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Oct2018

What is customer success at the FT?

09:06inGeneral
 
 
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In a nutshell, our customer success team helps customers meet their goals or expected outcomes through using the FT. It starts with understanding why a customer bought the FT, then agreeing a plan to achieve the customer’s goals. The plan is reviewed regularly and typically covers how to deploy the FT, techniques to drive awareness and user adoption, advice on best practices and the integration of the FT within user workflows.

Our customer success managers bring product expertise and knowledge of customers to help teams and organisations realise the full value of our service. The rest of this article goes into more detail about what this means in practice.

The starting point: customer goals

Customers purchase access to the Financial Times to address specific issues or challenges facing their organisations. We frequently hear that customers are struggling to keep on top of what’s happening in the market: how new regulations will impact their industry; how technology will disrupt their business; how their clients’ businesses will be affected; and how shifts in geopolitics and economies will affect them and their supply chains.

The first step for the customer success manager is to understand why a team or organisation has purchased the FT and how the FT’s reporting might impact decision-making. For example, customers tell us they use the FT to be more alert to what’s changing in their markets, enabling them to:

  • make well informed decisions by considering a broader perspective

  • understand emerging trends and focus on what’s most important

  • advise their clients more effectively

  • avoid or minimise the impact of adverse events

  • and be the first to act on new opportunities

Once goals have been defined and agreed with the customer, we’ll also work with the customer to set some metrics that will help track progress. To expand on one of the examples above: the FT is often purchased by client facing teams to improve their market awareness and identify new opportunities; a metric might be to measure the engagement of this group with FT.com over a six month period.

The value hierarchy

It’s not enough to have just purchased access to the FT. The critical factor in meeting business goals is how the service is deployed and used by teams throughout the organisation. The value of the FT to customers can be viewed as a progression along the following hierarchy:

  • Individuals are reading the FT to help them do their jobs

  • User workflows and processes have been modified to incorporate the FT

  • Teams or groups of users are collaborating using the FT as a common source of market intelligence

  • The FT is embedded in the workflows and systems used at scale, by multiple teams or organisation wide

Within this context, the customer success team provides guidance and advice on how to get more value from the FT service. They have an in-depth knowledge of FT journalism, our tools and services and how the FT is used by organisations around the world.

Customer plans

Once the goals have been defined and agreed, the customer success manager will recommend tactics and actions to form the basis of a customer plan. The plan is then reviewed regularly, e.g. quarterly, and refined accordingly.

The type of tactics will include:

  • Promotion: activity to raise awareness of the FT subscription and drive user adoption, spanning market stalls or drop-in sessions, creating collateral and posters, working with customers on email and other internal communications.

  • Advice: discussions with readers to understand their roles and inform the delivery of training and webinars for teams. These are tailored to their requirements and highlight how they can best use the FT within their work.

  • Customisation: tailoring FT.com for different teams, based on the topics, industries, people and organisations they are interested in following. An administration platform allows the customer success manager to create groups of users, set up relevant topics and deliver a bespoke FT.com experience.

  • Workflow integration: the integration of FT news and analysis within third party applications and databases, such as your CRM system, research platforms, intranet and collaboration tools. The customer success manager will help map your processes and create bespoke news feeds and integration points to help teams get access to the FT more readily.

  • Single Sign On: implementing Single Sign On so readers have quick and easy access to FT.com and licence administration is reduced.

Measuring progress against goals

The FT provides a self serve portal, called Enterprise Tools, that enables customers to measure how widely and to what extent the FT is being used within the organisation. The usage data is available by device, platform and user, and provides a valuable talking point when reviewing plans. We can also use customer satisfaction surveys to supplement the usage data with qualitative insights.

A final note on how the customer success team works with organisations: time invested early to gather requirements and plan activity, is essential to accelerating the return on your investment in the FT and meeting your goals.

Customer Success case studies

We now have more than 4,000 customers with group subscriptions, spanning corporations, professional services firms, banks, government agencies and business schools. Our customer success team has worked with many of these customers to showcase how the FT can help meet their goals:

  • Linklaters uses the FT to equip its lawyers with information about their clients. The FT has been integrated within their induction programme and systems to help build the commercial awareness of its fee earners and provide topical conversation starters. Read more

  • At McGill University the FT helps professors to connect classroom theory with current business news, providing students with a deeper understanding of course materials and preparing them for careers in cross-cultural environments. Read more

  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has integrated the FT into its new methodology that allows it to refine decisions on how and where to invest for the best results. Read more

  • Credit Suisse uses the FT within its investment management system to help its relationship managers provide better advice and therefore improve client retention. The licensing and technology solutions can scale to bring best practice to all customer facing staff and productivity gains. Read more

  • At HMRC, the FT helps staff understand the wider implications of policy changes, understand client needs and ensure compliance. Process improvements made with the FT to improve the quality and speed of research. Read more

How do I find out more about customer success at the FT?

The FT is a trusted business tool used by more than 4,000 organisations worldwide. Please email customersuccess@ft.com if you have any further questions or would like to learn more about our service.