Customer Success Strategy, Tips & Advice
Customer Success is a long-term, proactive strategy largely utilized in the SaaS industry to holistically fulfill client needs. By establishing authentic relationships, companies ensure the products and services they provide play a part in meeting and exceeding their clients’ organizational goals.
Customer success means so much more than simply making sure clients have had their contracts fulfilled. It is a combination of professional services, support services, marketing and sales techniques utilized to ensure that the products being offered have a direct impact in facilitating long-term business growth. Adopted in large part by customer success representatives in the SaaS industry, proven customer success strategies communicate care and authenticity to clients, allowing representatives to become a resource for finding solutions to a variety of business challenges.
Customer Success vs. Customer Service
While both are committed to solving client challenges, there are many differences between customer success and customer service. Whereas customer success is a series of proactive measures taken to ensure customer satisfaction, customer service is more reactive and focused on solving immediate client challenges in real-time.
Customer success teams look at the entire customer lifecycle to reduce bottlenecks and onboarding issues, allowing customers to meaningfully accomplish goals, while customer service teams are largely limited to solving technical and usage issues. Customer success representatives also commit themselves to establishing a relationship and becoming a point-of-contact for their customers. Most customer support specialists are limited to single interactions with a customer, and as a result, often lack the context to fully understand the nuance behind the present challenge. Focusing on customer success over customer support allows companies to deliver better care to customers both in the short and long-term, strengthening the value of the products being provided.
Creating and maintaining a successful customer success strategy has resonating effects across the entire business and is crucial to facilitating an agile, scalable organization. By investing in long-term customer goals, customer success representatives create tangible reasons for clients to stick with a product, even if the solutions provided take time to pay off. This can lead to a reduction in churn year over year and simplify the renewal process for all customers.
Customer success managers, or CSMs, are instrumental to the success of not only their team but the entire business — and their customers’ businesses, too. By acting as a point of contact for customers, CSMs lead the way in everything from customer onboarding and product adoption to renewals while performing periodic health checks to ensure customers are at peak satisfaction.
Customer Success KPIs
- Portfolio growth
- Account retention rate
- Churn rate
- Increase in product adoption
- Decrease in number of support tickets
- Maintain high account health percentage
This framework paves the way for account escalations, renewals and upsells, acting as a natural process of providing customers with value while ensuring team members are fulfilling core KPIs.
Making use of powerful automation tools and services, like Hubspot and Salesforce, as well as developing trust-building soft skills allows CSMs to continuously boost their value proposition, increasing account retention rate while lowering churn. Some features to consider when choosing customer success software include:
- Can the product be used to build customer profiles for streamlined identification and documentation?
- Is the platform able to store customer data, history and feedback like team interactions, survey results and tickets logged?
- Does the software provide analytics and metrics on customer success scores and account history?
- Are automation tools for accomplishing repetitive tasks included so CSMs can focus directly on client needs?
- How powerful are its predictive metrics for analyzing customer growth potential based on interactions, payments, products used and inquiries?
- Does this product offer exceptional scalability?
CSMs are also vital to communicating client needs to other teams within their own organization. There is no better source for meaningful business insights than the clients who interact with products and services on a daily basis and possess a first-hand user experience. By establishing comfortable, authentic relationships with clients, CSMs are able to receive quick and actionable feedback and communicate it to leadership, development, sales, and marketing, leading to better customer experiences at scale.
Above all, customer service managers are advocates for their clients, helping them reach their goals and desired outcomes.
What does a good customer success strategy actually look like? It depends on who you ask.