Building your customer capabilities to unlock value in your business - Hg

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Joachim Kiefer of Hg’s Operations Innovation team

The idea is simple: successful customers are your best customers. They adopt and use your product as it was intended when you developed it to solve one of their key business issues.

This, in turn, makes them more successful as a business – and they value this. They renew their subscriptions and buy more from you when you release additional products and services. They accept price changes as a product develops and recognise fair exchange of value. They advocate you amongst their peers and positively endorse your product and services – helping you win new business.

As a result, your revenue grows – not just when you add new customers – but because you lose less revenue from customers who would otherwise leave you or downgrade.
You also generate more expansion revenue, e.g. from upsell and cross-sell.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. Products aren’t always built with the user in mind. Expectations about what your product or service will do aren’t always set clearly in the initial marketing and sales process. Onboarding and professional services don’t always lead to good adoption. Customers don’t always get the support they need along the way.

This means both their business outcomes
and their experience is lacking.

Addressing these issues successfully requires building and strengthening a number of capabilities across a company.

This is one area that Hg can help with and many of our companies are now well underway on this journey. It’s a complex and cross-functional problem – but getting it right can unlock meaningful business value.

One of the underlying problems that we’ve identified is the lack of alignment across an organisation. Functions operate in siloes, because that’s a good way of organising individuals with different skill-sets. But customer outcomes and customer experiences are created through many touch-points and over a period of time. Product technology isn’t geared up to deliver insights on whether customers use it as intended. Business IT systems (and the data within them) are created and maintained with individual, functional users in mind. Traditional management information does not tell you much about the quality of the end-to-end experience your customers are receiving, or whether they are achieving their business outcomes. Which makes it hard for you to manage as well.

Together. Better

At this year’s Hg Customer Success Forum, 38 executives from across Hg’s portfolio, as well as a number of external experts and practitioners, came together to share tangible knowledge and experience – and to commit to specific actions to build their customer-focused business capabilities and realise results. Speakers from Allocate Software and Access Group shared perspectives on their customer success journey to date. We also heard from independent advisers David Jackson, Jason Noble, and the CS leader at ATRAQT software, Jonathan Schradi.

At this year’s Hg Customer Success Forum, 38 executives from across Hg’s portfolio, as well as a number of external experts and practitioners, came together to share tangible knowledge and experience – and to commit to specific actions to build their customer-focused business capabilities and realise results. Speakers from Allocate Software and Access Group shared perspectives on their customer success journey to date. We also heard from independent advisers David Jackson, Jason Noble, and the CS leader at ATRAQT software, Jonathan Schradi.

The group helped to define some key areas to consider when looking at this business function:

It’s all about value.

Making sure your customers realise value from your product or service, and in turn, creating business value through growing customer revenue. Key metric for the latter is net revenue retention (NRR) – and the goal is to drive this above the inflection point of 100%, which will meaningfully change the value of your customer base – and your business.

It’s a team sport.

Everyone in the company has a role to play in – and a responsibility for – customer success. If you have a customer success function, they can help break down siloes and make connections – but you will fail if they are the only ones thinking about the customer.

It’s a journey.

– get started somewhere. Best to prioritise. For example, start first with NPS, then customer health scoring for churn prediction, then up/cross-sell propensity etc. Chop off the tip of the iceberg, then deal with the next section that subsequently emerges.

Be ready for the worms once you open the can.

Once you start listening to your customer, be prepared to get some uncomfortable news, but remember, critics make you stronger!

Customer data is an important asset.

It is worth investing in and safeguarding. Creating a single view of the customer and starting to generate insight might seem complex, but it’s a challenge you can overcome! Whether it’s using Excel, embarking on a data engineering project, or on IT systems changes – there is something you can start today.

Ultimately, it’s all about your product or service.

That’s what your customers are buying in the first place. Make sure you continuously leverage insights from increased customer intimacy to improve your product or service – making it easier for customers to adopt, use and obtain value. Can you create a ‘driverless’ experience to obtain value for your customers?

Hg portfolio executives will continue their discussions on Hg’s Hive platform – our newly launched, trusted, online environment for portfolio collaboration.

We work with executive and sales teams across our portfolio to encourage ‘Customer Success’ as a strategy and a business practice. From using detailed analytics to understand the causes of customer loss, through to creating processes to monitor customer health, taking proactive action to manage both high-risk and healthy customers, as well as addressing the root causes of existing customer issues, we provide hands-on support and genuine expertise, bringing the value of Customer Success to the businesses we partner with.

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