Organizations invest in analytic capabilities – or any software, for that matter – in order to be more successful at what they do. Whether that be a sales organization looking to sell more effectively, a manufacturing organization wanting to better manage its supply chain, a software provider trying to improve its customers’ experience by providing rich analytics – all of these organizations are investing time, resources and money in order to drive results for themselves or their customers.
At Birst, we get that – it’s ingrained in our DNA. It’s also ingrained in our subscription revenue model – if our customers aren’t successful, they leave. We put our money where our mouth is in each and every relationship – we won’t succeed unless our customers do. That’s why, as part of our Customers for Life program, each of our customers has a Customer Success Manager whose job it is to ensure that every customer’s investment is delivering results back to their organization. We partner with every customer for their success – helping them define and pursue success over time.
While our Customers for Life program is unique in the analytics space, it is not uncommon in the Software-as-a-Service space. Other SaaS and Cloud software providers are lining up behind their customers’ success and betting on their ability to deliver success by selling their offerings as a subscription – and investing in a Customer Success team to help ensure that success. I believe that it is the customer-centric nature of the relationship that is powering the software industry’s move to SaaS, much more than the financial appeal of a pay-as-you-go model.
Living in this customer-success-driven culture day in and day out, I often forget that, for most software providers, the customer is wholly responsible for their own success and the software provider feels little obligation to help make that investment successful beyond answering the occasional question as it arises. The stark difference between our mindset and those of the legacy software providers was brought home in QlikTech’s recent announcement of its Qoncierge service, which was touted to be a “free, global offering …that acts as a single point of contact for solving non-technical, business-related issues”. Wow, I thought, the old dogs ARE trying to learn new tricks – and are finally focusing on driving business success for their customers. Sadly, my hopes were dashed by the subsequent statement that Qoncierge provides “answers to non-technical, post-sales questions. From product licensing and downloads to portal and access issues, and profile updating and training.” What a disappointment. They are still focusing on answering tactical questions about training, licensing, etc. and NOT elevating the business discussion with their customers about how they can / should work together to drive organizational success. They are certainly NOT taking any ownership of the customer’s long-term success. At least, unlike SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, MicroStrategy and IBM, QlikTech is focusing on delivering superior Customer Service. For now, however, it seems we are among the only analytics providers that understand the true differences between delivering Customer Success and Customer Service.