Vudoo is setting out to build a world-class customer success program.

Our product lives or dies based on how easily our customers achieve what they set out to do.  Vudoo places great importance on customer success, so we’re investing in a world-class program. Admittedly, “world class” is a big statement, but we’re backing it up by consulting with people like Clayton Moulynox, a customer success expert who has developed such programs on a global scale.

“The path to achieving customer success isn’t to build what WE think is an awesome tool. It’s to build what our customers think is an awesome tool,” says Clayton, who has worked with Microsoft and Auth0, a US$1B Seattle-based startup. Drawing on outside influences keeps us from being insular, challenges our assumptions and confirms our thought-leadership. And that, ultimately, pushes us to be our very best… and to get the best for our customers.

As a relatively new discipline, customer success is often confused with its cousin, customer service. Where customer service is reactive (responding to the queries, complaints and feedback of customers), customer success is proactive, hinging on understanding what customers need and providing them with the tools and support they need. Customer service is largely short-term and transactional—the customer asks and the business provides. But customer success is a longer-term prospect, focused on delivering value to the customer and building relationships that benefit both parties.

To break it down simplistically, a restaurant performs a customer service by taking an order, preparing it and serving it. Customer success could be seen as accommodating dietary requirements, providing complimentary sparkling water or popping a candle in a dessert and having the waiter sing ‘Happy Birthday’. I say those things could be seen as customer success because, in reality, customers define what success means. Someone who dreads being the centre of attention may see being serenaded by their server as a serious negative.

That’s why our program starts by understanding success from the customer’s point of view. Listening and working closely with the customer is our number one priority because only then can we help them get the ease of experience they want.

The benefit to the customer is pretty clear, but you may be wondering what’s in it for us? Customer success ties into our commitment to continual improvement. By knowing our customer intimately, we can be responsive and evolve our platform to better service the people who use it. The more they like what we do, the deeper the loyalty.

In short, our success depends on that of our customers.