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Editor’s note: This article was contributed by Carl Paul, Partner Success Executive at SYNNEX Comstor. Paul holds regular monthly SYNNEX Customer Experience training courses for partners to teach them how to develop Customer Success Plans and map the Customer Experience Lifecycle. He writes regularly about CX-related issues on EDGE360. Read his latest article below.

If Customer Success Plans (CSPs) are the heart of Customer Experience (CX), then adoption must be the soul.

A Customer Success Plan is the place where the customer experience lifecycle starts. It is the repository for the expectations, outcomes, metrics, and relevant information that start the CX journey. The CX journey does not stop when the CSP is completed and agreed upon. In fact, that is just the beginning.

Near the end of solution delivery is when the actual journey starts, and it starts with adoption.

In the early phases of adoption, the focus is on ensuring that the customer is aware of all the features and functionality provided within the solution. This is usually done through in-depth training and knowledge transfer from the provider and should be especially focused on the areas identified by the customer as important to the business.

Behind the scenes, the Customer Success Manager (CSM) will gather data from the deployment, track any outstanding issues ticket issues and create baselines to track against the KPIs from the CSP.

The initial phases of adoption are very critical to the overall success of the solution lifecycle. If customers are unaware or do not understand how to use the product, their time to value may be delayed, and the value to their organization will be diminished from the start.

It is important that the CSM keeps his/her finger on the pulse of the customer early and often during the adoption phases and receives regular feedback from all the stakeholders on their perception of the value being realized. These touchpoints allow the CSM to gain an understanding of the customer’s landscape and begin creating a relationship that allows him/her to become an advocate for the customer. This type of relationship helps the CSM gather data and insight to make corrective adjustments if needed. Additional training, knowledge transfer, or alterations to the solution configuration may be required to ensure that the solution is meeting the customer’s expected outcomes.

During this time, problems may be identified that have a direct influence on the provided solution but are outside of the scope of delivery. For example, a network issue may cause problems with video conferencing. The CSM needs to be able to work with his/her team to troubleshoot and identify the cause of the issue because it directly affects the success of the customer’s desired business outcomes.  These situations can be turned into a positive for the customer and provider by working together to reach a resolution. The provider can sell additional products and services while increasing his/her relationship as a trusted advisor, and the customer is able to resolve a problem that may not only be affecting the original solution but also other areas in the business.

Adoption does not stop once the customer has been trained, knowledge transfer is completed, and the outstanding project tickets and issues are closed. As the CX lifecycle continues, things change, new features and functionality may be released that the customer is unaware of, or changes in the customer’s business landscape may cause the customer’s requirements and outcomes to change.

These changes are why adoption must continue to be a regular part of the lifecycle journey. The CSM must be aware of these changes and how they affect the customer, the solution, and how the CSMs organization can assist the customer to continue to realize success and see the value of not only the solution but also the relationship with the provider.

At the end of a successful customer experience lifecycle, the fruits of adoption are truly realized, with a successful customer renewing the solution licensing and continuing the journey.

To join the next half-day Customer Success Plan workshop with Carl Paul click here to see available dates and register.