In a world where leaders have seen the payoffs of modernizing how they onboard customers, why does onboarding employees seem like it is still stuck in the past century? I’m not talking about the cool new ways to show appreciation — but in terms of perhaps the most important measure in a team-based environment.
When we brought together leading organizations and leaders in companies to create a modern, open, balanced measurement scorecard — the Open Customer Metrics Framework (OCMF) — there were some measures we called ’emerging measures’. These are measures we felt were important, but we didn’t really have specifics on how to capture them. I’ll walk through one of the more intriguing ones, and how we use this internally at Klever Insight.
In the US, a sophomore is someone who in their second year in college, with two more years before they (hopefully) graduate. The term ‘sophomore slump’ refers to the significant drop in morale many sophomores feel after the initial excitement of college (and the elaborate on-boarding process) is replaced by the reality of harder courses.
Given that two of the Klever Insight co-founders started our careers in higher education, it is no wonder we were reminded of the term ‘sophomore slump’ when we reviewed the results of thousands of respondents of the Klever Insight survey.
In the intense, interrupt-driven world of customer-facing operations, very few organizations can consistently deliver outstanding customer experiences and provide a truly fulfilling work environment. Those that do have one thing in common — teams that know how to approach unexpected problems even during inevitable moments of chaos.
How do we get more people to be like the few that know what to do? As leaders we end up on one end of the spectrum — creating nice-sounding but vague statements like ‘whatever it takes’ (yes, I was guilty of this) to the other — creating soul-crushing rigid rules that inevitably don’t cover all situations. To address the many gaps in between, we either send people to training (50 – 80% of which is forgotten within 24 hours) or parachute senior people in to avert disaster (the hero complex).
For a few years now, leaders at customer support organizations have talked about moving customers from a ‘transaction-based’ service and support model to a ‘relationship-based’ one. This involves changing customers’ perceptions, from contacting you only when there are break-fix or how do I questions, to one that understands their business, including the technical and business context of their queries.
With this new approach, you don’t just wait for customers to contact you and then react. Your teams embed knowledge sharing into their practices to reduce or eliminate the ‘known’ issues that customers call about, leaving time for ‘new’ issues or queries that need a personal touch to resolve. You help your customers’ business become more successful by improving the way they use your products and services. This evolution in turn is an important first step in moving from
an expert for hire to a trusted advisor.
After early successes in this journey, many organizations run into a seemingly impenetrable wall. Your senior team ‘gets it,’ but this understanding does not seem to trickle down to most mid-level managers and frontline teams. You are able to get people to share knowledge to tackle the proverbial low hanging fruit (answers to simple issues or frequently repeated questions), but you can’t seem to convince other groups to share knowledge around complex and rarely-repeated processes.
Do they just not get it? What exactly is going on?
Wow. It has been almost 30 years since I began a career dedicated to taking care of customers, and with the upcoming launch of Klever Insight Beta, I feel proud that everyone who takes care of customers can benefit from the next digital leap forward: with Klever Insight. The world’s first digital advisor for Customer Success and Support teams connects strategy to execution, so everyone always takes the smartest next step.
Strategy must be guided from the top, while the changes required are done by front-line managers. Klever Insight helps with both, plus places at your fingers the experience of an entire industry–because we’ve applied open-source principles to running operations. We’ve seeded the platform with customer success and support expertise and templates, and everyone who uses it helps to improve it–paying it forward by improving results for the next group of people that uses it.
- Recommends the smartest strategic focus for your department or group, based on the success of other organizations and your ability to execute.
- Guides managers to execute by doing just one small thing every day.
- Measures success with an open metrics standard.
Quite often people ask me why on earth I decided to move from my (allegedly) lucrative consulting practice to become a tech start-up co-founder and CEO, with all the hard work, heartache and risk that it entails. Well, because I experienced for myself and saw the pain my clients went through without the time, data and directions to actually do the right strategic work that would make a difference. Not to mention the constant struggle to properly implement it and sustain success (always a challenge), but also to prove it generated the right results.
Nowhere was this more evident than in the annual planning process, currently underway at many organizations. My last post walked through my flawed past approach to annual planning, and in this post I’ll share my learnings and abject failures, all leading to Klever Insight’s birth.