User Adoption Insights From Tri Tuns

IT User Adoption – a Question of Motivation

This famous clip from the movie Office Space is a quick reminder of one of the most commonly overlooked issues when implementing IT systems – motivating people to work. And sure, Initech is a fictional company, but it actually resembles a lot of organizations with which I have worked over the years. 

In this scene, the employee Peter Gibbons tells the efficiency consultants how his organization approaches motivation and the impact it has on his work efforts. Does this sound like your organization?

Watch video here.

How do you motivate people to use your IT system?

Whenever you implement an IT system, look at all things affecting employee motivation. Sometimes there are issues with compensation and incentives. Other times the management may actually be demotivating employees. 

As Peter says, “I have 8 different bosses right now…so that means when I make a mistake I have 8 different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only motivation – not to be hassled.”

Would WIIFM motivate this employee?

Convention wisdom (which is high on convention, and low on wisdom) often says that when implementing an IT system you should try to “sell people on what’s in it for me”. 

Do you think trying to sell Peter on WIIFM would work in this case? Of course not. There are bigger issues that need to be fixed here. And unless these other items are fixed, WIIFM will not work.

So, what will you do to make sure you have motivated people to use your system? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us on the Customer Success Practitioners group on LInkedIn.

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“We don’t care. We don’t have to.” …uh, yes you do.

Do you remember this Saturday Night Live advertisement skit with Lily Tomlin as a phone company employee?

I remember watching this clip when I was a kid and laughing because it was so true. Back then, the phone company was the only game in town. And they knew it.

Customer choice means vendors need to care

Now, just a few years (ok, decades) later, these same phone companies are struggling to reduce customer churn. They are (finally?) realizing that things have changed and the customer now has more power in the relationship. And customers are not afraid to use it.

SaaS vendors need to focus on keeping customers...

Like phone companies, SaaS vendors – or any vendor selling on a subscription basis – realize that reducing churn and keeping customers for as long as possible is essential to their success. Unlike the phone companies of yesteryear, they can’t hold customers hostage and just expect the money to keep rolling in.

…but what do they need to do to reduce churn?

Many organizations recognize the need to retain customers, but they are not sure how.

The secret is simple. If you want to retain customers, make sure they:

1. Are getting value from your product or service, and

2. They enjoy their experience with your organization

If you can do that, you will keep them. As soon as these two things fall short, your customer will leave.

Focus on customer success to reduce churn

Many companies have invested in improving the customer experience and increasing customer satisfaction ratings. Now they to focus on making sure customers are getting full value / benefits realization. 

For many organizations, this means creating a Customer Success Management program. Customer success is not account management or even customer service. It is all about helping the customer achieve the measured benefits and ROI that is meaningful to them. It requires different methods, tools, and activities than before.

Do you have a Customer Success Management program? If not, why not? If so, how has it affected your customer churn? 

Please share your thoughts and experiences on the Customer Success Practitioners group on LinkedIn.

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Differentiated Customer Success Management (CSM) Services

When speaking with Customer Success Management professionals they consistently tell me they provide different CSM services depending on the customer. Even basic customer segmentation has allowed them to prioritize their efforts and adjust their services to meet the specific needs of different customer groups.

Not all customers are equal

While all customers are important, they are not all equal. Some customers are more profitable. Some require more support and take more time. Some customers start small, but with a huge potential lifetime value, whereas others may have limited potential.

When developing your CSM program, make sure you understand both the needs and the potential value of your different customers. And then, prioritize accordingly.

Differentiate B2B or B2C

B2B and B2C customers often require different CSM plans.You will need to adjust your Customer Success Management approach to meet the unique needs of B2B and B2C customers. 

• B2B customers often have less individual control and discretion when it comes to the systems and tools they use. In addition to individual user habits, you have to navigate a plethora of organizational issues, including internal business processes, incentives, policies, procedures, technical and data quality issues.

• B2C customers tend to have a high degree of individual control and discretion when it comes to using your product or service. You may need to help them develop new habits that involve regular, sustainable use of your system.

Delivering B2B CSM services is more complex than B2C, but the revenue amounts at stake often make it a priority. 

Differentiate size & budget

It will take some experimentation to determine the optimal size and budget for your CSM program. The type of CSM services you deliver will influence the number of customer success management staff you need. It will also affect things like the amount of travel (face-to-face) service vs. the amount of remote (web and phone) service.

Many CSM programs start relatively small and then grow as the customer base grows. When you building your CSM program be sure to include plans for how you will add additional capacity as your customer base changes and as their needs – and your software - changes.

Change your methods based on customer need and value

You can help customers be successful with your product or service in many different ways. For some customers, it may make sense to provide services that are largely automated and uniform. For others, especially those with a high potential lifetime customer value, you may need to provide more hands-on, customized CSM services. And, as your customers grow, you may need to adjust the level of service they receive. 

Everything You Need for Success

Check out these great resources to help make your Customer Success Management program the best in the industry.

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Customer Success Management (CSM): Your Critical Path to Customer Renewals

SaaS vendors – or any vendor that sells on a subscription basis – know that retaining customers is critical for growing revenues and ensuring the overall prosperity of their organization. The challenge is that historically companies have focused on the initial sale and building new relationships. Renewals werenice, but not the top focus area.

Most companies have a process for closing the initial sales

Over the years, I have worked with lots of great sales and service organizations when they were implementing CRM systems. We spent a lot of time mapping out sales stages, defining sales activities, and building sales tools. 

What was clear is that they have invested lots of time and money in creating a sales organization that knows what it is doing and can close deals. That is, they could close new deals. 
But what about retaining customers?

But they don't have a plan for what happens next

The rise of SaaS and subscription pricing means that customer renewal processes need to evolve too. SaaS vendors need to identify what needs to happen to make the customer choose to renew year after year. And they need to look at this from both their perspective and the perspective of the customer. 
The image below shows the typical approach many SaaS companies take with renewals. Vendors tend to focus solely on the initial sale and then waits for the renewal period to come around. Sure, they will provide some customer support and will focus on maintaining the relationship with the buyer, but they do little to ensure the customer is getting value from the system….which is the main criterion on which customers base their renewal decisions.
To be profitable, SaaS vendors need to focus on Customer Success Management (CSM) to promote IT user adoption and measurable ROI.

Typical SaaS Renewal Process

And they lose a lot of customers at renewals

The problem is this: the customer has a different renewal process. 

That is, driving effective and sustainable user adoption and (therefore) getting measurable value/ROI are on the customers’ critical path for renewals. 
If they don’t achieve these two things, they don’t renew. Period.
To be profitable, SaaS vendors need to focus on Customer Success Management (CSM) to promote IT user adoption and measurable ROI.

IT User Adoption & ROI are critical path for customer renewals

Including Customer Success Management activities after go-live is critical to renewals

Sustaining user adoption and achieving measurable ROI has always been the Achilles’ heel for IT projects. Prior to SaaS software, these problems fell 100% to the customer. Now, for the first time, the SaaS model means the vendor has a vested interest in helping customers solve these problems.
So, what is a SaaS vendor to do to help customers? Establish Customer Success Management (CSM) teams to help ensure customers achieve their goals and renew they software. 
Quite simply, profitable SaaS vendors recognize CSM is on the critical path to customer renewals. And they must continue to provide CSM services over the life of the customer relationship, for once, a customer stops getting value from the system, and they stop renewing.
To be profitable, SaaS vendors need to focus on Customer Success Management (CSM) to promote IT user adoption and measurable ROI.