Category Archives: Service Design

The words Moment of Truth on a clock to illustrate it is time to witness a verdict or outcome to a game, challenge or test you are undertaking, to prove yourself and your character

The Moment of Truth: A Co-creation Perspective

The term “moment of truth” (MOT) is not new to me and I was happy to learn it was an integral part of the customer-experience community vocabulary.  As I have visited with many in the community, I’ve discovered there are various definitions for MOTs in relation to the customer journey. It is generally agreed that customer interactions are called “touchpoints,” and MOTs are the more significant touchpoints. However, the criteria for what’s “significant” depends on who you talk to. Some say the MOT is at the beginning when the customer decides to accept (or reject) the firm’s offer, while others point to the end of the transaction when they determine whether the whole experience was good or bad. Some identify various touchpoints where significant value is or is not realized. Yet another criteria is a touchpoint that shows the greatest likelihood the customer will “fall off”, or is most likely to end the business relationship. I contend there is too much ambiguity for the term to be useful in the context of a professional discussion.  At a minimum, the customer-experience community needs to agree on a more unified definition. I would go as far as to suggest a slightly different definition – one I think was intended by the first person to use the idiom in these contexts.

Richard Normann (1943-2003) is credited with the first use of the idiom “moment of truth” in a business context. Using the MOT concept, Normann was highly instrumental in the turnaround of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) in the early 1980s. Jan Carlzon, SAS’s CEO during that time, recounts the turnaround in his book titled Moments of Truth (1987), attesting to the powerful perspective the MOT provides and Normann’s more significant contribution to the effort. By removing MOTs which provided little or no value to their customers, and enabling employees to deliver the best experience possible in those that remained, SAS became profitable again by more than three times the first year target.  They also earned the rank of “top Airline” the same year, and held that distinction for many years.

Normann’s book Service Management: Strategy and Leadership in Service Business, Third edition (2002) gives us the greatest insight to his thought process regarding MOTs. I find it fascinating and affirming that his first reference to MOTs is directly preceded by a discussion about co-creation. Normann says:

“…the customer is often more than just a customer – he is also a participant in the production of the service. A haircut, the cashing of a cheque, education – none of these can conceivably be produced without the participation of the consumer. Thus the service company not only has to get in contact with the consumers and to interact with them socially; it is also necessary to ‘manage’ them as part of the production force.”

Normann is clearly stating that a customer is integral to the value creation process. This is co-creation – the customer and the organization working together to create desired value.  If the customer is not involved, no value is ever created.  No customer, no value.

With this backdrop, Normann introduces the concept of MOTs. He states:

“Most services are the result of social acts which take place in direct contact between the customer and representatives of the service company. To take a metaphor from bullfighting, we could say that the perceived quality is realized at the moment of truth, when the service provider and the service customer confront one another in the arena. At that moment they are very much their own. What happens then can no longer be directly influenced by the company. It is the skill, the motivation and the tools employed by the firm’s representative and the expectations and behavior of the client which together will create the service delivery process. A large service company may well experience tens of thousands of ‘moments of truth’ every day.”

From the very first mention, Normann is clear that when a customer comes into contact with the organization, it is a MOT. The two have come together to accomplish something in relation to creating the value the customer seeks – their job-to-be-done. We know from experience there are often many interactions per customer journey depending on the size of the job-to-be-done.

We also know customers judge the experience of each and every interaction as to perceived quality in relation to its part of accomplishing “the service delivery process”.  Customers have some idea of how much time and effort they should be expending. They have some expectation of how they should feel at a particular point in the process, and they judge the interaction based on whether their expectations were met. The quality of each and every interaction is determined and (either consciously or subconsciously) scored in the mind of the customer. Think of this as a “running score.”

When Normann first introduced the MOT concept, most interactions were face-to-face; but don’t take this too literally.  As technology emerged and matured, Normann realized the potential for applying technology to MOTs.  He says, “…new communication and information technology clearly increase the possibilities to ‘store services’, and to make person-to-person interaction in their provision unnecessary.” Customers understand that automation is still designed and implemented by “faces” in the organization.

Normann also talked about the cumulative and/or knock-on effects of MOTs:

“There is a well-known dynamic in interpersonal interactions whereby positive action creates positive reactions, which in turn leads to mutually positive feelings which in turn leads to mutually positive interaction. Or the reverse can apply. A positive attitude and efficient action on the part of the service supplier will encourage the client to participate more, and more effectively, which in turn encourages the service supplier, and so on. A ‘virtuous circle’ has started.”

Normann continues at length to point out when the interactions are positive and customers feel the experience is valuable, a “virtuous circle” ensues.  Furthermore, the outcome of each interaction or MOT sets up the likelihood of a similar outcome at the next interaction. Good interactions tend to foster more good interactions, while poor interactions tend to lead to yet poorer interactions.

Perhaps Normann is the clearest in defining the MOT when he said:

“The quality experienced by the customer is created at the moment of truth, when the service provider and the client meet in a face-to-face interaction. The most perfectly designed and engineered service delivery system will fail until things work out then. Thus, any enquiry into quality must start from the microsituation of client interaction, the moment of truth (emphasis mine). The important question is: what mechanisms lead to and reinforce the client’s experience of quality and good value in that microsituation?”

In defining what Normann meant by the ‘moment of truth’, focus on the most consistent and defining vocabulary he used throughout: the words “interaction” (used consistently) and “microsituation” (used specifically), and more importantly, the juxtaposition of the two – “microsituation of client interaction.” From my reading of Normann, MOTs are each individual interaction with the customer – not high-value interactions, not high-risk interactions, not just the buy/no-buy interaction, and not the last interaction, which are all macrosituations.

The organization typically dictates the customer’s journey, and therefore, determines the time and effort required from customers. Unfortunately many organizations tend to think of some interactions as trivial and inconsequential. All too often, what the organization considers innocuous, the customer perceives as a waste of time and resources. Furthermore, the cumulative or knock-on effects of multiple or poorly executed interactions could culminate at a relatively innocuous one – the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

From a co-creation perspective, each interaction either increases or reduces value to the customer. In other words, that running score really matters. Is every interaction equal to another? Absolutely not, but they are all weighty! We need to consider each and every interaction and what it contributes to customer value in relation to all other interactions.

Therefore, a co-creation perspective takes into account the value exchange of each and every interaction with a customer.  As the customers navigate their journey, moment by moment they are sizing up how they feel about the potential of achieving overall success, and with a few exceptions, they can drop out at any interaction in the journey. Though the organization may identify a particular interaction in which customers typically drop out of the journey, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that interaction is the culprit. The root problem is just as likely to be poor execution of one or more upstream interactions. The customer journey is part of the co-creation ecosystem and systems thinking needs to be applied.

Please keep in mind my purpose is first: to create a better and more common understanding in our terminology, and second: help us leverage the brilliance of Normann’s work. I’m not necessarily suggesting the customer-experience community change its vocabulary. However, I do recommend we at least apply Normann’s research and concepts to whatever the corresponding vocabulary is. Every organization’s success depends on creating Normann’s “virtuous circles”, yet these are only possible when we acknowledge the full significance of what he called the MOT with their cumulative, knock-on effect in the co-creation ecosystem. Call them what you will, interactions, touchpoints or MOTs, but for the good of the customer give every single one their due consideration.

Bringing Brands to Life

This post was originally published in 2014.

By Nancy J. Sirianni

Sirianni_NancyBrands are created by companies, but it’s the end customer who ultimately determines what the brand means to them. So, how do customers come to truly understand a brand and what it stands for?

Service brands are experienced on a personal level, with employees engaging customers during one-to-one social encounters, but many firms fail to include employee-customer interactions in their brand strategies. Because human-delivered services are performances and can vary from employee to employee, firms can find it difficult to create coherent experiences that drive home their brand imagery in a consistent manner from customer to customer.

For several years, I was part of a research team at Arizona State University that explored what brand managers can do to overcome this challenge. Through a series of consumer behavior experiments and a large-scale critical incident study that included dozens of service industries, we tested how customer brand experiences can be made more consistent through the behavior of frontline service employees. That is, we examined how service firms can recruit and train employees to internalize brand imagery in order to authentically bring the brand to life with customers in what we call “branded service encounters.” Continue reading

dog

Customer Success: The Next Evolution of Customer Service

By James “Alex” Alexander

Whether you are a traditional on-premise supplier or a cloud-based subscription business, “customer success” is where the big dogs play.

What is customer success?

“Customer success” is a term bantered about in boardrooms and breakrooms in different ways. It has been perceived as a business model, a company-wide priority, an organization, a profession, or a technology.[1]

Research for my recent study, “Customer Success: Managing the Customer Experience for Loyalty and Profit,” [2] confirmed this disparity—the definitions given regarding customer success and customer success management were as varied as Mexican chilies at Santa Fe’s Saturday farmers’ market.

Customer success is a strategy and a philosophy. It is a way of approaching how you interact with your customers and your marketplace. But an important understanding is that customer success is personal. Just as kids in a candy store might prefer different treats, each customer may value certain outcomes more highly than others at a given point in time, and hence, customer success varies from person to person. So I prefer a concrete, actionable definition.

Customer success is a customer state of mind in which a specific customer (let’s call her a key player) feels that she has achieved her desires (business outcomes and personal wins) while undergoing brilliant customer experiences. Here are definitions of the three requirements of customer success:

  • Business outcomes. The results that a key player hopes her organization will get from purchasing and using a supplier’s offerings such as increased revenue, lowered downtime or enhanced productivity.
  • Personal wins. The results that a key player hopes will happen directly to her from purchasing, using a supplier’s offerings or both. This could be job security, personal recognition or less job hassle.
  • Customer experience. The customer’s perception of a supplier’s performance, including activities that do not directly touch the customer but that affect the customer’s overall view of the supplier. Brilliant customer experience occurs when the seven things that customers want, expect and deserve are met.[3]

Figure 1: Brilliant Customer Experiences Enable Customer Success

figure-1

 

The Brilliant Customer Success Performance Chain

For those of you serious about delivering success, I recommend using the Brilliant Customer Success Performance Chain as a guide, as Figure 2 shows. It is a robust model applicable to almost all organizations for planning, building, implementing, monitoring, diagnosing, and enhancing customer success results. I will start our discussion on the far right side of the chain and work backward.

Figure 2: Brilliant Customer Success Performance Chain

figure-2

 

Business Results

This is your reward for doing customer success right. Selfishly, your desired outcome as the supplier is business results. Yes, there can be a multitude of preferable outcomes, but for most organizations, there are two vital business results that trump all others: new streams of profitable growth to fund the future of the business, and brand dominance based on a reputation superior to your rivals’.

Customer Impact

Customer loyalty drives business results. Loads of research over the last several years show that the loyalty of your customers is a prime driver of the business results discussed above and outlined in Figure 3. There is a direct relationship. Loyal customers buy more and more, again and again, rarely quibbling over price.[4]

 

Figure 3: Customer Impact Drives Supplier Business Results

figure-3

 

Emotionally, loyal customers tout your attributes far and wide and gladly provide testimonials to woo your prospects for you. Loyal customers are the crown jewels of your resources and should be guarded as a miser would a strongbox. If we embrace the eminent management consultant Peter Drucker’s declaration in Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices that the purpose of a business is to get and grow customers, customer loyalty is the secret sauce of the recipe.[5]

Customer success drives customer loyalty. As discussed, to earn that loyalty, you must deliver customer success as each key player in the customer account defines it.

Brilliant customer experiences enable customer success. The promise of customer success requires brilliant customer experiences. Like the catalyst in a chemical reaction, a brilliant customer experience releases the full potential of a supplier-customer relationship. Customer experience is shaped at every touchpoint—every encounter or contact the customer has with your organization.

Touchpoint Management

Brilliant employee performances drive brilliant customer experiences. The more closely your people give the customer what they need, want, and expect at each step in the decision-making process, the more powerful the moment of truth, and the more likely the customer will invite you to participate in the next decision step. Figure 4 shows the progress from touchpoint management to business results.

Figure 4: Touchpoint Management Effects on Business Results

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Capable and loyal employees are required to deliver brilliant employee performances. Your frontline personnel must have the capabilities needed to interact with the customer the right way at the right time.

Figure 5 shows how performance systems provide the information and tools required to help your capable and loyal employees in their moments of truth.

Figure 5: How Performance Systems Affect Business Results

figure-5

 

Leadership drives the bus in creating a culture of success and in building and implementing a compelling blueprint to guide implementation, as shown in Figure 6. As we all know, if the big dogs don’t get off the porch, the pack doesn’t hunt.

Figure 6: How Leadership Can Build a Culture of Success

figure-6

 

Leading the Pack

Customer success is much more than the latest marketing mantra…it is a strategy, a philosophy, a way of doing business. It can make your customer more successful, your company more successful, and hopefully, you will be more successful. Act like the big dog you are and lead the customer success pack!

 

Note: This article was adapted from Alex’s new book Brilliant Customer Success: Managing the Customer Experience for Profitable Growth and Brand Dominance, due to be released in November 2016.

 

References

[1] “An Executive Primer to Customer Success Management.” April 2014. Thought Leadership Paper. Forrester.

[2] Alexander, James A., EdD. 2016. Customer Success: Managing the Customer Experience for Loyalty and Profit. Alexander Consulting and Service Strategies Corporation.

[3] Alexander, James A., EdD. January 26, 2015. “Brilliant CX: The 7 Things Your Customers Want, Expect, and Deserve.” LinkedIn Blog.

[4] Mehta, Nick. October 18, 2015. “The 5 Kinds of Customer Success.” Gainsight, Venturebeat.

[5] Drucker, Peter F., 1974. Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. New York: Harper & Row.

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Join the Center for Services Leadership at Compete Through Services Symposium on October 27th, 2016, to hear James “Alex” Alexander, Alexander Consulting, speak on Customer Success Management: The Marvelous Opportunity to Grow Your Services Business.

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alexalexander

James “Alex” Alexander is founder of Alexander Consulting, a management consultancy that helps product companies build brilliant services. Contact him at 239-671-0740, alex@alexanderstrategists.com or visit www.brilliantcustomersuccess.com for information and valuable resources to speed your journey to brilliant customer success.

alex-book

 

Check out my new book!

BRILLIANT CUSTOMER SUCCESS

MANAGING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FOR PROFITABLE GROWTH AND BRAND DOMINANCE

by James “Alex” Alexander

 

How much is too much? – Selling your service without overtaxing your customer

anika_kolberg_smallBy Anika Kolberg

We all have, at one time or another, wondered how something actually works – and then finally given up trying to understand it. The feeling that results is anything but satisfying.

From a customer perspective, this is basically what happens when customers are confronted with a complex yet necessary service: They have to understand it, because otherwise they cannot make a sound decision. However, understanding is hard and oftentimes frustrating. Services which can be described as “complex yet necessary” are so-called professional services, like financial, insurance, or legal services. Most customers lack the specific knowledge necessary to completely understand these services. For example, they may not know how interest rates might develop or how to interpret laws and regulations.

What happens when customers lack knowledge and therefore have trouble trying to evaluate different service offerings? If customers are mentally exhausted during service encounters, they feel unfairly treated, as it should be the service provider’s job to help them understand the service. Therefore, customers will be less satisfied, less willing to return to the service firm in the future, and less likely to recommend the service.

Usually, one would expect that the more complex the service, the more customers feel mentally exhausted. In our research we uncover that this expectation is true for low to moderate levels of service complexity only. However, if service complexity is especially high customers feel less mentally exhausted. This is because at a certain level of complexity the customer decides “This is too much”, gives up trying to understand, and thus saves mental energy. Given that customers are less mentally exhausted at high levels of complexity – can’t we simply raise complexity further to avoid negative implications for customer satisfaction and loyalty?

The answer is “No, we can’t!” Why not? There are two more problems linked to high complexity:

First, even though customers tend to mentally “switch off” to save some of their mental energy when things get too complex, they do not completely avoid mental exhaustion.  They still have to take a decision. Thus, although at high complexity mental exhaustion is lower than at moderate complexity, it is still higher than at low levels of complexity. Second, above and beyond the role of mental exhaustion, high complexity per se also leads customers to be less willing to return and recommend.

How can these negative consequences be avoided? One solution is, of course, to reduce service complexity. For example, while most professional services are highly customized, offering more standardized solutions can simplify decision making for the customer. At the same time, highly savvy customers who do not regard the service as complex, can be offered more customized solutions. Educating customers, for instance in customer seminars or with the help of newsletters, can also reduce complexity for the customers.

However, for many services complexity can hardly be reduced. Another solution therefore is to weaken the consequences of high complexity. Our research shows that adapting the presentation to the customer can mitigate the detrimental effects of high complexity. More specifically, you can help your customers to easily understand a service despite its complexity by paying attention to these steps:

  1. Is my customer overtaxed?

In an interaction with a customer, you should be able to determine whether the customer is mentally overtaxed. Look for signs of fatigue and mental exhaustion like yawning, increased blinking, squirming and fidgeting. Also, get some more information about the customer’s knowledge of the service. Savvy customers are usually not as easily overtaxed as novice customers.

  1. How should I approach my customer?

Based on what you know about the customer, you should adapt your selling approach accordingly. That is, if a customer lacks specific knowledge and will easily be overtaxed, you should help him to more easily understand the service. Use simple language instead of technical terms, illustrative language instead of hard facts, and adjectives instead of numbers. Put differently, if a customer has trouble making sense of a complex service, the solution is not to provide more information, but to provide information in a different way. For instance, when selling an investment product, a sketch showing how capital builds up over time is much easier to understand than verbal explanations.

  1. What type of other information does my customer need?

Oftentimes customers also receive other information, like company brochures or information brochures on certain services. As is the case of personal encounters – this type of information should be adapted to the specific type of customer. You should have available at least two types of information brochures – one version in an easily understandable language, using tangible examples and illustrations for novice customers; a second version using more technical terms, numerical examples, and more detailed technical information for expert customers.

To summarize, highly complex services can easily overtax the customer. Since this results in decreased customer satisfaction and loyalty, service providers should adapt their way of providing information to help the customer understand the service more easily.

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Anika Kolberg is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sales & Marketing Department, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany. She received her PhD in 2014 from the Ruhr-University of Bochum. Her research interests focus on personal selling in service contexts, stereotyping at the employee-customer interface, as well as behavioral pricing. Her work is forthcoming in the Journal of Service Research and the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.

The article The Complex Role of Complexity. How Service Providers Can Mitigate Negative Effects of Perceived Service Complexity When Selling Professional Services featured in the post was co-authored by Sven Mikolon (Imperial College London, United Kingdom), Anika Kolberg, Till Haumann, and Jan Wieseke (Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany). It is available ahead of print at Journal of Service Research website. Journal of Service Research is the world’s leading service research journal that features articles by service experts from both academia and business world.

Note: All content within this website is the property of Center for Services Leadership. Any use of materials, except for social media sharing, without the prior written consent of Center for Services Leadership is strictly prohibited.

Martin Mende on Coproduction of Transformative Services

Read an interview with the CSL Faculty Network Member Martin Mende, Florida State University, on Management INK blog: Martin Mende on Coproduction of Transformative Services. In this interview, Martin Mende discusses his research featured in the article “Coproduction of Transformative Services as a Pathway to Improved Consumer Well-Being: Findings from a Longitudinal Study on Financial Counseling” published in Journal of Service Research.

See the Experience You Are Giving Customers

By Nancy Stephens

Nancy StephensWhat does it feel like to do business with you?

Customer experience is the new field of competition. In most service industries, all competitors are technically on par. All banks, airlines, universities and other service companies perform the necessary core functions. The quality of the experience they offer is what often drives buyer preference. Thus, it is imperative that managers carefully examine, analyze and understand their services from a customer point of view. A useful tool is service blueprinting.

A service blueprint is a process map that managers draw to visualize each step of the customer’s experience. Unlike most process maps, its primary goal is to:

  • understand the customer experience at each step of the service process, and
  • capture what is needed for the organization to deliver and support this experience.

Everything is linked to and considered from the customer’s point of view. Through this customer-focused lens, it is possible to see things such as:

  • where the customer experiences quality,
  • where the customer experiences difficulty,
  • what parts of the experience may not be necessary, or
  • what things a service provider should add to enhance the experience.

At each customer step, the service blueprint allows you to see the corresponding actions that take place onstage, that customers can see. It also shows actions that are occurring backstage and in support areas, not visible to the customer. Service blueprint maps the entire service and provides a complete view of a service experience.

Service blueprinting is often compared to customer journey mapping. Both methods highlight the touchpoints customers have with an organization. The main difference is that service blueprinting connects each customer touchpoint with the on-stage, back-stage, support and technology actions performed by the service provider to make the touchpoint happen. For example, a service blueprint will show what actions a bank teller, an unseen loan officer and a bank IT specialist have to take for a customer to make an online loan payment.

Service blueprinting can help you answer questions like: Who performs each of the actions that construct the entire service? Are customers overburdened with too many complicated steps? What employee actions have the most impact on delivering positive customer experience? Are any of critical touchpoints are missing or do not take place at the right time?

For example, one training company manager was shocked when she drew a blueprint of her customer’s experience of visiting the company’s website. She had never realized how confusing and complicated the company website was for prospective customers. She explained:

“First, the customer clicks on ‘income tax’ and gets 8 options. She selects ‘advanced courses’ and a list of 37 courses pops up in no obvious order. She backs out and goes back to “income tax’ where she sees the 8 options again. She compares two of them and clicks on the ‘Master Tax’ link, where she can download a 49-page handbook, which is too long to download or read right now. As you can see in the blueprint, it just goes on. The customer must think, if it’s this difficult to get some simple information, what would it be like if I signed up for a course?” 

The manager realized that if she wanted customers to sign up for courses, she had to make the website clearer and easier to navigate.Visiting a training company website service blueprint

Service blueprinting is also effective for analyzing internal services, where customers are company employees. As an example, the manager of a computer-support department learned through a service blueprint that the first interaction with the technician was the most important moment of truth in computer support service. The technician’s ability to immediately resolve the issue and allow the employee to continue working was the key to positive customer experience. “Employees seem to assume that the technician will have the solution right away. This one moment, at the very beginning of the service process, forms a long-lasting impression of our department,” observed the manager. “The blueprint made us realize that we need to have a database with the most common problems and questions so that our technicians can solve problems right away.”Computer Repaire Service Blueprint

Over the years, the Center for Services Leadership has shared service blueprinting techniques with many Fortune 500 companies. It is always great to see how this powerful technique can illuminate the customer’s experience and allow organizations to analyze and improve it. We are convinced that service blueprinting should be in the toolkit of every service manager. If you are interested to learn more about service blueprinting, you can find more information on our website. You can also learn this versatile technique in our online Service Blueprinting course.

The Next Wave of Service Delivery: Success Accelerators!

randy-wootton-headshotBy Randy Wootton

The Challenge

Today, more and more companies depend on software as a service (SaaS) to operate essential parts of their business, such as managing their relationships with customers, driving sales performance, and maintaining employee communication. As the industry and surrounding ecosystem that delivers these services matures, it faces a growing demand for accountability and results.

This is driven by many factors. As the global economy has emerged from recession, there is an increased focus on cost control and accountability. The shift in accounting for technology spending from capital expenses to operating expenses requires quicker results from technology investments–often within a single fiscal year. And the growing sophistication and utility of the services themselves makes them an indispensable ingredient in any company’s success – shining a spotlight on how they are implemented, deployed and used.

Cloud technology providers, such as Salesforce, have matured to deliver high availability, reliability, and continual improvements in features and performance, alongside quick support response and maturing service options–all with an eye towards long-term customer retention. But the environment in which these services live has changed, and service providers need to change with it.

“Whereas yesterday’s services needed mechanics to keep them running, tomorrow’s services will require a Formula 1 pit crew.”

From Fulfillment to Accountability

The use of cloud services has reached a point where it is possible to begin building robust best practices and centers of excellence whose reach extends beyond the technology implementation itself. Cloud-based software also allows providers to have access to huge amounts of data about how customers are using the technology effectively. As such, providers can learn from the experience of thousands of customers and combine this with direct collaboration to find new and better ways for their customers to achieve success.

As a result, service providers can become more accountable not just for the availability, functionality and reliability of the services they deliver, but also for the business outcomes that those services are targeted to achieve – increased sales performance, better customer service, greater employee engagement, stronger governance and compliance, and so on.

At the same time, to successfully adopt and use these services to their full potential, companies will need to develop the right business skills and experience that they may not have in house. And, as noted above, various macroeconomic and business process shifts are driving business leaders to demonstrate a return on their cloud investments faster than ever before.

All cloud tech providers must first evolve from offering fulfillment services (primarily implementation help and reactive support) to delivering proactive guidance. The leading providers will continue this evolution in accountability by offering  packaged services and long-term engagements that are targeted at delivering specific business outcomes that enable long-term customer value.

The Big Opportunity–Outcomes

According to the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), the long-term momentum of the industry is towards “outcome-based services.” Although the financial model for outcome-based services in its truest form – e.g. compensation based on achievement of KPIs or some other measure – has not yet been established, it is clear that the nature of packaged services delivery must shift from technology implementation and support towards being outcome-focused.

In response, cloud providers must respond by providing more personalized and focused service, going beyond even the premium support offerings on offer today.

Salesforce is taking the initiative to transform the industry by announcing its new Success Accelerators–part of the Success Services launched at Dreamforce in October. Complementing the support and training available through our Success Plans, Salesforce’s new Success Accelerators go beyond services and support and dive into outcomes – helping our customers get the most out of their Salesforce implementation. We’ve identified the KPIs that matter to our customers, and we’ve designed programs that help them achieve – and exceed – them. We co-create success plans with our customers that deliver the business outcomes they demand.

The result is a set of engagements that are tailored to their business and context – part of an ongoing relationship that is tuned to what kind of business they are in, where they are in the cloud adoption cycle, and the outcomes they want to achieve. We begin with a close look at what’s unique about a customer’s business, then we work collaboratively towards an outcome-focused implementation plan that spans technology, business practices and culture.

These engagements give customers access to an elite team of specialists that cross multiple disciplines – from technologists to data analysts to change management experts. They leverage the learning and experience of over 150,000 customers who are already achieving success with our cloud services. Our customers can also tap into this knowledge and expertise through a variety of self-guided programs and self-service resources. They offer the right combination of ongoing, personalized collaboration and advice, and the delivery of support at scale. Crucially, they offer the flexibility to choose the approach and level of participation that works best for a customer based on what their ambition and current operating reality.

In the end, we are trying to lead the way by being more consultative and prescriptive in our relationships with customers – to stand by customers long after the initial sale, and to guide them towards the business results they desire. And that consultative relationship needs to extend beyond our market-leading technology itself, and into addressing the business challenges of our customers. If we are able to create close, consultative and long-term relationships with our customers, we believe we will earn a place at their table as trusted advisers, who can help them on their transformation journey and dramatically improve retention year over year.

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linkedinRandy Wootton
has 20+ years of experience leading both small and large teams/organizations, driving results and making money for companies and clients. He is currently the VP of Salesforce’s Customer Success Products focused on accelerating the Service Product Portfolio growth from $300M to $1B. Prior to Salesforce.com, Randy was SVP of Sales, Service and Marketing at AdReady–a ventured-backed advertising technology start up–where he drove adoption of AdReady’s unique display advertising solution in the mid-market. Randy was previously VP of Global Search and Online Marketplace at Microsoft, where he was instrumental in operationalizing  Microsoft’s “Search Alliance” agreement with Yahoo! for the small and medium sized space. Wootton also spent more than four years at aQuantive in product management, marketing and business development roles. Earlier in his career, Randy was a Naval Aviator, flew in A-6E intruders in two Persian Gulf deployments and taught literature at the US Naval Academy. Randy received a BS from the US Naval Academy, an MALA from St. John’s College and an MBA from The Harvard Business School, resides in the Bay Area with his wife and 2 little monsters.

You can hear more of Randy’s insights at the Compete Through Service Symposium on November 7th.

Note: All content within this website is the property of Center for Services Leadership. Any use of materials, except for social media sharing, without the prior written consent of Center for Services Leadership is strictly prohibited.