Tech Workforce Recalibration for Customer Success

By: Babette Ten Haken| - Leave a comment


Tech workforce recalibration is a key factor for customer success. Customer success leverages cross functional collaboration. That scenario translates into poking holes in departmental silos, data kingdoms and all.

Customer success strategy and tactics are holistic. They involvemanaging the technical and business relationships between a vendor and its customers with the intent of: (1) maximizing the value that customers generate from the solutions they acquired from the vendor by making them as profitable and productive as possible, and (2) maximizing the value the vendor can in turn derive from the customers resulting in sustainable corporate profits and growth.”(Wikipedia)

In the IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) manufacturing ecosystem, tech workforce recalibration is critical to extracting value from data generated by the interactions between equipment, sensors and software. Otherwise the business value of these data remains underutilized.

Customer success casts your tech workforce as simultaneous translators across technical/STEM employees and non-technical/business/sales/marketing folks. Is your current tech workforce prepared to take on this role?

Tech workforce recalibration requires a workforce hiring strategy focused on developing individuals who are collaborative in cross-functional work environments. They have hard analytical skills and soft communication skills. They can distill big data into meaningful data sets. They are able to co-develop analytics, easily working alongside business folks with complementary cross-functional acumen.

Sound too good to be true?

A customer success initiative catalyzes workforce-wide recalibration.

When customer success becomes a workforce-wide initiative, the workforce becomes hybridized. Co-workers understand the interrelated roles they play in driving revenue through your own organization as well as your customers’ organizations.

You may not need to start from scratch. Your organization already has underutilized rudimentary customer success teams in place. However, your leadership may not recognize them as valuable customer success assets. Instead these teams are limited by current job descriptions and titles.

Are you hiring software engineers or are you hiring customer success engineers?

Technical support teams can serve in an internal customer success capacity when they are allowed to become more than Help Desk liaisons between technical design and business end users. Similarly, in stabilizing infrastructure architecture. IT operations teams impact overall employee productivity and internal customer success. Consider the business outcome when your organizational development strategy focuses IT teams on communicating more effectively about system capabilities which enhance value creation over the life cycle of the customer.

Is your strategy for customer success simply a matter of referring to customer service, customer support and customer training by another name?

While these teams currently are focused on customer experience, they are not chartered to create, leverage and sustain customer lifecycle value. Consider the business outcome when your organizational development strategy focuses those customer-facing teams on collaborating with IT and line of business teams and communicating business insights to your customers.

Tech workforce recalibration for customer success calls for greater HR and IT leadership collaboration.

Customer success, in its purest sense, is holistic, cross-functional and multi-disciplinary. Leadership and management are better able to create a viable workforce strategy focused on customer success when they understand not only how their own business makes money, but how their customers’ businesses also make money.

Consider the role that HR currently plays in impacting organizational development strategy. Do they serve in a strategic leadership role or is HR predominantly focused on employee onboarding and benefit administration, per the BNA 2015-2016 Human Resources Benchmark study? What are next steps to take in recalibrating your technical workforce to target customer success?

Consider the role IT leadership plays.

How effectively do they communicate the business value of their ERP and application architecture in terminology which is relevant, valuable and understood by line of business leaders? GE CIO Jim Fowler recalibrated his own concept of how he served internal and external customer success once he understood value creation from the perspective of external customer revenue models.

The relentless pace of IIOT technological innovation is drowning companies in a tsunami of data. Technology also is driving how people work. Is your company currently focused on customer success strategy for customer retention? Your first order of business is recalibrating the crucial role your tech workforce plays.

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About The Author

Babette Ten Haken

Founder & President, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC

Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.

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