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4 August 2022

5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make When Operationalizing Customer Success Technology

by Emily Ryan Reading time: 7 mins
cs tech

Are You Making The Most Of Your Automation Efforts?

A recent Gartner survey shows that nearly 60% of organizations are pursuing, on average, 4 or more hyper-automation initiatives at the same time (2022). While automation offers significant cost improvements and efficiencies, the projects that fail typically make two types of mistakes — in approach and/or the implementation of their chosen technology platform. Reaping the full benefits of your selected Customer Success (CS) technology platform and ensuring its adoption across your organization requires a thorough action plan that accounts for common mistakes.

In this article, we share 5 of the most costly mistakes that organizations make when operationalizing their CS tech solution and offer tactical advice on how you can overcome them to achieve organization-wide adoption and maximize ROI from your technology investment.

Mistake #1: Not Tying Your Technology Implementation To Your CS Strategy

The biggest mistake companies make when operationalizing a Customer Success technology investment is not recognizing the interdepencies between the strategy and the systems of CS. Many leaders assume that by implementing CS tech, a cutting-edge customer lifecycle strategy will magically appear, or that their chosen system will instantly enable any and all strategy designs. 

In reality, it will be difficult to effectively operationalize your chosen platform and its implementation may fail entirely without a robust strategy in place. An essential part of your strategy should include a comprehensive plan for the rollout of your CS technology. It’s important to recognize that there will always be fires to put out and a myriad of tasks that your team will be working on, but you can’t boil the ocean and neither can your CS technology. Without an iterative plan to implement your CS tech, you can easily get distracted from the overall goal of your CS technology and overwhelm your team with confusing and conflicting directions.

Solution: Create a comprehensive plan for the launch, implementation and iteration of your CS tech. It’s vital that your launch plan is streamlined and simple – focus on 2-4 initiatives that you’re going to roll out initially, factoring in the time for iteration. Launch your plan in bite-sized pieces as you’re going to be working with many team members to ensure they are able to successfully adopt the software. Once you have a solid foundation in place, you will be better equipped to solve bigger challenges in a more efficient and structured way.

Mistake #2: Using Bad Data

For many enterprises, CS technology also serves as a data solution – a unified place where cross-functional teams can evaluate customer health and make informed decisions based on these insights. None of this is possible if you are working with bad data, which can occur for a number of reasons, including the inability to access customer data that’s fragmented across siloed systems, having inaccurate or outdated data, or including any and every available data point.

Solution: To ensure that your CS tech is implemented effectively, make sure you gather all relevant data from across your business, ensure its accuracy by routinely cleaning your data and focusing on data points that ladder up to your goals. Before you bring in a data point into your technology, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does this data point tell me about my customers?
  • Is it actionable? Can my team impact this metric?
  • Do we need more than one data point working in concert to drive an actionable insight?

Mistake #3: Automating Everything All At Once

While automating certain CS tasks, such as customer health scoring and playbooks, can drive efficiencies and reduce errors, automation can cause more harm than good when implemented incorrectly or hastily. Often, organizations automate processes too early, without a clear understanding of the requirements and complexities of certain tasks; oftentimes, this results in  cumbersome systems that don’t serve you or your customers well. In addition, automating too much actually causes your team to become disengaged from the system they are supposed to be working in. Too much automation can create bad habits, create overwhelm and fatigue, and generate unhelpful noise rather than signal for actionable insights.

Solution: Be thoughtful about what processes you’re automating and when. Start simply by excluding intricate and complex steps from automation. By incorporating manual tasks, such as creating qualitative customer health scores that need to be collected manually, you can drive the desired behaviors from your team and foster their adoption of the CS tech. Throughout this process, check in with your team and gather their feedback about what’s working well in the system, what they don’t understand and what feels too difficult or time-consuming. Use these insights to identify which tasks, when automated, actually make your team members’ lives easier and which end up causing unnecessary burden.

Mistake #4: Underestimating Change Management

Creating effective and lasting change takes time. Even if the new tool is better than the old one, people hate change and the way things are in that order, which makes changing behavior much more difficult. A top-down, “do as I say” approach doesn’t tend to work when introducing a new technology, nor does treating organizational change as an overnight exercise. 

Solution: To ensure the sustainable adoption of your CS tech, you need to offer empathetic and effective change management processes over a period of time and continuously source feedback across your organization. Change management isn’t a one-and-done activity – you need to give your team the time, resources, support and enablement (such as data integrity projects and gamification) they need to successfully adopt your new technology. Change management should also serve as an important component of your launch plan.

Mistake #5: Operationalizing Your CS Tech Using A Set-It-And-Forget-It Motion

A Customer Success technology platform is a living, breathing member of your team, similar to adding a new employee to your organization – it requires ongoing support, maintenance and enablement. This is a pivotal tool for your team that should be collecting a wealth of information about your customers and consolidating these insights into one place so that you can enable easier, more efficient customer engagements. If your CS tech implementation is delayed, your data is not up-to-date, or your playbooks are ineffective, you’re not using this tool to its fullest potential and are thereby failing to maximize ROI. 

Solution: Hire an experienced systems admin. Although automation may seem like a set-it-and-forget motion, the reality is it’s very hands-on behind the scenes. Therefore, it’s important to hire an expert who has the right technical skills to operate the backend of your platform and optimize your engine to ensure your organization is achieving ongoing values. It’s also critical to ensure that this technical admin is partnered with a strategic counterpart who can help them understand your CS organization, manage process development and identify when the system and data needs to be updated.

Leverage Your CS Technology To Its Fullest Potential

With the right mindset and approach, you can ensure the successful adoption of your CS tech solution and make the most of your investment. If your technology implementation is poorly executed, the system can negatively impact your customer data, processes, employee morale and customer satisfaction. To overcome this challenge, you need to create a robust launch plan that accounts for change management, required resource allocation, and thoughtful processes. With a comprehensive plan h, you can ensure the successful adoption of your CS tech investment, streamline your processes and maximize efficiency for both your team and customers.

Emily Ryan

Emily has nearly 15 years’ experience coordinating teams across Sales, Post-Sales and Product/Delivery to ensure successful customer interactions. Her unique expertise applying Customer Success Strategy to effectively establish, analyze and scale great customer-centric teams means her impact is not only to corporate revenue and retention, but to the health and productivity of the teams she empowers.