergence of new SaaS and software companies, Customer Success was born. You could be right in thinking that Customer Success and customer service mean the same thing, however while they may share similar names, there are clear differences between the two. The most obvious is that Customer Success is proactive and customer service is reactive.
Customer service is all about fixing issues that you have with a product or service. By default, this function focuses on short-term solutions. Problem solving is necessary for a business but not necessarily part of Customer Success. Customer Success, especially in financial software, focuses on your long-term success by building relationships and helping you to realise the full potential of the product or service.
Success is about looking at your journey from a strategic perspective and focusing on the bigger picture. That’s why Customer Success is a collaborative effort and not just the responsibility of a single department. Everybody in a financial software company, from the MD down must have an invested interest in ensuring the customer is at the centre of everything a the company does.
What does a financial software company need to do to be great at Customer Success and build a thriving recurring revenue business? In 2015, Bessemer Venture Partners, a venture capital firm, commissioned and created The Ten Laws of Customer Success to provide guidance for those wanting to understand and deploy Customer Success. I have selected the five below that I feel are core to the values of Customer Success and the top things that you should look out for when selecting a solution.
- They are obsessive about customer health
At the heart of Customer Success lies customer health. In simple terms good customer health means engaging with you, so that you’re happy to continue and expand the relationship with them because you see value. The opposite applies in the case of poor customer health. So here are six words that should be key to any financial software supplier you choose.
“Relentlessly monitor and manage customer health”
Every company differs, but they should always be considering the following:
- How often does a customer call their help desk and how long is the average ticket open?
- How good is their personal relationship and how high up the chain does it go?
- Are their customers prepared to endorse their product or service in the form of case studies and act as a reference site for new prospects?
- How often do their customers use the solution and how easy is the solution?
They may choose to adopt other benchmarks and that’s fine. Regardless of what they ultimately use the process will be enlightening and beneficial to both you as a customer and to them as a supplier.
- Product and service is their only differentiator
The key to customer satisfaction and retention is a well-designed product combined with an exceptional customer experience. Simply put the harder the product is to use the harder it will be to make you successful. Developing products that address problems should go hand in hand with helping you to derive value from those products.
Customer Success is about understanding the actual business problem and why you have purchased the product in the first place. Ultimately Customer Success is about not just walking away after the sale has been agreed but accompanying and supporting you throughout the lifecycle of your business relationship.
- Focus on time to value
In simple terms how quickly can you derive the value they expect from the service they have purchased? You presumably made a buying decision based on the value of their product or solution. Even more, they should know how they are going the measure that value.
In the SaaS or subscription- based world the time to value timeline is the length of the subscription. If you haven’t seen real value by the time the renewal discussions begin, you are far less likely to renew, and rightly so.
The role of the Customer Success Team is to understand why you purchased in the first place and work with you to realise the value of the product as quickly and efficiently as possible. To start with that will be to define measures early, achieve the simplest and/or most important measures first and focus on the more complex requirements later. It’s also about being flexible so that they adjust their strategy the moment they realise the expected value is at risk.
Customer Success is core to realising your expectations both in terms of product solution and delivery timescales.
- You expect the solution to make you successful
And why wouldn’t you? You buy the solution because you want to achieve a business aim, one that will achieve a goal that will make you more successful than you are. As part of that agreement to purchase you also buy into a relationship with the company. The value you place on your relationship is defined not just by the product alone; it’s also defined by everything else the company does to help make you better at what you do. Delivering success requires them to understand three fundamental things:
- How are you measuring success?
- Are you achieving that value?
- What has your experience been along the way?
Customer Success is about understanding these three things and the company you choose working with you to achieve their goals. Success doesn’t happen by chance. It happens because you both have a real stake in mutual success. You both understand and share those objectives and work hard to achieve them within the time-frame identified through the time to value analysis.
- It’s a top down company-wide commitment
Customer Success is not just a team or a department. It’s a culture and philosophy that permeates every aspect of the company. A real commitment to Customer Success begins before the first sale has happened and before the first line of code is written. It’s a mindset driven from the very top of the company to its very roots and embraced by every individual who works for it.
Here at Rimilia, the customer is at the core of everything we do. We believe in helping our customers to achieve their goals, not only by supplying them with a great solution, but by being there every step of the way.
If you’d like to learn more about our solutions, and how we work with our customers to deliver results, one of our friendly team will be happy to speak with you.