Because the partner and customer experience (CX) is central to my role at Cisco, I’m always on the lookout for brands that get CX right – to learn from them and even emulate them. From what I’ve seen, there’s an elite group of companies whose reputation for customer retention is exceptional, but few, if any, do CX better than Amazon. It has succeeded in a competitive sector by combining innovation with five-star CX. This has led to Amazon consistently achieving renewal rates at or around 90 percent for annual memberships each year, which is unbelievably high.

What Amazon has also demonstrated is that becoming a leader in the experience economy requires taking advantage of data and technology at scale to deliver personalized and memorable experiences to each and every customer. So, what specifically can Cisco partners do to be like Amazon and start forging stronger, more profitable customer relationships? Here are three strategies you can start using now:

1. Proactive, Personalized and Connected Touch Points

Proactive, personalized engagement is essential to providing the fast, frictionless experience that today’s customers demand. Each customer is different so it’s important to find out how, when and where to best engage with every one of them. Focus on all the online and offline places where they gather – from email and social, to online communities, chat and more. Also, your conversations must be connected and consistent across all channels to provide a rich and seamless customer experience. The ultimate goal is to educate, support and nurture the customer at every stage in their journey. Your mission is to ensure they are successfully using — and getting the most out of — your product or service.

2. Focus on Customer Health

Tesla provides the perfect example of a modern company applying personalization and AI to elevate virtually every aspect of the automotive experience, from vehicle purchasing and customization to driving and servicing. The company collects data on customers’ in-vehicle preferences and driving patterns, and remotely monitors vehicle health and performance. When issues are detected, Tesla triggers automatic software updates and if needed, provides easy and frictionless mobile servicing. Tesla is laser focused on delivering continuous value to the customer, and has already earned a strong reputation among loyal customers for providing a truly immersive experience.

At Cisco, we’ve embraced the Tesla touch in our CX approach with Smart Net Total Care (SNTC). Our Customer Success Managers conduct quarterly health checks, one-on-one, in-person meetings that cover network risks and overall account help. The meetings are supplemented by a steady flow of digital touch points, including highly-personalized, AI-driven emails that are tailored to exactly where a customer is in their SNTC journey from an adoption and feature utilization standpoint. We’re also using AI to make recommendations to customers regarding next steps in their SNTC lifecycle. Like Tesla, our goal is to create the kind of immersive experience that leads to greater customer success and loyalty.

3. Keep it Simple

Getting your CX initiatives off the ground is often the hardest part. And that’s where Lifecycle Advantage comes in. Lifecycle Advantage is our program that automates high-impact digital touch points to customers via partner-branded engagement. It offers partners a simple, personalized way to nurture effective onboarding, feature and service utilization, along with the ability to advance adoption and deliver value throughout the entire relationship lifecycle. Here’s some insight into how partners like Dimension Data are already using it to strategic advantage.

Keeping your customers happy and earning their loyalty year after year requires that you stay ahead of the curve and adapt sales, marketing and support practices to better serve their long-term needs. It takes effort and a company-wide commitment, but the rewards are well worth it. For a deeper dive discussion on CX strategies, please listen to our recent webinar, How to Create Customers for Life.



John Stone

Senior Director, Digital Customer Experience

Customer Experience Organization