Kat Kelly – Customer Success (CS) should be the lifeblood of every functioning organization.
In a rapidly changing capitalist business world, it is; however, all too often both misunderstood and undervalued.
It seems understandable from a C-suite vantage point. If you’re not down in the trenches with customers and clients, CS seems like a costly investment. However, done well, it is one of the smartest investments that a business can make.
I’ve spent the bulk of my career in the “disposable line item” disciplines, marketing and CS.
As a marketing leader, I had to scrap for every dollar that my team was allocated. Additionally, I had to defend those dollars with a magical algorithm that showed what the bottom-line impact to the business was.
Maybe I’m a little old-school, but I appreciate the value of iconic branding. The early days of brand marketing is now seen as vintage art for some of the world’s largest, most powerful corporations – hello, Coca-Cola.
Many people have asked about my pivot from marketing to CS over the years, but I see the shift as one in the same. If you know me, you will know that one of my mantras in life and in business is, “everything is marketing;” and it’s true.
One of my self-described magical powers is the ability to read a room even from behind a computer screen. Through some engaging dialogue with team members and colleagues, I can usually garner an understanding of the overall pulse of an organization. At one point in my career, I had a boss who described that as a “soft skill.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I can crunch data with the best of them. And see my notes a few paragraphs up about having to scrap for dollars as a marketing leader. But, I would argue that sometimes those “soft skills” can be one of the most undervalued skills around.
As an empath drawn towards making the world a better place, I see every opportunity as a touchpoint to do that. I have been fortunate to work for companies where I believe in their mission and that helps me to apply my empathy skills to business in a way that works for all of the key stakeholders.
I’ve read a number of books and articles about why people buy. And I take it to heart. When I meet with clients and customers I see myself as an extension of their team within my organization. And I want to be their best partner possible.
So, while we ride the waves and shifts of technology trends and what’s hot, new, and next, it’s important that we never lose sight of the fact that true, authentic, one-to-one and one-to-many communication matters. People matter. And you cannot replace the value of your businesses’ bedside manner with your customers.
The investment that you make in your company’s customer touchpoints, will come back to you.
And CS pros, don’t lose heart. If you feel the passion to truly ensure you are doing the right thing for your customers and your company, you are striking the balance perfectly.
Kat Kelly is the founder of Vexteo Media Group and she runs it as a labor of love while wrangling a houseful of children, dogs, and cats while simultaneously trying to keep her head above water. She cannot actually juggle in real life.
Photo Source: Amy Hirshi, @amyhirshi, via Unsplash.