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Grant Johnson

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Customer Success is Contagious

You know you’re destined to fail if the words “customer success” appear only on dusty, off-centered posters adorning break rooms and hallways at your company offices. Or maybe that organization has already shuttered. On the other hand, when customer success becomes woven into the fabric of how a company operates, and is truly measured by customer validation and not a company’s own self-assessment of success, it can become contagious to the point where it produces sustainable competitive advantage.

At Pega, customer success is much more than a mission statement. It’s the fundamental approach to how we operate. At some companies, the measure of customer success is when the company consummates a sale to a new or existing company. At Pega, the measure of success occurs when the customer has actually implemented the selected solution and achieved the expected return. It certainly helps that Pega’s software is designed to enable clients to become more customer centric themselves, so they can optimize their customers’ experiences, with intent-driven customer interaction capabilities, dynamic case management and adaptive analytics that drive better business outcomes.

Beyond the software’s powerful capabilities, however, the pervasive focus to ensure that our customers are successful in actually achieving their goals is what drives the company’s ability to continue to grow at a much faster pace than the overall market. At our recent user conference, PegaWORLD 2011, more than 1,500 attendees heard more than 50 customers on stage who shared their successes and lessons learned after implementing our advanced BPM, CRM and case management solutions.

An integral part of the packed three-day event is the high level of customer-to-customer interaction throughout both the day and evening. During the conference, there was a great deal of one to one and one to many, in-person dialogue and information exchanges, along with active social media conversations. Among the more than 300 tweets during the event, many were a testament to the success that customers have achieved as a result of implementing Pega solutions:

- J.P. Morgan is improving client service with Pega: “we can now resolve inquiries in minutes instead of hours or days”

- Alere is driving customer/patient centricity to understand the whole person, improve health outcomes. “We cut time to market by 75% with Pega”

- Lloyds Banking is able to “apply deep customer insight to relevant offers at every interaction” and realize significant returns Mass Mutual became more customer centric with Pega, creating a customer experience servicing platform to significantly enhance customer intimacy

- J.P. Morgan global operating follows this principal: “whether you are delivering the mail or processing a payment – you need a client-first approach”

- Wesfarmers conversion rates (quote to policy) exceeds industry average using Pegasystems

One of the recent programs we’ve launched to again show our continued commitment to customers is our Customer Success Program, which engages and rewards our customers for sharing their success stories. We’ve had a phenomenal response to this program, with more than 100 clients joining in the first six months after it was launched. Initiatives such as the Customer Success Program help spread the energy beyond an organization’s employees. If an organization is experiencing success AND has something in it for them to help spread the word and share their satisfaction, customer success becomes viral. The Pega approach has fostered a strong community, both internal and external, that not only focuses on customer success, but also allows us to foster an outside-in approach to our business. By breaking down operational siloes and organizational barriers, all parties (software providers, business partners, and client stakeholders) can work together to further drive customer success, and when this is done right, customer success becomes truly contagious.


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A dynamic, senior-level technology executive with a proven track record building businesses on a global basis. As Chief Marketing Officer for Pegasystems in Cambridge, MA Johnson is responsible for worldwide marketing strategy and execution. He oversees corporate marketing, field marketing, industry marketing, product marketing, marketing programs, marketing communications, analyst and public relations, and global web strategy. Previously, Johnson was the Vice President of Marketing at Guidance Software (GUID) and Vice President of Marketing and served as an officer for FileNet Corp., a $400+ million enterprise software vendor acquired by IBM in 2006. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Marketing for FrontBridge, an email management vendor acquired by Microsoft. Johnson led the company’s re-naming and re-launch, built the marketing team and delivered integrated marketing programs to support significant and sustained revenue growth. He has also served as Director of Marketing for Symantec, with worldwide responsibility for the Norton brand, and as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Ethentica, an enterprise security vendor. Johnson received his bachelor of arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his master’s in business administration from Pepperdine University. He has also published several articles on best practices in high tech marketing and co-authored the book, PowerBranding™