If you’re in the process of vetting enterprise software solutions for your property tax team, it's important to have comprehensive data on the tool you’re investing in. Enterprise software solutions typically take longer to implement and require longer-term commitments, and customer experience is an integral part of the purchase. Therefore, it’s important to understanding the type and level of early and ongoing support you'll receive.
It’s true that software can streamline property tax workflows and reduce pain points. However, without customized implementation plans and ongoing support, any software questions or challenges you experience can create significant bottlenecks. Having a clear understanding of your needs and expectations around the vendor support your company requires will help you maximize your software investment.
Keep reading to find out how customer success can help your team.
Before diving in, we need to first define what customer success is.
Customer success is essentially an agreement for long-term collaboration between the enterprise software vendor and the customer. Through this collaboration, the vendor aims to efficiently and effectively help the customer accomplish their objectives.
Importantly, customer success is proactive and based on the customer’s broader business strategy. Customer success will work closely with representatives of your team, providing guidance around goals, often during regular meetings or updates. Conversely, customer support is a component of customer success that reactively addresses needs as they come up. Customer support deals with in-the-moment questions or problems.
It’s important to note that, when it comes to customer success vs customer support, one is not necessarily better than the other. Rather, it’s important you have access to both types of support from your enterprise software vendor to ensure your team has what it needs.
Now that we’ve defined customer success, how do you determine what your team needs? And how do you find an enterprise software vendor that provides the right service for you? We’ve broken down effective customer success into 5 components.
Customer success teams tend to form strong relationships with their clients. By working together with clients for a long period of time, customer success specialists develop a greater understanding of the client’s needs, pain points, and goals. This helps customers maximize their success with the software.
Enterprise software vendors with a strong customer success component are driven to guarantee that teams using the software can accomplish their objectives. This can be through customized implementation plans, domain-specific advice, ongoing training, and easily accessible technical support.
Customer success looks beyond how a customer uses their software. They examine how the software can accomplish a client’s long-term goals efficiently and directly. When implementing software, customer success will work with clients to determine their desired outcomes, such as ensuring data accuracy across their portfolio, surfacing relevant data to simplify research and decision making, or centralizing data to provide a single source of truth.
By strategizing together, customer success teams help ensure customers realize the benefits of the software and achieve their desired outcomes. As well, customers develop in-depth knowledge of the software’s key features, ensuring they make use of all it has to offer.
Training is essential for the effective use of an enterprise software solution. Particularly for property tax tools that help teams work with large, complex data sets, training is necessary for users to feel comfortable using software to complete both basic and advanced tasks.
According to Harvard Business Review, 81% of customers will attempt to solve problems themselves before reaching out for help. Proactive training can help teams avoid situations where customers are forced to try to solve problems on their own. Effective customer success helps ensure that teams are educated on the software and won’t waste time making mistakes before reaching out for guidance.
Live training – either in person or through video calls -- allows customers to ask questions directly and work through the learning curve quickly and seamlessly. Vendors that offer initial live training as well as ongoing webinars, live support, conferences, and summits give customers the ability to regularly ask questions and learn the software at a faster pace.
Along with the type of initial and ongoing training, it’s also important to get a sense of how long the implementation process will take. Some enterprise software solutions can take up to a year to implement within an organization. Comparatively, our itamlink software can be implemented in just 6-8 weeks.
An effective customer success team will listen to clients to get a better understanding of how their product can be improved and relay the information back to their development team. This gives the vendor the opportunity to review feedback and, if it makes sense, implement it directly into the product.
Depending on the vendor, the integration of feedback can be done for all customers or on a client-by-client basis. Having a dedicated Customer Success Specialist can help guarantee that specific customer feedback is relayed.
As we mentioned above, customer support is a component of customer success. Available, accessible customer support is crucial for team members facing challenges once training is complete. Being able to reach out and ask the software vendor questions directly reduces frustration. As such, you should have a sense of when you can reach your support team, by what means (live chat, phone, email), and the expected response time.
So, when can you expect support from your customer success team, and when should you look to support?
A customer success team can help during implementation to create a seamless transition to the new technology. They can help with initial training, answer any follow-up questions, and ensure you’re leveraging the software to work effectively towards your goals. They can also offer ongoing support during business expansions or other internal changes.
Conversely, customer support is useful for answering in-the-moment questions that can be solved quickly. This includes such items as password resets, account and billing information, or technical support.
When an enterprise software solution is helping you make strategic business decisions, it’s necessary to fully understand the technology and what you’re hoping to achieve with it. It’s essential to work with a vendor that can offer the kind of support your organization needs. Customer success ensures you’re working towards your business goals and can help your team maximize your enterprise software investment.
This article was originally published in August 2020.
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