With the business landscape ever-evolving and the price of customer acquisition constantly on the rise, we have now entered an era where sales and marketing are not enough. Gone are the days where you could just rely on annual contracts to lock in your customers, now you need more to sustain growth.
But how does one do that? What’s the missing element?
You need to invest in Customer Success.
Let’s break down customer success with these five questions:
What is Customer Success?
The process of Customer Success involves anticipating the problems and issues that your customers may have and providing solutions for them before they even happen. This will increase customer satisfaction and happiness. As a result, it will boost your retention and customer loyalty which converts to increased revenue.
Customer success focuses on the customer’s entire experience with your company and figures out how to get each customer the most value. It is different from the function of customer support which is a problem-solving feature and simply a portion of the customer success process.
Why is it Important?
With the price of customer acquisition steadily increasing it is now imperative that you retain each and every one of your existing customers and keep them happy. Happy customers are loyal customers and loyal customers become advocates.
When your customers become advocates for you they will actively acquire new customers for your business, spreading the word of their good experiences and the value of your products/services. As a result, it is fair to say that the customer success process affects your bottom line by increasing your revenue. You will reduce your churn rate, which means less of your existing customers will drop off, and you can simultaneously more will be coming in off referrals.
How do you manage it?
When diving into this process you first need a strategy that lays out your plan to proactively seek out potential problems and solve them before they happen. It should include strategies to assist customers when they have issues, support them when they have questions and satisfy them with foreseen solutions.
You may want to assign a customer success manager to oversee and implement the strategy and they may also be supported by a group of representatives that work directly with the customers. These managers are also the ones who should be handling and issues that need to be escalated beyond the representatives.
How does it work?
So, let’s dive into the elements needed to make this work. There are three things you need:
- A Customer Success Solution – This is a software platform that allows you to keep track of all of your customers. Look for a robust system that allows you to pull up each customer’s data quickly and easily. It should include customer profiles with customer information, logged interactions, open tickets, past issues and analysis. This way you have everything you need at your fingertips when interacting with a customer. The software should put the customers’ needs to the forefront allowing your business to grow through the customers’ success. A great software option in this instance would be an intuitive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
- Customer Success Employees – A mentioned above, to manage this undertaking, you need a team of people dedicated to the process. The size of this team will depend upon the size of your business, but your team should consist of a manager and representatives who deal with the customers directly. If your company is really small, it is fine to just have a manager without the representatives; however, as your company grows, it is imperative to remember to expand your team.
- A Customer Success Strategy – To stay on track you will need a strategy. While these will vary from business to business there are some universal steps that will ring true for everyone:
- Identify customer goals
- Establish a team
- Implement appropriate software
- Create a roadmap to achieve customer goals and business expectations
- Implement strategy with the team and ensure everyone is on the same page and knows the expectations.
- Analyze results
- Make modifications based on analysis
How do you help customers succeed?
Once you have your process down it’s now time to focus on how to help your customers succeed. Here are some tips:
- Implement your strategy – Make sure that your strategy addresses your customer needs and make sure your team is actually implementing the plan. Your team needs to be onboard and consistent to ensure quality across the board. As your business grows and your customers’ needs change, make sure that your strategy evolves to reflect that.
- Educate – Empower your customers with education. This is especially essential if you have a complex product. No one wants to spend hours on the phone to support chasing down answers to their inquiries, so, make sure that you have educational materials readily available where your customers can access them. You can even help your customers help themselves. Create a knowledge base where they can share information. They will get answers to their questions much quicker and as a result, increase their customer satisfaction.
- Onboarding – Onboard your customers by providing them with the necessary tools they will need to get acquainted with your product and set things off on the right foot. This may include training, resources and educational content. During this phase, it is important that you proactively engage and answer questions to set the tone of what the experience with your company will be.
- Communicate Internally – Make sure that every member of your team is on the same page to ensure consistent, quality service across the board. Also, keeping communication flowing across departments will help your reps better communicate with their customers by providing their unique data. For example, marketing can provide you with the content you need to engage with customers, sales can identify customer pain points and customer support can help you align your problem solving and predictive efforts in increasing customer satisfaction.
- Push Customer Loyalty – When a customer is satisfied and can see the value of a product or service they become loyal brand advocates. Your customer success strategy should be promoting this loyalty and it can do so through a number of ways. Customer loyalty points or discount programs or customer communities are just a couple of examples of things you can do.
Customer happiness should be at the forefront of every decision your business makes and a customer success program is the first step in making that happen.
MasterSolve is a business and technology consultancy with offices in Toronto, St. Louis and Montreal. We are your trusted business partner with expertise in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Technology (Martech) solutions. We live and breathe CRM and process improvement, we use a combination of best practices and common sense to help you find, implement and support, the software and technology you need to run your business and meet your goals.