A recent LinkedIn article described “customer success” as the “the little-known job that’s booming.” While the title may be relatively new, customer success is something librarians have been all about all along, as it means helping customers do their best work using your products and/or services. Also called CX, it’s related to user experience, or UX, another “it” term that came to prominence some years back.
To learn how to explicitly look at your work from a CX point of view, try this recent webinar featuring Jeannie Walters, Chief Customer Experience Investigator and Founder, 360 Connext. 360 Connext is a consulting firm that specializes in evaluating and improving what it calls “the customer journey.” A reading of Walters’ comments with libraries and patrons in mind rather than companies and customers shows that these ideas, while corporate, can easily cross over to our field.
Engagement leads to success, says Walters, and the most effective engagement is the kind that involves the customer being proactive but that also serves the company. (Think of the kind of information literacy session in which a savvy student made you a better teacher.) To create this kind of activity, Walters recommends “stepping into your customers shoes and understand the experience they are actually having, which is not necessarily the one you envisioned or want for them.” Keep in mind their real life, she urges. “This is not their job. They don’t want pressure. They want to feel success in the beginning.” Make sure you have a plan of action for proactively checking in with customers in the first 90 days (all the First Year Experience programs out there have the right idea!). Call customers that you know had issues in first 90 days, says Walters, and find out what they would have needed to make things run better.
Walters also recommends that companies create a journey map. This is distinct from mapping your processes, she notes. A journey map shows the customer’s actual path through your offerings; a process map shows your desired path for them. The steps on such a map are named in a high-level way, with customer steps such as “satisfaction,” “loyalty,” and the ultimate, “advocacy,” the happy situation where your customer becomes a de facto part of your company or library’s marketing team.
A journey map should use “I” statements, meaning that the map describes library experiences from the customer’s perspective. Don’t just go on instincts, says Walters. Seek customer perspectives, but don’t force yourself to collect data on things you already know. When gathering data, as in other times, respect how customers want to be communicated with, urges Waters. The following are some other tips offered during the webinar:
- Don’t only engage when it’s time for renewal (in library terms, this might be the beginning of the year or semester).
- Look at opportunities that customers want, not what you want.
- Ask customers who are very engaged what is working for them.
- Think of an upgrade as a mini purchase. Still celebrate.
- Think of what’s great for the customer. Tell them about milestones they met over the course of the original subscription period and what they can hope to do going forward. (Remind sophomore and other students how far they’ve come!)
- Look at what’s in it for someone to be an advocate. Map out advocacy life cycle and look at ways to keep them engaged.
- Define what success means for them.
Please share any other ideas you have, as well as your own experiences with CX and journey mapping, in the comments. And join us next Thursday, July 26 for a special webinar, What's New in IL: Credo's Interns Discuss Current Work. You can find all the details, plus join the conversation in the Credo InfoLit Learning Community! Sign up here to get started!