I’m trying to distil the essence in this doodle, often for my own sanity, to help me focus on the right activities in the work I do with customers.Continue reading “Customer Success outcomes and their causes”
The latest and greatest posts and research on the subject and these are all being tracked with a tag here. I include Customer Success in this being a subset of the As a Service trend but I’ve added it under a separate section.
- The future of car ownership: Cars-as-a-service
- Automated Vehicles Will Unlock Countless as a Service Business Models
- Everything You Need To Know About Mobility as a Service
- Miles Driven, Not Cars Sold: 5 Takeaways on Subscription Programs. Rounding off a collection of posts about the automotive industry, this one does a great job of explaining how thinking around value propositions needs to and can change.
- What do subscription services and streaming mean for the future of gaming?
- The end of ownership and the rise of usership (my own post :)
- Delivering on subscription services (includes results from a survey of over 1,000 consumers conducted by Vantiv and Socratic Technologies as well as an infographic)
- HPE boldly commits to everything-as-a-service, but is it a smart bet?
- A rare glimpse into the sweeping — and potentially troubling — cloud kitchens trend. This really is a great view into how the As a Service trend is permeating industries and sometimes not without troubling consequences.
- 11 Interesting Recent Statistics on the Subscription Business Model. More evidence if it was needed at all.
Are you a Customer Success leader? Do everything you can to remove barriers in the way of your CSM’s so they have only one thing to focus on: Customer Success
Microsoft Teams is such an incredible work productivity tool. It doesn’t just bring work from other applications into the conversation but the whole tool itself. That plus the ability it offers to structure activities into logical workflows provides perfect context for bringing business scenarios to life.
Business scenarios are an important mechanism in beyond adoption to drive business value.
Check out a brief intro and demo I’m using with customers into the use of Teams in the context of an example business scenario (marketing), focusing on getting things done and driving value.
I’ve not had a chance to post for a while and there has been a fair bit of activity in the space so I have quite a bit to share.
I have also run a few numbers through the data visualisation machine and come up with the infographic at left – feel free to use and share.
So herewith some of the best posts from recent weeks.
New SaaS Delivery Models Require New Customer Success Delivery Models. A solid piece on how Customer Success roles need to change in the maturing SaaS space. Sticking with the SaaS space, this article does a really good job of explaining how to manage your vendor if you use a SaaS product: How to manage SaaS Vendors in the Subscription Economy. And for some other really good posts on these themes:
- 5 Blisteringly Successful Customer Success Strategies
- New research report by Gainsight: The State of the Customer Success Profession 2019 (sign up required)
- A practical guide to understanding and reducing SaaS churn – an investors perspective
New entrants to the space
- Hertz who launches a monthly car rental subscription.
- Then there is Sanofi who turns to subscriptions to offer patients insulin at $99 per month.
- And Volkswagen rolls out subscription model in the UK.
- Last but not least, Urban Outfitters Inc are to start renting out clothing.
This collection of announcements above 👆 shows the sheer breadth of industries effected by the As a Service trend – nothing is off limits.
Industry specific news
There were a batch of articles and new research:
- New research highlights how increasing interest in the subscription economy will revolutionise the automotive dealer service experience.
- From McKinsey: How sharing the road is likely to transform American mobility.
- Great opinion piece by Kara Swisher in the New York Times: Owning a Car Will Soon Be as Quaint as Owning a Horse.
- The Rise Of The Industrial Subscription Economy
- Forget Games as a Service, We’re Headed Towards Consoles as a Service
- Apple is now the privacy-as-a-service company
- Fashion as a Service
Here is a good summary of the trend which includes commentary on all the different industries being effected by the subscription economy: Subscription Services Draw Companies Closer To Customers. As with so many of the posts that I reference to the subscription economy, this one points to its darling Zuora, as you can see from the source of the chart. But their standing at the top of the subscription economy heap (as a company that powers the economy) may be under threat as new entrants join the fray: Stripe billing launches in Europe to power subscription companies across the continent.
There are other signs of a growing consolidation and integration in the Subscription Economy and Customer Success industries with the announcement by Medallia of their Strikedeck acquisition. Also Customer Success leader Gainsight’s announcement of the broadening of their portfolio into a “Customer Cloud”.
Nuggets from the last few weeks. If you have any similar announcements, reports or good articles, please share in a comment as I’m collecting them for a new eBook / trend report 😁
- New EV startup Canoo will only sell cars on a subscription basis. The interesting thing here is not so much about a new entrant in the electronic vehicle space but that it chooses a subscription only model.
- The Subscription Economy: Powering the Next Era of Gaming. The big news a few weeks back that is behind this post was about Google’s new gaming service they announced the launch of (Stadia). A cornerstone of their new service was of course subscriptions and they are not alone in their strategic thinking.
- Apple was another company with big subscription related announcements. This article does a superb job dissecting the announcements and showing how they need to look to services for growth (since their products have hit a wall): Apple’s Services Event. This article title pretty much nails it: Apple’s Two-Word Plan for the Future of the Internet: Subscribe Now
- Industry specific
- Auto: Car Companies Face ‘End of Ownership’ Crisis
- Retail: The Netflix model – How Philips and Husqvarna are embracing the subscription economy. Another one was an announcement from Burker King – Burger King Offers $5-a-Month Coffee to Woo Breakfast Crowd
- Some really good general analysis here on the trend: The subscription economy is changing the mindset of a generation
I captured a few simple points in a video a few weeks back in a flash of contemplation (hence thought rocket). Other than capture and share it here I wanted to elaborate a little. First the video:
The first thing to say is that customer success is not an isolated event or activity and this video and its content should not be taken to mean that.
Customer success is a series of purposeful activities or events which over time lead to the customer achieving their intended outcomes.
That is my super simple definition specifically as context for this post.
The 5 points captured in the video are merely outcomes that can be captured at any given time and may characterise a single moment of success. There could be many others. These are my top five. These and the others happening repeatedly over time would constitute long term customer success. This would be the true customer success.
So now onto a wee bit of elaboration on each of the 5 points because this is a thought rocket after all and I don’t want to over think it.
Probably the most important thing about any short or long term success is that a business outcome is achieved. Of course the ideal is that it is positive and satisfies the customer but I would also say that it should be the result of purposeful intent. That means you achieved what you set out to achieve. Unintended outcomes can happen and you can even allow for those and they can be of greater consequence. But better would be those that were achieved as a result of purposeful cause and effect planning because this can lead to repeat-ability.
Being able to capture a success in a way that it inspires greater use, adoption, success and value creation is best. Not all successes can be made into a great story. Stories are what capture the imagination and drive greater momentum but the detail of that is for another post.
If the success can be reapplied in the same area (team or department say) or ideally even more broadly (another team or even department or company) then so much the better. This again drives further use, adoption and success and is fundamentally a scale lever.
The ability to quantify or qualify the success in some way greatly increases the value of the success. Nothing succeeds like tangible, measurable success. Especially if it fits in with predefined targets you intended to achieve and then you blow them out the water. I’m talking KPI’s baby 🎯 😁
5. Permanence and impact
If it succeeds in changing behaviour and sticks then so much the better. Most customer success efforts are oriented around driving a change in behaviour so that different outcomes are achieved. This is most often the promise of the new technology being sold, implemented and adopted. So this becomes “très importante”.
What else, what have I missed, what would be your top 5 – let me know in a comment if you dare 😜
Adoption hacks are little tips and tricks you can use to stimulate adoption of technology. Actions that can include any number of activities, all designed to get users learning about, understanding and using features of a technology to get new value from it.
Activities can be anything from communication, learning components, social proof (showing how others are getting value) all the way to mandating something. All is fair when it comes to adoption hacks :)
I’ll start documenting what I am doing and what I learn about from others in the way of adoption hacks in posts like these.
At the moment, at Microsoft, I am focusing heavily on Microsoft Teams adoption. Teams is is seen as a platform play because it is the front end to a lot of other tools in the Office 365 technology stack as well as those outside through various integrations.
Teams is extensible and customisable so that you can reach users in their chats, channels, notifications and personal workspaces. A single app can provide one or more capabilities.
They enable users to make decisions and take action faster. They reduce context switching on important tasks. They create opportunities for collaboration around external content. They make for the perfect adoption hacking tools in other words 😁
Teams apps come from different publishers. 1st party apps are developed by Microsoft for Office 365 or Office workloads as mentioned and enable better together scenarios. 2nd party apps are those not built by Microsoft and are popular work applications enabled in a central location (the store you can access in Teams). Custom apps are built by your organisation to meet specif business needs. Just some examples below:
- Bots help users get tasks done in conversations. I’m using https://zoom.ai/ a lot at the moment in Team channels and in direct conversation with the Bot and its great for things like setting reminders to follow up on actions that stem from conversations.
- Tabs surface rich content within Teams. For example, O365 activity usage reports from PowerBI that can be discussed and actioned right from within Teams
- Connectors allow you to post rich updates from activity in other applications into your Team feeds.
- Actionable messaging adds rich interaction to your connector cards so you can act on new information you receive from ☝
- Compose extensions allow you to query and share rich cards in conversations.
Conversational AI and the new dynamics of computer assisted collaboration and automation to aid adoption
One key learning we’ve had at Microsoft is that Bots, custom line of business applications that integrate business processes, and ‘ready to use’ applications integrated into Teams = stickiness and relevance that keeps users coming back every day and drive company-wide adoption.
One very specific example of this I am making use of with my customers to support end users is combining Teams and the Microsoft Bot framework to create Q&A Bots. Users can query the Bot and get answers to questions on Teams as well as other applications. In my case I am focusing on other O365 related applications but it could be used for any.
Here is documentation on some Bot service templates which can be used to get started building Bots and includes one on to build a Q&A Bot.
Dentsu Aegis Network have done a great job with this and you can read this article to find out more: Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) builds Teams chatbot to drive internal adoption of new technologies.
This is such a great example of using new technology to support adoption of technology which I am hugely motivated by. I’ll be sharing more as I learn in this super interesting space.
As I think more about this whole space and track the developments in it with posts like this, I’m trying to envisage dynamics of the perfect business in it.
That gave rise to the DanelDoodle at left. Just some fun and very quick so not sure they are absolutely right. I’ll get a better feel for this as I complete my new trend report / eBook on the subject and it may become clearer and a little more scientific.
Anyway onto latest developments which is always the purpose of these posts in the form of announcements, articles, etc.
- Interbrand and Zuora Join Forces to Help Global Brands Succeed in the Subscription Economy. With Zuora a leading proponent and supplier of solutions for the Subscription Economy and Interbrand a global brand consultancy, this is a significant partnership that will help new players in the As a Service world. They’ll get the technical infrastructure needed to change their business models plus the help to shift their strategy, experiences and messages to customers.
- ‘It’s a battleground’: Why retailers are turning to subscription programs to build loyalty. Focus is on Canada but good McKinsey stats from global activity that supports the growing strength of the play for retailers, on the back of Amazon Prime and others’ success.
- How Apple and app developers will try to entice you to subscribe, not just pay once. I’ve captured in other posts in this series how Apple seem to be transitioning to subscriptions. This proves it. I already have one subscription to an App myself and have had for more than a year now. This is different to Spotify for example and here is how you manage your subscriptions from your iPhone.
- Hate Doing Laundry? No Sweat. Tide Just Announced It’ll Do It for You. P&G brand Tide being extended into this new category is a pretty logical and sensible strategy. I’m sure we are going to see more like this where its not just a subscription play for the sake of it.
- Grover launches e-scooter subscription service. Love that this is coming from Europe.
- The auto industry (and manufacturing more broadly) continues to be the subject of suggestions that they shift their strategy to an As a Service model.
- From McKinsey in this article, the observation (mentioned in the video in the article) that: “The biggest change we foresee is moving from a predominantly product-faced automotive industry to a services and solutions based industry.” That from the same McKinsey that suggested Customer Success 2.0 was the new growth engine.
- And its also affiliated services that should be subject to the shift – some excellent research quoted here: Reinventing After-Sales Service In A Subscription Economy World.
- All is not well though in the auto subscription world as I discovered with GM shuttering its ‘Book by Cadillac’ Car-Swap Subscription Plan. Teething problems like this will abound.
If you have any As a Service examples please share in a comment as I’m collecting them :)