(Guest post written by Carolyn Jenkins, the CEO of Khorus a SaaS solution which provides a proven system for building predictable company performance. Carolyn is a recognized technology leader with award-winning experience leading companies in customer success, support, training, delivery, account management, human resources, and corporate operations.)

Recently, I spoke with a software company that is enhancing its customer success (CS) department.  They shared that they want to be the Starbucks or Southwest Airlines of the software industry. I began my executive career in human resources (not customer success) so I was struck that the companies they want to emulate have some of the world’s best company cultures.

Customer success leaders often work cross-functionally with product, marketing, and sales.  But how many customer success leaders work closely with human resources?   We focus on KPIs like time-to-value, NPS, churn, and net revenue retention.  CS leaders must also concern themselves with employee engagement, team turnover, and promotions from within the organization.

A quick internet search reveals article after article about the importance of instilling a customer success culture throughout the organization beginning with the board room. There are endless examples of mission and value statements that strive to foster a customer-focused philosophy throughout the entire company. Most fail to mention the commitment to employees themselves.

Yet, a quick look at Southwest’s website reveals that their mission statement includes a focus on their employees, not just the customers.

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth…. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.

Starbucks’ mission statement does not specifically call out employees or customers.   Tellingly, Starbucks’ statement “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” is all inclusive – just like their culture.

No doubt, good processes help lead to good customer service.  However, for employees to deliver an outstanding customer experience, they need to understand the company mission, picture themselves as an important part of the mission, and be empowered to execute the mission. 

The best processes in the world cannot make up for disenchanted workers. Focusing on your own employees can be the pivot point to enhancing your customers’ satisfaction.

About the Author – Carolyn combines the passion for developing people with a focus on bottom line corporate results through improved customer experiences. Should you wish to get in touch with Carolyn, you can contact her here.


To Improve Customer Success, Improve Employee Experience
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2 thoughts on “To Improve Customer Success, Improve Employee Experience

  • 18 January 2018 at 16:30

    Great article Carolyn. Well said!

    For the employees to deliver an outstanding customer experience, they need to truly understand what “outstanding client experience” means. They need to understand how to balance it with their value to their company and the value of their company “collective” to the client. Each individual interaction counts but the whole “collective” experience is the full final value.

    For the company to empower the employees and set them up for success, they need to be provided clarity, tools and processes. Clarity on scope, messaging and success factors. Tools that enable efficient delivery. Processes that are clearly established, communicated and understood.

    Parameters of success are often assumed but not shared with all levels within
    the company.
    My other pet peeve is a culture that promotes meetings for the sake of meetings
    but with no outcome or progress. To me a meeting does not constitute progress
    by default.

    Last but definitely not the least, the employees need to own the customer experience. Their ownership will come if they have a voice in the company and feel like they belong! Being on the ground, they are most privy to what is being done well or can be done better. They need to be heard, their input accepted or discussed for impact.

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