Customer success and business success are not two different things — making your customers succeed will make your business succeed, as happy customers add more value than recurring revenue.
By placing the customer success program at the core of your business objective, you are making your customers your brand advocates and ensuring a long-term growth map for your business. If you know what customer success is and why your business needs it, continue reading how customer success works and how to make your customers succeed.
What is Customer Success Management?
Customer Success Management is a structured approach to establishing, managing, and scaling an effective customer success strategy for building a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers. As competition and customer expectations compound, companies today are resorting to customer success strategies to position themselves as customer-centric and win loyalty.
How does Customer Success Work?
Customer success maps customer journey from start to end in order to assess their experience at various levels of the customer lifecycle and provide proactive support. For that reason, a good customer success strategy cannot be implemented just with a few brainstorming sessions, spreadsheets, and some extra hours. As with any other function, you need a team and a customer success manager who exclusively follow the customer journey and communicate their insights to the product and sales teams.
The 3 P’s of customer success management (CSM) are — customer success solutions (platform), a dedicated team (people), and a strategy (process) that aligns your customer success efforts with your business goals. These elements sum up how customer service works.
1. Customer Success Software
Rather than dealing with customer issues when they arise, customer success targets areas of improvement that can enable customers to derive the maximum value out of your product. This not only means customer success teams have to be on top of every customer interaction but also measure all these data against essential customer success metrics and KPIs such as net promoter score (NPS) and customer health score.
One of the core elements of customer relationship management is the resources it provides you to predict the future behavior of customers from their purchase history and intent. To achieve this, you need customer success solutions aka software and CRM tools to integrate customer feedback, interactions, and activities that can contextually guide the sales teams with their upsell and cross-sell attempts. Modern solutions also let you predict the likelihood of referrals and brand advocacy among all sorts of perspectives to build your growth strategy and customer acquisition.
2. Customer Success Team
Customer success represents managers and doers. They bring the strategies and ideas to life and are responsible for overseeing the customer success function. Given your support and service agents are already strapped for time with real-time problem solving, the need for a dedicated set of customer success executives becomes imminent. A customer success team consists of communication, technical, and analytics experts led by a customer success manager who ensures that their efforts are in line with the overarching goals of making customers succeed.
3. Customer Success Strategy
Having a well-laid strategy with the whats and whys of customer success is essential to set your team for success from day one. Customer success is not a one size fits all program. It depends on your business model, your customer base, and how mature your market presence is. By devising a strategy and giving your team clarity on what to work towards, you’re eliminating the guesswork surrounding the execution of customer success. In addition to customer success strategy, here are the top 5 tips to achieve customer success.
Tips to Achieve Customer Success
The key is not to adopt the most popular strategy available but one that is developed with your customers in mind. Dig deep into your industry insights to devise a strategy tailored to your customers and business. Having a strategy will also help you invest in the right customer success platform that can be scaled when your business and customer base expands. Create a customer success strategy that answers the following questions:
- How do you manage customer feedback?
- How do you manage customer success through the highs and lows of customer relationships?
- How can you adopt the right solutions to execute this strategy?
- Can this methodology be scaled through automation workflows and other advanced tools in the future?
Once you have a clear idea, implement a strategy that brings together every function in your organization to operate with the customer’s voice at the core.
The key differentiator that sets customer support and customer success apart is the need for cross-functional collaboration. The customer success team needs to supplement the objectives of other functions with the in-depth insights they gather every day. These insights will help the sales team with upselling, marketing teams with creating educational content for customers, and the product team to insert customer perspectives into the product roadmap. Besides, communicating the desired outcomes of your strategy to your employees will assure them that their efforts are translating to customer success at all touchpoints.
A transactional service is where agents interact with customers when they need help. It typically ends with the support team giving a resolution. A relational service is where you understand your customers fully, and handhold them through any issues or any potential issues they might face. Customer success teams do not wait for customers to initiate these conversations. They instead educate their customers about the product proactively to make them feel empowered about using the product.
Companies achieve this with frequent one-on-ones, webinars, feedback follow-ups, and most importantly, with an up-to-date knowledge base that acts as a library of information about your products and services.
Your customers are bound to have some dilemma left about purchasing your product in the initial stage. Delivering a great post-sale onboarding experience is crucial to provide the reassurance that your new customers need. Onboarding refers to enabling your customers with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to start using your product. Besides, it offers you a great opportunity to understand what customer needs are and how to meet them. Most SaaS businesses arrange tutorials, webinars, and even introductory tours of their other products and pricing strategies their customers might be interested in.
Establishing a customer loyalty program or a voice of the customer program is a great way to externally communicate to the customers how much they are being cared for. This will help your customer understand –
- The efforts that are being taken for customer success and
- The opportunities customers have to further leverage the services of customer success
This kind of transparency will reduce customer churn rate and hence make customers stick with you longer.
In a way, customer success is the new marketing. Through simple steps such as updating your progress on customer feedback and communicating your reward strategies to your customers, you are increasing customer satisfaction and customer retention. Customer success is an all-inclusive version of these small steps.
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