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 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 on how customer experience can be applied in the public sector.
Over the past three years, I have been working with partners to create Customer Experience (CX) practices, and I have heard from those who work in the government or public sector say that CX doesn’t apply to them. Having worked with different partners for more than 13 years and handled my share of government projects, I can understand their viewpoint.
With the current way that public sector organizations purchase products – using a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and going with the lowest bid – it may seem useless to try Customer Success. “It doesn’t matter”, “It’s not going to work”, and “They won’t agree to or approve the plan” are some of the things I commonly hear when I first start talking to partners who are heavily involved with the public sector.
It is going to be challenging in the beginning. As the industry continues to move toward a more software- and cloud-based SaaS model, however, the IT channel and end-user customers are going to have to change. It will no longer make sense for everything to go out to bid on a software renewal. When you take away the hardware and delivery services, you take away the opportunity for drastic price fluctuation. If price is no longer the differentiator, what is?
Everyone, including those in the public sector, wants to have a good experience. They want their employees and management to be satisfied that the day-to-day operations are doing what they expect them to do. They want to be successful!
But until that time comes, does customer success make sense? If so, how can we incorporate it without creating additional hurdles to overcome?
Customer success always makes sense. Identifying business outcomes and KPIs that ensure the software and solutions you are providing your customers is bringing value to their organization not only shows your customers that you are vested in them, but it also provides your internal teams the ability to see the outcomes of their efforts as you hit those KPIs.
To incorporate customer success without creating hurdles, simply incorporate customer success in everything you do from start to finish. Don’t make customer success something that is stand-alone or a one-off process. If you include your customer success plan within your RFP, then you show the customer upfront that you understand the requirements and are prepared to show the outcomes using quantifiable metrics. When that RFP turns into a scope of work (SoW), you keep the customer success plan incorporated in the SoW, and the customer isn’t asked to sign or approve an additional document.
This method allows partners to start using customer success and gain the knowledge and experience that will benefit them in the future as all organizations shift how they buy, use and renew software licenses.
If you would like to know more about Customer Experience and how it can improve your organization, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com