Customer Success is a Team Sport

Like many sports fans, I became wrapped up in the recent Olympics. I can’t explain why, but when the Olympics roll around, I find myself on the edge of my seat watching sports more than usual.  Typically, I pass over any ordinary game, opting to watch an old episode of Seinfeld.  During the Olympics, I was particularly interested in the bike road races. I couldn’t believe how, in a matter of a few miles, a team of riders working together could track down a lone racer that was 30 – 40 seconds ahead. I’ve heard of the benefits of drafting in a paceline, but this seemed incredible.


I had to do some research.


It turns out that in a paceline of two or more riders the efficiency gained can be upwards of 27 percent! Working as a team, even if it is an individual sport, has huge advantages! I couldn’t help but draw parallels to how this applies in the workplace.


Customer success is key to client-vendor relationships. At the end of the day, it’s all about ensuring the customer achieves value in your product so they continue to be a happy, loyal customer. It’s a true win-win. The customer benefits from your solution and you benefit from having them as a customer. This is amplified in importance in the current SaaS (software as a service) subscription world. It’s increasingly easier for customers to find alternative solutions; therefore, you need to ensure the customer sees a significant return on their investment.


True customer success teams are often carved out as a specific group or department within an organization. However, EVERYONE in a company is responsible for the success of its customers. Companies that realize this understand that everyone has a role in creating happy customers.


It’s encouraged. It’s expected. It’s part of the culture.


So, for you those of you out there that cringe when a Customer Success Manager sends you a meeting invite to discuss a customer concern, you better start peddling and don’t look back. The companies that realize customer success is a team sport are about to track you down and pass you.


How Training Creates Raving Fans and Loyal Customers

Is your learning management system (LMS) living up to its full potential? If you’re only using your LMS to train internal folks, it may not be!


The benefits of leveraging an LMS to deliver learning and development (L&D) training courses across organizations are far and wide. Strong L&D programs can reduce onboarding times, boost employee engagement and productivity rates, shorten skills gaps, accelerate individual and organizational performance, and of course, help maintain and manage compliance.


This is all great stuff, don’t get me wrong, but your LMS is capable of far more than just internal learning programs.


Think about all the people who represent your business that are not necessarily part of your internal of employees. These are the your customers, partners, contingent workers, franchisees, dealers, channel sales and other external sales and service providers that are involved in some way, shape or form in your business. In the learning world, this is known as the extended enterprise, and for many organizations, these folks are often the people who interact with customers the most.


So why wouldn’t you want to ensure they are up-to-speed and effectively trained on your organization’s products and services?


By extending your learning strategy beyond your traditional HR learning needs, your LMS actually has the potential to dramatically increase customer satisfaction.


Truth: Happy customers = better business outcomes


High customer satisfaction and brand loyalty is fundamental to your organizations success, and it all starts with a first impression and unforgettable customer experience.


An external learning strategy, enabled by an LMS with deep extended enterprise capabilities, can drive new revenue streams, improve profit margins, and turn your customers into loyal, stark-raving fans.


Let’s take a quick look at the numbers:


  • It is six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one¹
  • You have a 60-70% chance of selling a product to an existing customer. Compare that to the 15-20% chance of selling that same product to a prospect²
  • On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase³
  • Increasing your customer retention rates by just 5% could lift profits by 50%4


Are you starting to understand why external training is so vital to your business? Think about the untapped potential!  


If you’re not already, it’s time to start thinking about how you can extend learning and training opportunities to your external network. In 2014, Brandon Hall Group surveyed 174 companies and found that those with extended learning programs realized a:


  • 40% increase in sales
  • 37% increase in customer retention, and a
  • 45% improvement in customer relations.5


The numbers don’t lie. Businesses that are offering training and development programs to their extended enterprise are seeing significant return on investment. However, with so many different ways to capitalize on external training, it’s hard to know where to get started.


If you’re new to the concept of the extended enterprise, or just dipping your toe in the idea of expanding your training programs, our best advice is don’t boil the ocean. It’s natural for mind to go in a dozen different directions thinking about all the different audiences and scenarios that will benefit from external training.


For some ideas and advice on how to get started or refine your external training programs, check out “Learning Unleashed: Create Raving Fans and Boost Revenue Through Training.


¹Frederick Reichheld, Bain & Company
²Marketing Metrics
³White House Offi ce of Consumer Aff airs
4Frederick Reichheld, Bain & Co. “Prescriptions for Cutting Costs”
5Brandon Hall Group “Extended Enterprise Learning, Making Learning Impact the Bottom Line” 2015