Mountain Point is coming up on our 5 year anniversary at the end of October. This month has been full of reflection and adjustments to try and put ourselves in the best position to succeed for another 5 years. There have been many lessons learned along the way, and this post is going to highlight the importance of Customer Success by focusing on the lifecycle we see with our customers and the pitfalls that are often times hard to get past. We’ll highlight the viewpoints from the customer lens as well as the lens from our point of view as the consulting partner.
Change is happening. Anytime new technologies are being introduced it is for a reason. However, Digital Transformation isn’t just about the technology it’s about transforming business models through organizational change and that requires strong leadership from the top down.
To be agile and customer obsessed, organizations must embrace a culture of change and have a focus on what delivers value to their customers. Digital Transformation is not an event, it’s an organizational movement and technology just helps enable and sometimes facilitate this.
As transformations get underway, a big piece of this is Learning. Learning the direction and vision the organization is looking to move to. Learning what the new technology’s capabilities are and how that relates to fixing or enhancing your business drivers. Learning and understanding what your role is in this transformation. Learning how to build a team by getting the best out of the people you have and adding support from the outside to help with this change.
From the SI side, we are full of excitement once a deal closes. We’ve spent weeks / months understanding and Learning about your business. We see tons of opportunity and many areas where technology and process improvements can make an impact. We understand that while you see this as a really big and hard problem, most of the challenges are ones we've seen in other places and know we can help you solve them.
We use a Scope of Work as a guideline but also know there will be areas that require much more in-depth discussions and focus and that things will inevitably change throughout the engagement. We’re listening and doing our best to really identify early on what the obstacles are going to be to prevent or slow down the next phase of this framework. We’re learning the People dynamics and motivators and positioning to tailor our approach to align with these dynamics.
Establishing New Habits. During this phase of a project there are lots of hurdles that need to be addressed. Often times it feels like 1 step forward and 5 steps backwards. When changing business models and adopting new technology it takes patience and time, both of which we don’t have because we still have to do our day jobs and keep the business running.
We know we have excuses.
- Not enough time allocated to Learning and participating,
- Our data is bad,
- The old way was better so why are we reinventing the wheel,
But none of that matters because we’re expecting these tools to make our lives easier and give us more time, fix our bad data, and make us question why we were doing our jobs the old way.
This is the time where we need to earn trust the most. We need to be consistent in our communication and follow through with the priorities that both sides have short-listed. Setting up all the new business processes, integrating systems, manipulating data… all of this was the easy part. The hard part is moving the adoption snowball to the top of the hill so we can drive towards retention and expansion having this momentum continue to build.
We often have the same excuses.
- Your data is bad
- The team didn’t spend time to listen/watch/read the training materials
- Stop reverting back to the old way and legacy systems because they’re easier - of course they’re easier because you built that custom system over the past decade and have been using it for just as long - it’s become second nature. We’re only 3 months in.
But again, none of this matters. We need to eliminate our excuses and your excuses and get to the root of issues fast. Trust equals consistency over time and time is not on our side. So we have to shortcut time and identify the low-hanging fruit to deliver value fast, to get you engaged and focused but more importantly to demonstrate and articulate where you are saving time and money OR increasing revenue. The faster we can demonstrate this, the longer our runway gets to get time back on our side.
We’ve ironed out the majority of the hiccups, we now understand the new processes and why were doing things this way, we are not only going into the new system(s) and performing routinely, but more importantly we are becoming excited and see all the possibilities that wowed us early on when first considering to choose the new technology.
We have the early adopters becoming champions and the first line of defense to help out their peers. We have gained insights and access to near real-time data through Dashboards and Reports that we once gave up asking for because it was always too late and too old and rarely trusted.
We are getting more proactive versus reactive and able to shift our resources to align with the new business strategies we’ve wanted to explore. The efficiency gains allow for more time to be spent on the tasks and activities that we know work and less time on the transactional non-value added activities we’ve previously been bogged down with.
For us, this is where the excitement continues. We’re getting insightful and meaningful feedback typically in the form of - “would it be possible to do this” or “how can we add this.” Users are gaining momentum and identifying value-add enhancements and requests for more. They are recognizing more process improvements and time reducing opportunities to help them perform their jobs better. Leadership is seeing the activity and data and ideally beginning to recognize the value. Silos are breaking down and fire drills are becoming less frequent with communication and collaboration at an all time high.
We are excited because we’re able to typically deliver these new requests and enhancements fast and love seeing enthusiasm and momentum continue. We’ve updated your roadmap and continue to provide ongoing support where needed, but focus is now shifting to future phases and expansion of the platform or technology capabilities.
We’ve been on this journey together and we’re gaining confidence and momentum to tackle more projects. Our company’s digital transformation efforts are now being recognized and buy-in is there. In the beginning we thought your value was going to just get us through a one-time event. We were wrong, you’re reminding us of the roadmap we spent time on up-front and highlighting recommendations for the biggest areas of impact.
Because we’ve been able to recognize real results, we’re able to justify more budget. You’re helping us sell the vision and identify how we expand our process improvement thinking beyond the shop floor!
Expansion for us is tackling other areas of the business that oftentimes our customers don’t recognize we have expertise or solutions in. Because information sharing and collaboration across divisions is so important - it is imperative that we not only educate around our offerings, but more importantly get back to the Learning phase of this framework. We should now take our understanding of your business and show you how the integrations and technologies we’re implementing continue to help drive efficiencies and create change within the organization.
We’re reducing administrative time on Sales Reps to focus on Selling.
We’re reducing call volume to Customer Support and increasing self-service.
We’re exposing the right information at the right time to help focus on Priorities.
We’re creating segmentations for Marketing to focus on Personalization.
We’re grabbing up all the spreadsheets and creating systems to standardize processes.
We’re bridging the gap between the back-office and front-office to unlock data.
The list goes on but gaining that trust and more importantly being able to show value and results is ultimately what keeps our partnership thriving.
We can’t believe how fast time is now flying by. Our new systems and processes are in place. We’ve become advocates for change. What was once a pipe dream and seemed like too big of a mountain to climb is now reflected back on as a journey that has made our organization and our partnership stronger.
We are excited to share our journey with others and be advocates for transformation. We know that there are thousands of others that are just embarking on or considering what this looks like for their organization and are happy to be references, share lessons learned and point people in the right direction.
We are also your biggest fans and want to promote and highlight all the great things you are doing and how we helped contribute to these successes. We know that not all organizations can endure the journey, but the ones that really invest the time, money and energy to see it through have created results that in most cases far exceed the expectations of what we both thought previously possible.
For those that get up that mountain with us we’re forever grateful and appreciative and look forward to starting the next journey.
Thanks to all of our past and present customers and we look forward to our own continuous improvement and transformation as we enhance our processes to best serve you.