Summary: Lincoln Murphy’s 5 factors for customer success, and how these factors contribute to our customers’ success with Intranet Connections’ Intranet Software.
Are you an ideal customer for Intranet Connections? I often think about whether or not our product is the right fit for our customers, but after attending Lincoln Murphy’s presentation on customer success (as part of AceTech’s speaker series), I have a new way of thinking about it.
You can learn more about how Lincoln describes Customer Success, but here’s my understanding in a nutshell:
Turnover isn’t just for employees
When a customer doesn’t reach their desired outcome of using your product or service or doesn’t have a positive experience in reaching that outcome, they are at risk to churn.
- Churn is when a customer decides to stop using your product or service
- Factors that lead to churn occur months before the churn happens
- One of the primary reasons for churn is a bad fit between customers and your organization
That makes intuitive sense to me. In the long term, neither the customer or the company, benefit from a bad fit. The yearly maintenance fees customers pay for both support and product upgrades are a key part of our business strategy, but more importantly, speaks to our core values. It’s about providing customers long-term success, not just getting the initial sale.
Any successful intranet requires an initial investment of both time and money, and we fully expect that once launched, a customer’s intranet will be on our platform for at least 5 years. On average, our current customers have been with us 10 years. This average includes both customers that have been with us 10+ years, as well as customers who joined us last month.
The question is, if you adopted Intranet Connections today, would you get the same longevity?
It’s important to find the right fit
Lincoln Murphy would say it comes down to the fit between your organization and needs, and our product and our organization. He breaks it down into 5 factors (inputs):
- Technical Fit
- Functional Fit
- Competence Fit
- Experience Fit
- Cultural Fit
We recognize that we can’t be everything to all people, so here’s a rough guide to determine if we are the right intranet partner for you:
Intranet Connections runs on top of Windows Server. This requires you to have a Windows server either at your location, or remotely hosted, but managed by you. In addition, if you want to use Windows authentication (users don’t have to log into the intranet if they have already logged into their computer), Active Directory is a requirement. This gives you the benefit of having full control over your server, and you can take advantage of the backup and network security controls already in place.
See technical requirements for more detail.
Functional fit comes down to whether or not our software has the solutions to the problems you are trying to solve. In general, our platform is the strongest in Company News, Document/Policy Management, Online Forms, People Directory, and Enterprise Search. We also have some unique features such as Help Desk Ticketing that no other intranet platforms have. You can view the full list of product features on our website. However, the best way to determine functional fit is by contacting one of our product experts.
Competence fit is the skills you need in your organization to be successful with our product. Our product is geared toward allowing non-IT staff to manage their own intranet, so we’ve lowered the IT knowledge required for day-to-day management. In addition, our customers who have been highly successful have these competencies:
- Strong Change Agent
- Creative Individuals
Every organization has a certain amount of inertia, especially those who have been doing the same things in the same ways for years. To get people to switch from paper forms and emails, you do need a change agent. A change agent is a person who is both unsatisfied with the status quo and has enough influence to get staff to adopt a new, better way. It’s especially important that the change agent is not only involved in the purchasing process but also pushes the adoption once installed.
Experience fit covers things like the expected level of support, how easy, or difficult, the intranet is to manage, who takes care of what task, etc. Here’s what I would like all potential customers to know about us:
We love our product, and it works well for hundreds of customers, but we don’t do custom coding for individual customers. Buying a product off the shelf is faster, less expensive, and easier than developing your own intranet from scratch, but it also means we can’t meet every unique pain point. Suggested improvements are always welcome, but new features are always prioritized based on the needs of our entire customer base. One of our core beliefs is that for the long-term success of the intranet, it must be self-managed. Documents go out of date, processes change and organizational structures shift. It’s best that the understanding of how to manage the intranet lives with the customer, so the intranet continues to evolve with the organization.
Customers who have an independent spirit, and want full control over their intranet, are the best fit for us.
Every organization has a different personality, and sometimes personalities clash. Here at Intranet Connections, it’s like a family. Our core values are simplicity, positivity, integrity, creativity, diversity, and empathy, and we try to live them every day. Customers who are positive, open to new ideas, and get to know us at a personable level have the most success. We value our relationships both internally and externally, and the phrase, “it’s not personal, it’s business” does not apply.
I hope I’ve provided a better understanding of what it takes to be successful if you choose us as your intranet partner. During a vendor selection process, a lot of time is spent on evaluating technical and functional fit. Hopefully, you will now also consider competence fit, the internal skills you need to be successful, as well as the experience and cultural fit.