Getting Customer Success Right In The Digital Asset Era

Getting Customer Success Right In The Digital Asset Era

July 13, 2021

Customer Success is all about helping customers achieve their goals through your products and services. Sounds easy enough.

But what if you work in possibly the fastest-moving, most unpredictable, yet incredibly attractive industry out there? What if you operate in a space where a tweet can make or break the market overnight? Yes, we are talking about Digital Assets, and the challenge to achieve customer success here is real.

How do you help your customers in their journey through these new financial products when risks are high, the tech moves fast, and regulations seem to be always one step behind? This article proposes statistics-backed insights and some valuable tips on how to win the customer experience war in the digital asset space.

The Big Deal about Digital Assets

Digital Assets are a broad term for any content that comes in a digital format that is self-contained, has a value, and includes the right to use it (data that do not possess that right is not considered an asset)². Most often, however, people associate ‘digital assets’ with cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based tokens — like utility tokens, security tokens and NFTs, to name a few. Over the past five years, these new asset classes have become the ultimate frontier for professionals in the financial space, investors and a growing number of aficionados. Arguably, they can be considered the most significant milestone in the evolution of money since credit cards.

With a market capitalization that only in the last 12 months went from US$ 776 billion to over US$ 1.6 trillion, the industry is booming, and everybody wants in, both individuals and companies. As a result, many businesses are trying to address this growing demand from every available angle: custody, trading, asset tokenization, crypto-specific compliance and legal services, insurance and even accounting. You name it; someone is doing it.

While the supply of certain services — e.g. accounting for cryptocurrency — may still be relatively low, when it comes to other providers, like exchanges, there is plenty to choose from, and customers will inevitably start moving towards the best players in the market.

So what is it that customers value in a market where they have a choice? According to a PwC survey, customer experience — which is a fundamental part of customer success — is a decisive factor for 73% of the respondents.

So what does customer success and excellent customer experience look like for an average customer and does the same apply to a customer in the digital asset market? We’ll get to this in a moment.

Customer Success: What it is and the challenge with Digital Assets

The term Customer Success as a dedicated department in a business can be considered a relatively new concept and gets often mixed up with two other areas: Customer Support and Key Account Management. The key difference between Customer Success and the others is the underlying mindset. Customer Success is:

  • Proactive: a customer success team is with the customer in his/her journey always and not only when the customer needs them;
  • Value-adding: where customer support is there to resolve a problem — which can be defined as a temporary decrease of value in the product/service — , customer success aims at increasing the value delivered to the customer even when things are already positive;
  • Consultative: a customer success team dedicates time to actually understand the customer’s goals throughout the whole life cycle;
  • Satisfaction-focused: while a Key Account Manager wants to sell as the main goal, for Customer Success, there is an underlying trust that nailing customer satisfaction will inevitably bring revenue.

To some, this may sound like an expensive business exercise if there is no obvious ROI. Statistics, however, show that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more (up to 16%) for a better customer experience. Moreover, a gap is perceived between the expected experience and the one that is delivered, implying that there is a real opportunity — and perhaps no other choice — to bridge that gap and hopefully monetize it in the process.

According to the PwC report mentioned earlier, a great customer experience is fast, convenient, efficient and human. If we think back to customer experience within digital assets, one addition is key: customers should feel safe and be able to trust those who provide them with digital asset-related products and services. This is of almost obvious importance in a new financial sector which is for the most part unregulated and in constant technology-driven evolution.

The customer experience war might not quite be there yet, but it is coming. Even though in the long run, only solid businesses that invest where it matters for their customers will survive, in the short term, many are trying to leverage the digital asset trend — and the space is getting more competitive. With this in mind, we get into the main tips that we believe are key in delivering the experience that is ideal to your customers.

3 tips to achieve Customer Success by bridging the Customer Experience gap

A commitment to Customer Success is ultimately a commitment to customer satisfaction and great customer experience. So how to achieve it?

The answer is not only in bridging the gap between your customer’s expected and actual experience, but also understanding what they need even before they know it, and thus, doing beyond what they expect. Believe it or not, customers notice the organizations that go the extra mile for them.

If this sounds challenging, an excellent way to get started is dogfooding (also called “eating your own dog food”), which is the term referring to a company’s practice of using its own product. The same can be done for customer experience. Since customer feedback can be hard to collect sometimes, being a user of your product, which inevitably includes the overall experience as a customer, is a great way to check how well you are doing.

Besides self-assessment, here are a few tips for moving in the right direction.

TIP 1 — Put humans and technology, together

Great technology comes a long way. In a perfect world, your technology is seamless, your product works all the time and your self-service customer support automations are so intuitive that no customers will ever need you. Until they do. And when that happens, comes the big — and often untapped — opportunity to show that you took as much care in building your team as you took in building your product.

Knowledgeable, friendly, proactive customer-facing staff is the ideal complement to a well crafted digital product. This is even more important in a fast-changing and constantly innovating space where customers can rely on you (and your team) to understand how to go about not only your products but the industry itself. This is an element that can make the difference in your churn rate, in your up-and cross-selling efforts and even motivating your customers to refer you to new ones.

To better understand how one can implement the human-technology duality, let us look at how we at Hex Trust embody this. We start from the assumption that in a new and fast-changing industry, our clients want to rely on us for information and knowledge not only about our product but also about the industry. For that, we not only ensure that passionate individuals with knowledge of the crypto ecosystem are hired, but we make sure that they are well versed with our product by encouraging them to set up accounts (or demo accounts) with us. Additionally, we inspire proactivity in getting informed by practicing the routine of checking the industry-related news every morning as a team. This knowledge-driven attitude of our workforce enables well-informed conversations with our clients, not only when they have queries but throughout their journey with us.

TIP 2 — Be there when others aren’t

Fantastic customer experience and support are often not a given in the digital asset space. The examples are everywhere.

Some businesses go the decentralized way and rely on their own community to assist themselves; others scale unevenly and leave their customer-facing team thirsty for resources. The result is the same: no one is there.

Making the difference here is a purely strategic decision. All you need is:

  • Enough people in proportion to your (hopefully) growing customer base;
  • Presence in the places where your customers are.

In the digital asset space, in fact, customers don’t necessarily hang out in quite the same places as, say, any other financial institution. They can now be found on new platforms, and they want to talk to you whenever and wherever convenient for them. Telegram, Whatsapp, email, phone calls, other social media platforms, live chat — you name it. Whether you opt for multi-channel (easier to manage for smaller organizations but fragmented) or omni-channel (more customer-centred but harder to implement), the new standards are relatively clear:

  • You must be available on (or make available) multiple channels;
  • You must be available close to 24/7;
  • These channels must be mobile-friendly;
  • Interactions are expected to be real-time (or almost).

Due to the fast-paced and capricious nature of the cryptocurrency world, we at Hex Trust understand that our client base can require us to be available for them at any time of day. Thus, we streamline the communication process to achieve the same. Our crypto-focused customer support and technical support team are in direct contact with our clients wherever they want- Whatsapp, phone calls and even face-to-face. As trust is a crucial factor in the custody industry, we want a relationship with our clients where we truly get to know each other. This is facilitated by our real-time interactions, where we aren’t afraid to show our faces, enabling a better understanding of, and deeper connections with our client base. Our proactivity in connecting with our customers speaks to our value-adding ability in every stage of our relationship, not just when there is a problem to solve.

TIP 3 — To make it about your customers, make it about your employees first

If we agree that being in direct contact with your customers in the digital asset industry is fundamental to bridge the gap, then the formula is quite simple: happy employees equal happy customers.

PwC shares some useful insights on this as well: the top 4 answers to the question ‘Which of the following would stop you from doing business with a company?’ reflect the importance of well-cared-for employees:

  1. Bad employees attitude
  2. Unfriendly service
  3. Untrusted company
  4. Unknowledgeable employees.

A customer-facing team takes all sorts of hits: the questions, the moods, the complaints and the feedback. They are in charge of listening, helping, reassuring, assisting, guiding. And, above all, your team’s response at each interaction is in reality the response of your company — which your customers will remember, especially if negative.

Empowering employees, training them, caring about their experience and even crafting an alternative hiring strategy looking for talent from different yet very relevant sectors, like hospitality, are great ways to build that happiness which hopefully will travel to your customers.

This is precisely the environment we are building at Hex Trust. We acknowledge that it is essential for a company like ours in the FinTech industry to hire talent with high Technology Quotient (TQ). But, it is of equal priority to us to build a diverse pool of talent, especially by hiring those from emotional quotient (EQ) driven backgrounds such as social services. These are the employees that facilitate the building of a communicative, supportive and overall closely connected workforce. It is important for a workplace to be a space that empowers all employees. Thus, on a company level, we encourage proactivity and responsibility-taking by adopting a flat-organizational model devoid of hierarchy and micromanagement. By building a system of unity and trust across our team, we aim to transcend the same internal atmosphere beyond the borders of the organization, specifically our client relationships.

Creating closed-loop feedback is imperative for effective communication and we attain this via regular one-on-one meetings between team members as well as with our client base. This ensures that everyone gains a higher understanding of each other, subsequently learning to work better together. Additionally, it provides a more effective provision of support so that those working with Hex Trust know that we are with them every step of the way.

Key Takeaway: Digital Assets need Human Assets

So it looks like a conversation revolving around customer focus and customer success morphed into something a little different. If putting your customers’ success and their experience first is your strategy, leadership and human resources play possibly the biggest role, besides your product. It is your team, in fact, that drives forward on a daily basis, that commitment towards excellence, especially when operating in the uncharted territory of an evolving industry. This commitment, in turn, needs to be fuelled by an equally dedicated leadership, focusing on training, empowering and nurturing talent.

So if you want to win the customer experience war, start from the inside, prepare the battlefield and take care of your army.

1 www.securities.io/what-are-digital-assets/
2 www.technopedia.com/definition/23367/digital-asset

Giorgia Pellizzari
Giorgia Pellizzari
Head of Customer Success
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