What is customer success?
Simply put, customer success is ensuring the success and happiness of your customer when they’re using your product/service. This includes understanding how they use your product/service, why they use it and what you as a company can do to ensure that your customer always has the best possible experience time and time again. There is no turn key solution to ensure successful customers but rather an ongoing workflow that is influenced by customer data, behaviours and internal stakeholders.
The goal of customer success is to be proactive and predict the customers’ needs and requirements and build that into the product/service before they even ask for it! This ensures a low churn rate, positive endorsements and customer LOYALTY, a coveted currency in this day and age.
Lack of customer happiness and success with your product/service leads to stiffer competition and long term risk of your market position.
Why should companies invest in the happiness of their customers?
As previously mentioned, creating and managing a workflow focusing on customer success provides the following core benefits:
- Low churn rate
- Increased customer retention or loyalty
- Positive company image and endorsements
And so naturally, it makes sense for companies to take it seriously. Tomasz Tunguz provides a hypothetical example for a SaaS company with CAC (customer acquisition cost) and MRR (monthly recurring revenue) values, providing a clearer picture to any of us struggling to find reasons to implement customer success processes at our workplace.
An additional benefit which is perhaps less recognized or measured, is that moving towards a customer success mindset helps build company morale and purpose. In a Guardian article titled, Millennials want purpose over paychecks. So why can’t we find it at work? findings of a LinkedIn study are discussed which share that “ 74% of candidates want a job where they feel like their work matters. That means both companies and employees should make creating meaningful work a priority.”
Directly contributing to the happiness of a customer intuitively also improve employees’ connectedness as they have a tangible impact on the experience an individual has with the product/service which can help or hinder the overall success of the company.
How do you get started?
Now that you have a quick introduction to what customer success is and why it is important to implement in your business, download our free customer success process to start improving your customers’ happiness today.
We believe, at a minimum, a customer success process should include the following steps:
Step 1 — Onboarding
After an individual becomes a customer by buying your product or completing a free trial, it’s your responsibility to help them extract the most value in the onboarding stage and enable them to get the most out of your product. So if they are not using your product or service to its fullest, this is the stage where you can identify who may be ‘struggling’ and figure out a strategy to support them in the adoption stage.
Step 2 — Adoption
In this step, you rely heavily on data and analytics to draw out patterns and themes.
- Which product features are being used the most?
- How often is the user logging in?
- Are they using any advanced features, etc.?
By looking at the data, you can see how easily your product or service is being adopted by the customer which is important in the way the product is communicated and how support is created.
Step 3 — Nurturing
Now that you know more about your customers, you can really make them a champion of your product. In the nurturing step, you want to make sure your customers are happy with the support they are getting from your customer success team. You can do this with surveys or popular indication tools like the Net Promoter Score (NPS). With a feedback loop established, you can begin to further nurture the customer depending on their level of happiness and stage they are in.
- Do they want to make another purchase?
- Are their needs not being met?
Knowing their level of happiness and requirements will allow you to set clear goals and create both automated and non-automated communications to make sure they stay satisfied.
Step 4 — Expansion
You’re doing everything you can to make the customer happy and collecting data to backup your actions to give them the best help at the best time. Now that you know your customer more, you presumably also know their needs more and can use this opportunity to upsell or cross sell your product and generate more leads. Moreover if they are happy with the support and level of interaction, they will be willing to recommend you to a friend, campaigns tied to a referral bonus, (i.e. refer a friend and you both receive 15 euros) would come in handy at this stage.
Step 5 — Renewal
Last but not least, you wouldn’t be focusing on this customer success lifecycle if you weren’t looking for a champion. The end goal is to have the best CLV (customer lifetime value) and with a constant feedback loop, referrals, and customer happiness with your product and support, your renewal value will help you make predictions of your company’s future growth.
We’ve just scratched the surface on customer success management so if you want to do more research, we found this article titled 30 resources every customer success manager should read which should help you dive even deeper into the topic.