Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue (英語) ハードカバー – 2016/2/29
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Your business success is now forever linked to the success of your customers Customer Success is the groundbreaking guide to the exciting new model of customer management. Business relationships are fundamentally changing. In the world B.C. (Before Cloud), companies could focus totally on sales and marketing because customers were often 'stuck' after purchasing. Therefore, all of the 'post-sale' experience was a cost center in most companies. In the world A.B. (After Benioff), with granular per-year, per-month or per-use pricing models, cloud deployments and many competitive options, customers now have the power. As such, B2B vendors must deliver success for their clients to achieve success for their own businesses.
Customer success teams are being created in companies to quarterback the customer lifecycle and drive adoption, renewals, up-sell and advocacy. The Customer Success philosophy is invading the boardroom and impacting the way CEOs think about their business. Today, Customer Success is the hottest B2B movement since the advent of the subscription business model, and this book is the one-of-a-kind guide that shows you how to make it work in your company.
From the initial planning stages through execution, you'll have expert guidance to help you:
- Understand the context that led to the start of the Customer Success movement
- Build a Customer Success strategy proven by the most competitive companies in the world
- Implement an action plan for structuring the Customer Success organization, tiering your customers, and developing the right cross-functional playbooks
NICK MEHTA is CEO of Gainsight, where he brings the right people together and puts them in the best position to win for customers, partners, employees, and their families. He's a big believer in the Golden Rule, and he uses it to bring more compassion to interactions with others.
DAN STEINMAN is the chief customer officer for Gainsight. He is the author of dozens of relevant blogs, contributed articles, and Customer Success University created by Gainsight and a recognized thought leader in the Customer Success world.
LINCOLN MURPHY is founder of Sixteen Ventures, a consultancy helping companies accelerate growth through Customer Success. He's a prolific writer and international speaker on Growth and Customer Success.
In reality, customer success is an evolving discipline and no one has all the answers - and even if they did, things are changing so rapidly that today's best practice may become tomorrow's failure. This book is a good introduction to many of the core concepts of customer success, and why understanding what success means for your customer is essential to remaining competitive in today's subscription economy.
The book has a few major gaps. First of all, segmentation is purely on size of customer organization / size of revenue from first sale; it doesn't address the fact that you might be serving multiple quite different customer types all of whom are in the "long tail." Additionally the book doesn't recognize that there might be several different actors in the play. Success for the call center manager might be "getting this new product installed and running within 90 days" whereas success for the call center director might be "reducing staffing costs by 5% while improving time-to-answer by 10%." You have to know your customers at a reasonable level of detail in order to know what metrics matter to which of them, and why.
But these points aside, the book does a good job of introducing the concepts of measuring success by definable metrics, keeping constant watch on those metrics, and ensuring that every part of the organization understands that making things as easy as possible for the customer is key to survival in today's world. Even organizations operating in apparent backwaters such as the manufacturing of heavy industrial equipment should study the lessons in this book in order to see (a) how to beat the competition by being more customer-outcome focused, and (b) how to increase revenue opportunities by understanding the entire customer life cycle. Today pre-sales and after-sales are generally quite different animals with different incentives and the customer is the one who experiences the gaps; tomorrow there should be a continuous coherent journey from initial discovery through to expansion and renewal - but this can't happen unless the entire organization understands what parts play which roles in customer success and incentives are correctly aligned.
If you expect this to be a "how to do customer success" playbook you will be disappointed. There's a significant number of key omissions and some hand-waving, plus the usual business-book generalities. But if you use it to stimulate your own thinking about how your company can focus more on making sure your customers come back for more, it's a valuable tool. Just realize that we're in the early days of customer success thinking, so your journey will likely be on or near the bleeding edge - just like everyone else.
The book does a good job of covering the WHY and the WHAT of customer success. Specifically, there is good coverage of: key metrics, risks to detect, and key activities (at a high level). As other reviewers have commented, you will be disappointed if you are looking for a how-to guide with in-depth case studies.
If I can offer one criticism, it is that the content jumps back and forth and is frequently overlapping. The main cause for this is that the bulk of the book is actually a reprint of a GainSight content marketing piece entitled "10 Laws of Customer Success" that is itself a compendium of the views of 10 different authors.
I close this review with some advice once given to me by my grandfather that still, and will always, hold true: 'Always give more of yourself than people expect'