Customer success begins to occur when the customer reaches Day Zero. Nate Munger defines Day Zero in an article for Inside Intercom as, “the moment when a customer has completed the necessary tasks so they can start to realize the full value of your product for the job they are hiring it to do.”
Day Zero occurs after the sale is made as the customer transitions from startup to usage. Once all the steps needed to get started have been completed, and your customer is using your product or service fully, they have reached Day Zero.
Day Zero marks the beginning of your customer's success because they are finally utilizing your product. Remember the problems you promised you’d help them solve, the pain points you were going to alleviate? Day Zero is when you start delivering.
Closely coupled to Day Zero is the Time to Value of your product. Time to Value is the time between Day Zero and how long it takes your customer to begin being successful with your product.
For some products or services, the amount of time between implementation and value is very short. For instance, the time between a customer receiving a cookie from a baker (Day Zero) and consuming the cookie (receiving value from their purchase) is typically very fast. Same goes for an app you begin using moments after the download is complete.
Not all products or services have such quick Time to Value, though. In fact, for some products or services, the Time to Value could be months or even years. Complex pieces of software, like an ERP software, for instance, can often take a very long time to reach their Time to Value. In cases like this, Day Zero is also typically farther out. After all, it can take months to install, train, and begin using some pieces of software.
Regardless of the amount of time it takes to hit Day Zero or Time to Value, customer success can be greatly impacted in the intervals. An inbound organization understand both of these concepts and carefully curates the customer experience in these intervals. Creating a project plan that accurately accounts for Day Zero and Time to Value helps manage your customers’ expectations and gives them a clear path to follow to success.
To understand how important customer experience is during these intervals,
think about a company making a large capital equipment purchase. The equipment’s manufacturer spends the sales process talking about how efficient the machine is, how much it will help the customer, and gets all the specifications just right so that the customer will have the best chance at success with their purchase. Everything is going well, and the sale is made. But, instead of a piece of equipment arriving in a short amount of time, is easy to install, and easy to use the customer has to wait half a year for the machine to be manufactured, installation is complex and time-consuming, and training takes a significant amount of time.
The customer in this example is blindsided by the delay and complexity of installation and training, not expecting the length of time it took to reach Day Zero or the long Time to Value. They would understandably be upset. Even if the machine worked perfectly and fulfilled all of its promises, the experience of getting there did not create a happy customer.
On the other hand, if the manufactured had been more inbound, they could have built a plan for the customer during the interval between the sale, Day Zero, and Time to Value. Preparations could be made to minimize the Time to Value and, if nothing else, being clear about the time up front could help the customer manage their expectations.
For more information on implementing inbound organizational principles in your business, check out "Inbound Organization," now available on Amazon.
About the Author
Todd Hockenberry and Top Line Results specialize in leading top line revenue growth at small and medium sized companies with a focus on manufacturing, technology, and capital equipment.
For over 9 years now Top Line Results has been a leader in educating and helping B2B companies adapt to the new realities of Internet driven changes in buying behavior. We are a Gold Level HubSpot partner and are experts at using online tools to drive significant new leads and revenue for our clients.
Todd has over 25 years of experience in direct selling and leading companies selling technology and capital equipment to companies in global industrial markets. He has developed and cultivated direct sales teams as well as managed sales representative and distribution networks--all to significant sales improvements.
Todd has launched new products in domestic and international markets, extended existing ones to new sales records, and rescued dying companies by reinvigorating teams and re-launching products.
Todd has authored many articles on industry and technology trends and has been published in trade magazines like The Fabricator, Industrial Laser Solutions, Modern Metals, Modern Application News, Photonics Online, Tube & Pipe Journal and others. Todd speaks often at industry trade shows and technology conferences.