March 16, 2009

Measuring the results achieved by your customers

The order has been won. The selling is over, right? Wrong, it is just the end of round one. Well, that is unless getting the initial order is your only goal. If like most organisations you need to win the customer, not just the order, then there is lots more work to do. You need to win his/her future business and recommendation.
Of course, there is the delivery of eveything you promised and more beside. That goes without saying. But there is also the measurement and reinforcement of the value that is being delivered, the results that are being achieved, and so on.

Too many suppliers install their solutions and then collect the annual maintenance and support, but forget to measure the impact that their solutions are having on their customers. For some there is a fear that the results shown will disappoint. For others, there is the lack of a methodogy, model or formula for calculating the results.
Bottom line, they lack the ability to guide their customers through a before and after analysis of the success of their solution. They are less well able to manage expectations, where results are slow to materialise, or to pin-point areas in which client side adoption, or implementation of the solution could be improved.

Perhaps there is a requirement for; more user training, more help desk support, updated user manuals/help files, product add-ons, or maybe bug-fixes, or product enhancments. These are opportunities, many of which have revenue implications, that suppliers should not be blind to.

Quantifiable information about the impact of your solution is not just nice to have it is essential. It not only enables you to demonstrate the impact on your solution on your customer's business, but provides you with the confidence to build a compelling business case for your prospects.

So, here is a checklist:
- Do you have a model to calculate the impact of your solution and demonstrate the business case?
- So, what are the top metrics used by customers to assess the impact of your solution?
- Do you have the before and after information for your customer?
- Does the customer believe the peformance and impact metrics you produce? Is he/she involved in the process of their preparation?
- Are key business impact and solution performance metrics discussed at client side meetings/reviews?
- Are senior mangement in the client company aware of the impact of your solution?
- Is first-hand user feedback incorporated into product and innovation management processes in your company?

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