Be Like Yoda, Not Luke: Designing a Customer Success Program

Best Practices : Article

At Virtual, we pride ourselves on the long-term success of each of our clients. To achieve that, our individual team members have been given a voice and the agency to help clients succeed.

In May 2017, I implemented a Customer Success Program out of our Nashville office that aims to tackle questions such as “What did we promise the client we would do?”; “Are we helping our clients achieve their strategic objectives?” and “Are we making money?”

For a year and a half, we’ve helped our employees help our clients understand success – both financial and strategic. Since then, all of our clients have been integrated, allowing us to develop results that make an impact, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

While measuring the performance for the client is a great part of any success program, we must also incorporate it into our own process as well. We measure the internal financial and operational success of each program using metrics such as meeting service level agreements, labor used, quality metrics and staffing levels and training.

How does this program help our clients?

Managers using this program meet with senior management on a monthly basis to discuss and provide feedback on the performance as it relates to Virtual and the client. We know the goals that we need to accomplish for the client, and by having monthly check-ins we are able to make the necessary adjustments to meet those goals. By keeping our employees aligned with the goals of the client, we’re able to provide the strategic insight and recommendations that make success possible.

Be a Leader. Be Yoda.

Looking to incorporate a similar program for your organization? Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Success can be defined in several different ways, so it’s important to reach a mutual definition with your team before you can measure what success is for the client.
  2. Give your team and direct reports the freedom to execute and take ownership of the outcomes.
  3. Don’t be afraid to let your people fail – it’s the only way they can grow. However, if the risk of failure is high, you may need to be more intimately involved with the decision-making process.
  4. Know this: You can still let your team drive while serving as a resource.
  5. Evaluate the decisions made and determine if they succeeded or failed (See step 1).
  6. Review the decisions frequently enough to where you can give your team feedback, but infrequently enough to give them the space to grow and make their own decisions.

In Nashville, Virtual employees are very engaged in this program. Since May 2017, it has created a dynamic sense of mentorship to help fellow colleagues accomplish client and organization goals. Leaders are being created, and that cycle does not end there. Leaders are more than just heroes. They are the guides to a successful organization.

Be like Yoda, not Luke. A leader isn’t the hero ­– a leader is the guide.

Craig Paxon | Virtual, Inc.

As the Executive Vice President of Operations at Virtual, Inc., Craig Paxson is responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for the company by working with key clients and the management team to establish and execute on long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies. He is passionate about books, sharing his knowledge with others and coaching youth sports. Craig is based out of the Nashville office.

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