Strengthening Your Customer Success (CS) Program by Building Internal Advocates - and a Gold Deck
Updated: Apr 20, 2022
You have probably heard the mantra “Customer success is a whole company initiative.” You might also be part of an organization where it feels like only the CS team shares this mantra. Sales, Product Development, and even Support departments may see customer service issues as a CS problem. However, a truly successful CS program requires trust and understanding from the top down as well as trust and alignment across each department.
How can you achieve trust in your CS program, and gain buy-in and support for new initiatives? One of the most successful ways I have found over the years is to start with an internal “Gold Deck” and take it on the road.
What is a Gold Deck? It’s simply a presentation deck that contains three important components with the end goal of building internal advocates.
As we all know, gaining support for your program needs to start at the C-Level, so this deck must include the company’s mission and the overall mission of the CS organization clearly stated and tied back to tangible facts and data. Steer clear of opinions and anecdotes for now, and answer these questions: How will the CS program and processes bring real results to the company? How will the customer benefit? What is the long-term effect?
Next, do some research for each of the internal teams. What we learned in Public Speaking and Communications 101 still rings true….Know. Your. Audience. You should understand each department’s goals and incentives (what’s in it for them?), but even more important is to understand the risks and pain points? Try to wrap your head around these key pieces and tie it back to how to help them with their goals through a strong CS program. How can the overall adoption, renewal and upsell of customers benefit all teams? While customer success doesn’t “fix” all of the issues that may surface internally, a great CS program strives to partner and influence.
Finally, develop a complete Customer Lifecycle graphic highlighting areas where each of the teams overlap. Call out clear goals and ideas for how to work together and make these areas better, first and foremost for the customer, but ALSO for those interacting with them. Be clear on the expectations and ownership of each piece. Highlight the ultimate goal: Higher Adoption = Satisfied Customers = Less Churn with Higher Renewals and Upsells.
Once your presentation is ready, it is time to take it on the road. Maybe not literally these days, but you can ask for time in scheduled team meetings or book one-on-one meetings with key managers and team leads. Circulate your message and bring members of your team with you to start building those cross-functional relationships by seeking feedback and by creating a positive energy and trust across the board.
It boils down to this: If you treat your internal teams and business units as a “customer” and approach them in similar ways, you will start to see change. From there, if you can find creative ways to help each other….the customer will experience success in the end.
The author, Grace Tester, is a Business Development Manager at nCloud Integrators, an industry leader in customer success strategy and implementation, with a track record of improving customer journeys at hundreds of customers every year.