This article was transcribed from Shalaka Verma's presentation at October 2021’s Customer Success Festival APAC.

I want to share with you what it means to prioritize innovation-led growth, why this is important to customer success, and how it can play a pivotal role in your organization’s growth story.

The pillars of customer success

Microsoft’s core mission is to empower every human being and organization on this planet to achieve more. I’ve been working at Microsoft for a couple of years now, and I think this is a very humbling mission. It helps us to align our goals with our users’ success and growth and write a win-win story for everyone.

Within Microsoft’s mission lies the customer success team’s core mission, which is to drive demand generation through the continuous creation of value for our customers. This is the heart of customer success and the reason for our team’s existence at Microsoft.

Coming to the key part of our mission – which is value creation for our customers – I view it as the sum of three major pillars:

  1. Value enhancement
  2. Value innovation
  3. Managing the perception of value

The first pillar of value creation: Value enhancement

Sweating the assets is a pivotal part of enhancing the value we provide to our users. We need to make sure that we’re using the tech, product, or service to its full capacity and generating the maximum value possible from the investment that the customer has already made. It’s fundamental to show value in this way before moving to the next stage of a sales conversation with any user.

The second pillar of value creation: Value innovation

Your ability to reimagine solutions and form actionable insights plays a pivotal role in value innovation. This pillar is incredibly important for customers, and perhaps even more so for the company itself; it ensures that product teams are focused on creating roadmaps and product features that matter.

The customer success function plays a pivotal role in bringing needed innovations to the customer and deciding which upcoming product features to prioritize. Our ability to do this kind of backend work translates into greater cost optimization and value innovation for our customers.

The third pillar of value creation: Managing the perception of value

The last pillar is managing value perception. COVID has shown us how vital this can be; in the pre-COVID era, the ability to work remotely was not mission-critical for most of us. It was good to have, it kept employees happy, but it wasn’t part of many organizations’ core missions. The pandemic and ensuing restrictions changed remote work from good to have to be mission-critical.

Our ability to anticipate this kind of perception change and pivot quickly to expedite the best outcomes is crucial for customer success. We can't afford to be laggards when our customers’ value perceptions shift.

Translating customer requests into product innovation
There’s no such thing as a perfect product - everything has room for improvement. But how do we determine the right product innovations? In this article, I’ll share three metrics to look out for, how to gather customer requests, and how to translate them into the right product innovations.