The process of selecting a security vendor starts with questions — lots of them. Questions one might ask when considering any product. Does this product fit into my current security stack? What does it cost? Do I need to hire or train someone to manage it? How long before it adds value and improves my security posture?

However, there are other vendor considerations that may seem more abstract but are equally important: Does this vendor truly care about its customers post-sale? How does it ensure customers leverage their investment? Does it continually drive value for customers? And how is that manifested in the customer experience?

The consumption model continues to shift with the rise of social selling, advocate marketing, and “everything” shops like Amazon. This ongoing change puts power squarely in the hands of buyers — and that goes for technology buyers in the B2B space, too. The movement of CapEx to OpEx and trends toward cloud solutions have as much to do with shifting the burden for results to the vendor as it does with where those expenses show up on financial statements. Given these shifts, the customer experience (and by extension, the customer success practice) has blossomed into an industry of its own.

The LAER framework was popularized by some very smart people at the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA). It serves to focus company tools, process, and people around four key components of the customer journey and experience: landing, adopting, renewal, and (more recently) expanding the footprint beyond the initial sale.

tsia-laer-frameworkThe LAER framework is widely accepted within the customer success industry, but — with no disrespect to my esteemed colleagues at TSIA — I’ve always felt it was missing something. While LAER is great for focusing on certain positive customer outcomes, at OpenDNS we’ve modified the model to include an “S” for one of the most important aspects of customer success: service.

Introducing the LASER Method

By adding that one initial, we acknowledge our responsibility for customer service and support experience, because we know poor service risks our customer relationships throughout their entire journey! In our customer success organization, we strive to lead customers efficiently toward positive outcomes too, but we do so with an eye toward answering a few questions of our own: Do our customers feel empowered? Do they leave every interaction with us feeling positive about our brand? Are they deriving increased value from our partnership over time? Are they advocates for us to their friends and colleagues?

At OpenDNS, we measure our success through our customers’ success…and their positive outcomes. To every question above, we strive for a resounding “Yes!

Service (the “S”) is another key part of managing relationships that are strategic, valuable, loyal, and growing. And we pledge to stay LASER-focused on demonstrating value for our customers across the entire journey: Landing, Adoption, Service, Expansion, and the Renewal experiences. And we continue to measure the success of our mission with CARE metrics, as I’ve blogged in the past.

While this may seem like common sense, the truth is the compasses at many companies are spinning out of control when it comes to proactively managing their customer’s journey. But we know that the happiest customers are the ones who continually gain value from their investment. With each and every interaction, we’ll strive to make that your reality.

On behalf of the entire Cisco/OpenDNS team, we appreciate your business!

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