Share with Your Network
The traditional model for security vendors’ customer experience (CX) teams is to help customers achieve a certain level of proficiency with their security platform. Once obtained they then swoop in to pitch upgrades or add-ons, or hammer customers on increasing license utilization.
It’s not that enterprises can’t benefit from new capabilities or enhanced technologies. And security software vendors wouldn’t last long if their Customer Success teams simply ensured successful implementations and then just focused on keeping that customer on life support.
Plus, let’s be real: Growth is a good thing, and it can benefit both vendor and customer. Additional capabilities aren’t just ornaments to hang on a big, profitable holiday tree. They can help the customer improve its security posture and lower risk. Meanwhile, incremental ongoing revenues make it easier for vendors to serve that customer for years to come. Everybody wins, right?
The CX team is, in many cases, the most constant and supportive presence that the provider has in the customer’s world. That puts CX in a uniquely critical position for the long-term success of any security vendor. In fact, 77% of consumers say that inefficient CX relationships detract from their quality of life. That’s staggering—and it underscores the pivotal role a CX team plays in the day-to-day lives of customers.
So when it comes to avoiding common pitfalls (and faceplants) that may plague upgrade-hungry vendors, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Know your customer. This sounds like CX 101, and in a way it is. But when it comes to delivering the best possible experience, you absolutely must know what customers are going through, and what they want. It’s essential because gaining that knowledge will prevent you from trying to offer upgrades or add-ons that just aren’t suited to their environment or goals. And few things damage a customer relationship more than trying to saddle customers with offerings that simply aren’t a fit. On the flipside, a consultative approach helps identify those add-ons and upgrades that really do make sense, which in turn ensures even further value from customer subscription investments. This is why 80% of customers are more likely to engage if offered a personalized experience.
- Be flexible. Customers value choice. And while implementation and support usually follow standard frameworks (it would be chaos without them), flexibility can help build loyalty. As you get to know a customer, you’ll understand how they prefer to work, what they expect in terms of response times, how much of a self-service experience they want, and how they prefer to communicate with your team. Empower CX team members with the leeway to work with customers the way customers want, and watch how that pays dividends in terms of satisfaction.
- Focus on improving ROI. Just like every other exec, CISOs are obliged to justify their technology investments. According to a 2019 Demand Gen Report, B2B buyers are investing more into the decision making process with 77% conducting detailed ROI analysis ahead of purchasing. It’s your job to make that easy for them. Most likely, you established milestones and KPIs in the early stages when you helped the customer define success and mapped out how to achieve it. As your relationship matures, those goals and metrics should be revisited. And while the core mission of Security (to lower risk, protect data and assets, and obtain audit compliance) remains constant, the way Security goes about that work can change—sometimes significantly. Companies grow and/or acquire other companies. Corporate strategies and priorities change. And even, as we saw in 2020, on-site employees can be transformed into remote workforces, almost overnight. Staying close to the customer, which is noted in the first point, will help your team explore ways to improve that customer’s return on what they’ve already implemented.
- Emphasize optimization over upselling. Improving ROI is so essential that it deserves to be viewed in another light: There is a strong likelihood that, whatever the security solution in question, your customer has opportunities to make better use of it. Perhaps they could benefit from broader internal adoption. Maybe they can integrate additional data sources. Or perhaps reporting to executives could be more intuitive and impactful. This is all about optimizing their existing environment, and thus getting more value from it. At Kenna Security, we like to show customers how they can move beyond the basics by standing up custom risk meters so each vulnerability remediation team or asset group knows where they stand at any given moment. Or they can give C-level execs access to custom, intuitive, interactive dashboards so they can see the progress their teams are making to reduce risk to the business. CX is the team to make that happen and deliver that value.
The truth is, customers should expect all this from CX teams. They shouldn’t have to worry about being upsold on add-ons or pushed to add licenses they don’t need or aren’t ready to leverage. With every interaction, they’re looking for value. And by delivering it, you’ll be optimizing your CX game and helping to create loyal, lasting customer relationships.