What is Customer Success and Why Your Business Needs it?

Customer success is more than a mere buzzword. It aligns the goals of customers and businesses to build a mutually beneficial relationship in the long run. Customer success does not just focus on making customers happy. The success of your business is directly dependent on the success of your customers, as they are indispensable to each other.

There is a lot of ambiguity surrounding the meaning and need for customer success. How is customer success different from customer service? Is creating a customer success strategy for my business worth it?

This customer success guide compiles everything you need to get introduced to this crucial value addition strategy.   

What is Customer Success?

Customer success is an organization-wide effort that helps customers achieve the best outcome from a product or service. The concept of customer success is more dynamic than customer satisfaction or experience, as it strives to establish and build relationships with customers as opposed to delivering a transactional customer experience. A good customer success strategy amplifies brand recognition and revenue by positive word of mouth and advocacy. 

Understanding Customer Success vs. Customer Service vs. Customer Support

Oftentimes customer success, customer service, and customer experience are regarded as the same. Although they operate with a common goal of customer happiness, they are not interchangeable in meaning. 

Customer service refers to the assistance given to customers from the time they land on a product through to the end of the customer lifecycle. It is a comprehensive term that includes every interaction a customer has with different functions within the organization at different touchpoints. Common interactions between customers and the customer service teams include helping customers choose a product that matches their needs and assisting them on how to get the most value out of it, with the end goal of making their lives easier.

Customer support, on the other hand, is a subcategory of the all-encompassing customer service and is exclusive to interactions that pertain to any issues a customer may face while using a product. Customer support teams consist of technical experts who focus on solving customer issues to ensure that they achieve their desired outcome with the product. Customer support only comes into the picture when customers reach out to them, and these interactions represent their experience with a particular aspect of a product at a particular time and not their entire experience with the business.

Customer success is an all-around customer-centric approach that brings together every function in an organization to build customer relationships that extend beyond assisting in purchase or offering support. With customer journey mapping, customer success teams probes the entire spectrum of customer engagement at various touchpoints to identify potential inefficiencies and address them. It is a long-term approach that involves establishing a program that rewards and engages with customers with a focus on increasing customer lifetime value.

Customer success, customer service, and customer support thus have different objectives but the same end goal of providing value to customers. Some of the common customer success metrics include Net Promoter Score (NPS), renewal rate, and retention.

Why is Customer Success Important for Your Business?

When it comes to customer relationship management, customer success is often overlooked because of the perceived notion among companies that strategies are only an extension of a rock-solid customer service function. This is not entirely false because a Customer Success program can achieve little on its own. It may not be a miracle one-stop solution for customer management but when combined with the all-encompassing customer-centric approach you have so far built, it can set your business up for success. 

1. Decrease Cost With a Focus on Retention over Acquisition

Whatever companies manage to save by forgoing a customer success strategy can quickly vanish through the cost that needs to be spent on acquiring new leads, conversions, onboarding customers post-sale, and allocating resources to support them. 

A recent survey revealed that the success rate of selling to a return customer is 60-70% as opposed to the success rate of selling to a new customer, which is 5-20%.  

Also given the cost of acquiring a customer that is much more than the cost of retaining an existing customer, customer success serves the crucial purpose of increasing your customer retention.

2. Decrease Customer Churn

Most of the time customer churn results from issues that stem from customers not getting their needs fulfilled by a product and the lack of timely support. Customer churn can cost you more than business. The dissatisfaction that made your customer quit your business or switch to a competitor can affect your customer acquisition likelihood through bad reviews and word of mouth. Customer success managers drive their teams to assess how happy customers are with your business throughout the lifecycle and address any bottlenecks before they translate to a bad customer experience. The higher the customer satisfaction, the lower the churn rate.

3. Increases Revenue With Repurchase and Upselling

One of the obvious upsides of customer success is the repurchase and upselling opportunities. Customer success lets you interact with customers more, giving you additional insights into the purchase intent of your customers. You can leverage the surplus data from customer interactions to find what your customers might be interested in and create a stream of recurring revenue.

Besides, customer success management helps you gain visibility into the space of customers who are not considering but could use a software extension or an upgrade. When you can predict customer health, i.e., predict the likelihood of a customer to upgrade to that new SaaS feature or to renew after the first trial, you are finding opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, and offer proactive service to customers. You can use HappyFox Live Chat, a tool that helps your support and sales teams in real-time customer engagement.

4. Promote Business Growth With Positive Word of Mouth

These days, even the best products and services cannot give you the edge you need to stand out in a competitive market place. Customer success leads to an increase in your mind share and heart share in the market, more so than you can ever achieve with high-end advertising and best pricing. Mind share refers to brand awareness and popularity among your customer base whereas heart share refers to the role emotions and past experiences play in choosing a business. Any company that invests in customer success is bound to see the positive word of mouth and referrals manifesting into unsolicited business growth. 

5. Establish a Customer-centric Culture Across the Organization

If customers are the core of any business, there is no reason why they should remain exclusive to customer-facing functions. Despite numerous efforts to establish a customer-centric approach across the organization, companies still see functions operating in silos. Customer success solutions can help bring the voice of the customers to the front line, thus aligning your organizational efforts and product roadmap with customer needs at every turn. Leveraging customer insights to calibrate a product or service to generate their desired outcomes is a surefire way to deliver great customer experiences. You can transform the data collected across various communication platforms into insightful cross-functional KPI reports and dashboards with HappyFox Business Intelligence

A scalable customer success platform is a combination of effective customer success software tailored to your business model, workflow automation, real-time customer feedback management, performance tracking, and of course, professional services. 

Takeaways

Every customer-facing function focuses on efficiently dealing with how to approach and solve customer issues. These fundamental methodologies of customer service when coupled with an effective customer success strategy can enhance your customer relationship, promote business growth, and eventually increase your revenue. If you want to know where to start, read how customer success works and the top tips to make your customers succeed.

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