Innovative companies face a unique challenge: if the customer fails at using the technology, the company is to blame.
They’ll blame the innovator even if they only logged in once.
They’ll blame the innovator even if they never fully implemented the program.
They’ll blame the innovator even if they only used a fraction of the features.
They’ll blame the innovator even if they used it for the wrong purpose.
Without a longstanding reputation and proven track record, customers are likely to blame the innovators for the failure of the technology despite their own negligence in using it.
Until They Don’t Blame the Innovator…
Whether the product is B2C or B2B, the customer still has a limited amount of time and money. Adopting a new technology takes both. If the process of understanding how to use the product is not made easy, their patience will run out before they can realize the value of the innovation. Even though it may be the fault of the customer for not taking the time to learn how to use the product, they will blame the innovator when they feel they have wasted their time and money.
The blame game may seem arbitrary, but the consequences are not. When a customer blames the innovator, they will take the first opportunity to sever their relationship with the innovative company.
There’s a learning curve when adopting new technology and it takes effort to overcome it. This effort will either burden the customer or the innovator. The difference is that the customer is sure to give up long before the innovator does. For this reason, it is the responsibility of the innovator to shoulder the burden of pulling a customer over the learning curve.
This is why innovative companies must invest in customer success. Customer success teams and technologies serve not to shift the blame – but to mitigate the reason for blame entirely.
How Customer Success Mitigates the Need for Blame
When a product is new and groundbreaking, the end user will have to learn how to use it. This learning curve needs to be as short as possible. By employing customer success professionals and technologies, an innovative company can teach customers how to gain the benefits of their investment.
It’s important to remember that marketing and sales teams focus on conveying the “what” and “why” factors – but not “how”. Without knowing the nuances of how to get the what, they’ll never fulfill the reason why they bought your innovative product in the first place.
Customer success teams and technologies can assist the customer in using all the features necessary to make the most of their purchase. We sell our products at a pricing point that is calculated with the value of using the product to its fullest, so it is to our benefit to ensure our customers view the price as fair.
A central role of customer success is identifying and optimizing what is and isn’t being used, the capacity at which it is being used and the various applications it is being used for. Consider the difference it makes when we use features like air conditioning and cruise control while driving; or if the car was only being used to drive in a one-block radius. Explaining these features and that it can be used to drive long distances completely changes how much the driver values the car.
Another part of customer success is showing the customer that they are achieving their goals with your innovation. This can be an automated process, built into their analytics or even emailed directly from your customer success team. Whatever approach is appropriate for the company, proving the innovation’s value to the customer is essential to maintaining a long relationship with them.
Fortunately for innovators, there are a lot of great professionals and technologies to employ for the purpose of bringing your customers over the learning curve. Customer success is becoming a standard part of business as innovation leads the economy. The only tricky part is finding the right combination of people and technologies for you.
This article was written by Mark Silver from Business2Community.