Fueled by technological innovation and market disruption, organizations continue to evolve rapidly, and the pace of change only continues to accelerate. Through it all, enterprise leaders must continue to strive to ensure customers are successful. However, in the rush to adapt, a persistent disconnect remains between product innovation and customer success strategies. This post examines these areas in more detail and offers insights for closing the gap.
How Are Customer Success Strategies Evolving?
Across the organization, teams can have very different definitions of product innovation and customer success. While continued innovation is critical for a product, at the same time it is also vital to ensure that this innovation ultimately maximizes the value of customer investments and continues to strengthen long-term relationships.
If an organization is not completely focused on customer success, then it will surely run the risk of seeing erosion in relationships, satisfaction, and renewals. Traditionally, businesses used to have distinct functions that were called upon to manage relationships with customers, such as account teams, customer service, and the like. Within technology companies and particularly SaaS vendors, customer success strategies have emerged that led to a rethinking of those functions. In these organizations, customer success represents a cross-functional discipline that’s centered on the customer. These organizations seek to establish the teams, technologies, and processes that ensure customers receive exceptional experiences and achieve their desired outcomes.
To achieve these objectives, you have to know your customers, understand what their challenges and objectives are, and determine the solutions they need to be successful.
Ultimately, customer success strategies force the entire organization to look at whether the customer is successful today. It also requires teams to ascertain where customers want to be in the future. Given the rapid rate of change in technological innovation and customer requirements, delivering solutions that work today, and being prepared to address customer demands of tomorrow, takes continuous innovation.
What Is Product Innovation and Why Is It So Important?
For our purposes, we define product innovation as the process of delivering or enhancing product offerings that provide new capabilities, offering customers the ability to harness technological innovation and solve new problems.
As teams continue to deliver product innovations, they can gain improved knowledge of their customers. This learning needs to be continuous as the pace of change continues to accelerate, particularly in terms of demands for technology. For example, mobile phones that had chipsets that were limited to 3G were in low demand after 4G technology was launched. Today, 4G phones are meeting customers’ needs, but consider what would happen if Apple stopped innovating its iPhone today. Even with a lot of great features remaining, if iPhones aren’t enhanced to offer 5G compatibility, will customers continue to buy them in the coming months and years? No, customers will turn towards competitors that offer 5G-compatible phones, so they can take advantage of new services, and faster, higher-bandwidth networks.
Even loyal customers are not going to stick with the same brand or product if the vendor doesn’t continue to innovate. And that’s not just true for mobile phone vendors, but virtually any business in any industry. Customers are clear on what they need, and if the current vendor isn’t delivering, they’ll find one that will. Product developers need to continue to innovate to meet those needs.
What Are The Benefits of Bringing Innovation to Products?
When a vendor delivers a product that is more innovative and user friendly, they’ll boost their odds of beating the competition and gaining new customers. Businesses can strengthen their sales and marketing by touting differentiated features. They’ll also boost retention of existing customers and gain the advantages of superior brand name and recognition.
However, the benefits of product innovation don’t stop there. Businesses that are seen as successful innovators will find it easier to attract and retain top talent. If employees are able to leverage the latest technologies to innovate, they’ll be more engaged, more committed, and more productive. All these gains can contribute not only to more sales but increased profitability.
Artificial Intelligence in Products
Today, enterprise products are built on continuously evolving technology platforms. More than ever before, these technology platforms need to address never-ending demands for data storage and processing and provide meaningful inputs to users. Customers are now not only looking at products to take care of their systems, but to offer fundamentally better ways to achieve their objectives. To deliver these breakthroughs, businesses are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI).
Looking forward, AI will become an integral part of a range of solutions, providing optimized, critical, and lifesaving decisions almost instantly. In IT operations, AI will speed issue identification, and enable automated changes and remediation. AI-powered innovations are making it into products that span a range of areas, including DevOps, healthcare, fraud detection, virtual customer assistance, navigation systems, telecom, and much more.
What Is BizOps and Why Do You Need It?
BizOps is a decision-making framework based on the principle that long-term success can only be achieved by establishing a seamless connection between target business outcomes, business operations, and technology functions.
With BizOps, you can make smarter decisions and establish the continual improvements that fuel business growth, enhanced customer experience, and increased profitability. By successfully employing this approach, your teams can build transparency, traction, and trust.
Through BizOps, teams can combine the power of AI and human judgement to make better decisions than using either one alone. These capabilities help close the gap between IT outputs and business outcomes. With improved communication and data sharing, enterprises can make selections that eliminate silos so teams can move quickly to achieve their goals. Executing a BizOps driven vision fundamentally changes the way business and IT collaborates and transforms the operating model. BizOps creates the transparency, traction, and trust that business and IT need to truly move forward together. It connects technology initiatives with business outcomes and helps customer success through effective planning.
With these capabilities, BizOps offers instrumental assistance for teams looking to align continuous product innovation with customer success strategies.
By harnessing BizOps, organizations can better ensure that they’re delivering product innovation that is optimally aligned with customer success strategies. Through these innovations, teams will be better equipped to deliver optimized experiences and establish deeper, long-term relationships with customers. In this way, businesses will be better equipped to boost customer renewals and retention and increase profitability.
Customer success is an ever-evolving practice. Commitment to this practice stems from the fact that customer success needs to drive everything we do; it’s everyone’s job. There is no secret sauce, and no one has all the answers. And even if there was a secret sauce to customer success, technologies and customer requirements are changing so fast that today’s best practice could result in tomorrow’s catastrophe. Customer success strategies are growth drivers, changing the way your organization approaches the customer journey so you can benefit from satisfied customers. Being an innovative company and associating with your customers during the innovation process guarantees that you are not only innovating but innovating in a way that your customers want to see.