User Experience in Customer Success Platform Planning

January 15, 2021

Madeline Evans

Category: Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Success as a Service, Customer Success Strategy, Customer Success Tools, Voice of the Team

Customer Success platforms are transforming the way internal and customer-facing teams work efficiently and produce exceptional customer experiences. If the time has come to introduce a Customer Success tool into your tech stack, taking an initial approach to understand the user experiences of your Customer Success team is critical.

An internal discovery phase with CS tool users serves as an integral step when introducing this new tool to your organization. Now that you have decided to take the plunge and acquire a CS platform, your next steps are data integration and team implementation. Be sure not to skip over assessing the key areas that will have the highest impact.

Invest in the UX of your internal Customer Success team

Introducing a CS tool is not simply an instant resolution to disparate systems or a lack of visibility; it is an investment in time and a solution to iterate and build upon, which can and will result in positive ROI when done right. A Forrester Study recognizes the ROI from good UX: “If you utilize UX design to satisfy enough people to boost your customer retention by as little as 5%, you will be rewarded with a profit increase of at least 25%.”

Let’s face it: It’s not uncommon that your internal users’ experience is overlooked when it comes to the introduction of a new tool. When it comes time to solve for process efficiency and workflow improvement, be sure to consider the user experiences of your CS team across your organization’s various systems. When transitioning operations from manual spreadsheets or a CRM to a specialized CS platform, consider and define your specific use cases.

Taking this initiative from the ground up will help your organization identify early win targets and quick solutions for user adoption. By addressing the processes and UX within your CS team’s current tools and systems, you can pinpoint prioritization for data connection and initial requirements for the first iteration of your CS tool. Create a strong foundation with room to iterate and build first – rather than run the risk of platform re-work or potential tool abandonment.

When CS operations run smoothly, you are more likely to translate these initiatives into an improved (and more profitable) customer experience in return. A consistent employee experience boosts team effectiveness, opening the door for your CS professionals to proactively mitigate risk and properly address customer escalations that need immediate attention.

As you build and invest in improving your CX practices, understand that consistency is an essential approach for both your CS team and your customers. According to research from Forrester, “95% of customers use three or more channels to connect with a company in a single service interaction, with 62% using more than one device.” And Accenture research has found that “65% of customers expressed frustration over inconsistent experiences or information presented across channels.”

When employees can operate consistently and effectively within your integrated CS platform, you are working towards both internal and external experiences that foster lasting customer relationships. Take the time to invest in a user experience phase for your Customer Success team ahead of taking your CS platform ‘live,’ so you can begin to generate the necessary impact and value for your CS team members and their customers.

A recommended approach

Start an internal CS platform user experience discovery phase by holding a few sessions with your team. This can be a screenshare effort to get a view into daily activities and workflows – sit back, watch, and learn. Understand the answers to questions such as: What are the data sources you rely on and what are their use cases? Where is time wasted? Where are tasks repeated? What works well, and what needs improvement?

These sessions will allow for deeper insight into your team’s experiences with customer engagement, customer data sources and solutions, pain points and highlights, overall task involvement, and so forth. Then, as you ramp up the initial build of your new CS platform, you can determine the challenges that exist and where you should focus your efforts.

Once you have gathered your CS team’s user feedback in your discovery sessions, you’ll be well positioned to map out the process steps, workflows, data sources, challenges, and areas for focus that make up a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) version of your new CS tool. Once you’ve determined your data sources and areas for process improvement, you can begin to identify where gaps exist and where data integration and automation initiatives can step in. From your user experience and data source analysis, you can aim to prioritize the data connections needed to successfully stand up your new CS tool.

Why a phased approach?

Once you have established your MVP definition, you can begin to develop a plan for that first iterative build of your new tool. A phased approach when implementing your CS tool allows room for prioritization and iteration. Carefully consider what matters most to your CS teams in terms of initial requirements, leading KPIs, task automation opportunities, playbooks, and workflow recipes – and keep it as simple as you can to start.

The MVP version of your CS tool can then be built in a stage environment (if your chosen vendor offers that option) and tested before it’s replicated in production. Once you have established an MVP version of your tool that works, provides initial value to your CS team, and that the team has successfully adopted, you can move on to determine the next set of requirements that will continue to boost the success of your teams and customers.