Customer Success is a proactive type of customer service support. It is the efforts businesses go through to enable customers to be more successful with their products or services and achieve their desired outcomes. It‘s about delivering more value to the customer and keeping the promise the business has made to provide certain services.
- What Is The Role Of Customer Success?
- Why is Customer Success important to the business?
- When is Customer Success Right For Your Business?
- Customer Success Frameworks
- What it takes to build the best customer success team
- Customer Success Software Tools
- What is Good Customer Success?
- What is bad Customer Success?
- 8 Tips for Great Customer Success
- Is Customer Success a good career choice?
- How does RemoteHQ strengthen Customer Success?
- Final remarks
For many businesses, but particularly B2B SaaS companies, it’s critical to retain customers over the long haul. At any moment, your customers could be lured away by your competitors or simply decide that your product is no longer worth the money.
Instead of losing customers to the dreaded churn, businesses are focused on increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction. They do this by enhancing the value that customers can derive from their products and services. Bringing in new customers with Marketing and Sales is still important, but it’s up to customer success teams to make the most of existing customers and drive customer retention.
The Customer Success team actively educates customers about the features and use cases of your products, enabling customers to get more out of them. It looks for opportunities to reach out to customers and find out how your business can help them overcome their pain points.
It requires a dedicated team to oversee customer success and help customers realize their goals. The team needs to use data to inform their decisions and find out where customers need more assistance.
Customer Success vs. Customer Support
Customer success is different from customer support because it is proactive, while customer support is reactive. Customer success looks for opportunities to reach out to customers before they may have even realized there was an issue, while customer support waits for customers to contact them with problems.
Customer success builds ongoing relationships with customers, while customer service is typically limited to single interactions that lack the wider context. Customer service troubleshoots problems while customer success maximizes potential with the product.
Customer Success vs. Account Management
Account management and Customer Success are both forms of proactive customer service. They lean in, from the get go. Both are responsible for on-boarding new clients, winning back dissatisfied customers and ensuring that they renew their accounts.
Service vs. Product: Account Management is oriented to the service industry such as media agencies and ad agencies, while Customer Success focuses on product industry such as software companies.
Few vs. Many: Account Management and Customer Success team may have the same amount of customers to service, depending on the organization. However, as a general rule, the account management team is typically responsible for looking after high value customers or customers who are probably likely to grow in the near future, while customer success looks after all accounts. And so, it is not uncommon for an agency to staff an account management team on one client, while it is very rare and highly unlikely to see a whole customer success team dedicated to one account.
Customer Success vs. Customer Experience
Customer Experience (CX) is another area that is developed in recent years, and it might be mixed up with Customer Success.
UX/UI vs. Customer Insights: Customer Experience, however, deals with the overall perception and feelings that customers have towards the brand and seeks to improve it, using methodologies such as user testing and interviews. While Customer Success teams may be able to develop deep insights into customers, it is typically not their role to pull together any information other than how it relates directly to the success of customers. Customer success does improve the customer experience but it does so as a byproduct of its overall goals.
What Is The Role Of Customer Success?
The customer success team functions as a bridge between the sales and support team. It is responsible for executing engagement strategies with customers and building enduring professional relationships with customers marked by trust and loyalty.
The team will onboard customers by coaching them through the setup process, navigating them through the product and helping them gain initial value. It’s not about learning absolutely everything to do with the product, but just enough to get them started.
And so, one of its functions is to deliver training to customers that will help them get the most out of the product or service. Training helps customers understand how the product can be used to fulfill particular needs and introduces them to any resources that may be available that can teach them about the product.
Customer success teams should collect regular feedback from customers about how well the product is performing and whether any adjustments could be made.
Why is Customer Success important to the business?
In SaaS companies, customers question whether they should continue doing business with you before every renewal. This could be monthly, quarterly, or annually. That means you need to keep demonstrating the value the product brings on a continual basis, or customers may be lured away by a competitor.
Customer success enhances renewal rates
Customers are in the driving seat when it comes to deciding whether to renew their subscriptions. Companies that implement customer success are assured that customers never stop seeing value from your product and it’s an easy decision for them to make to stay with your company.
Customer success decreases churn
When customer success teams engage customers with your product, they are less likely to churn. Customer success helps you to learn more about how customers use n your product and enables you to iterate on it over time. With a better product comes happier customers, who are committed to staying with your company for the long-haul.
Customer success increases revenue
Customer success often uncovers opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. With customer success, you can gain more mileage from existing customers as well as retaining more customers generally. It also costs far more to attract a new customer than retain an existing one - five times as much, in fact.
When is Customer Success Right For Your Business?
Customer success is particularly suited to SaaS businesses but any company can benefit from customer success if they have customers using their products or services on an ongoing basis. Saas businesses depend on the usage and performance of their product so the customer success is supposed to get the customer to use it and get the value out of it.
SaaS companies need customers who are realizing ongoing value from their product and their customer base pays them on a subscription model. This means there is a heavier focus on customer retention than for businesses who only charge a one-time fee for their product or service. Customer success plays a huge role in the retention of long-term customers and fulfills the business’s promise to deliver a certain service.
Other subscription-based companies can also benefit from a customer success program. They need a team that is dedicated to ensuring that customers are making the most of their products and with the ability to find out if they need any help.
Customer Success Frameworks
A customer success framework is a model you can use to set up an effective customer success program. Customer success is achieved through a combination of people, processes and technology, and your framework should take into account all three elements.
Your customer success framework should include the following components.
1. Hire and train the team
Your customer success program should be underpinned by a well-trained team of customer success professionals. The size of your customer success team will depend on the volume of your customer base and the resources you have available.
2. Choose a software solution
We’ve already mentioned some popular customer success software that you can consider trialing for your business. In order to be successful, businesses need a way of managing their interactions with customers and reporting on customer data at scale.
3. Create the customer success strategy
Your customer success strategy should be based around what you define as success for both your customers and your business. How will you know when customers have been successful with the product? Are there certain actions they can take that you can define as milestones for success?
What it takes to build the best customer success team
Customer Success Software Tools
Customer Success solutions have two facets: a Customer Success software and a Customer uccess support framework. Let's start with the Customer Success software.
Gainsight is customer success and product experience software. It helps you grow your business through deeper product engagement and more successful customer outcomes. You can improve customer retention, promote expansion, and make your customers into raving fans of your business.
Gainsight helps you by providing a comprehensive view of your customers, uncovering trends and risks, and empowers your team to scale with automated actions. You can monitor customer health with an accurate and comprehensive health scoring framework and benefit from powerful but simple analytics.
Amity allows you to proactively manage customer success as a flexible customer success platform. It gives you a unified view of CRM, Support, Billing, Email, Marketing, Usage and Outcome data. Health scores and tailored insights enable your team to develop and deepen high-precision customer relationships.
Amity’s reporting feature lets you close the loop about customers, teams, processes and products. You can organize your customer data with a unified, shared and customizable database for all the accounts, subscriptions and relationships you manage. Amity lets you make better-informed decisions with comprehensive account and people profiles custom-made for customer success teams.
ChurnZero is a customer success platform that enables subscription companies to fight churn. It helps companies to understand their customers better, make the most of their time, and focus on work that really matters. It pulls together data across the entire customer lifecycle, giving your customer success team the confidence to make the most of opportunities and tackle threats.
ChurnZero provides you with everything you could want to know about your customer at a glance. It automates away manual, repetitive activities that take your team’s attention away from what matters most: the customer. Personalized communication helps you connect with your customers and understand their usage, needs, and challenges.
Custify is customer success software for SaaS. It helps your company to ensure product adoption and reduce churn, through assisting your sign ups to be more successful. You can better understand your customer lifecycle and increase customer satisfaction during onboarding, ensure contract renewals and turn customers into advocates.
Custify helps you identify opportunities to upsell to your customers which allows you to expand and grow your business. It unifies all customer data in one place so you can spend more time talking to customers and deepening the relationships.
What is Good Customer Success?
Good Customer Success retains more customers and reduces churn. It finds the right time to engage with customers and understands how to maximize their use of the product. Good Customer Success is the responsibility of a dedicated team but it’s a priority for everyone in the company.
It puts customers at the heart of everything you do in the business. Customer-centricity is baked into company culture and this customer-focus translates into how Customer Success is perceived by the customer.
What is bad Customer Success?
Bad Customer Success involves pestering customers who have little to no interest in talking to you, and just want to get on with using the product alone. It means that customers are not being put first by your team.
Bad Customer Success is not defining what success looks like for your customers. It also means spending too much time trying to make unhappy customers happy, and meanwhile the customers who you thought were already happy just churned.
Customer Success doesn’t work when you bring customers into the business who were a bad fit to start with. Customers who don’t have the potential to benefit from your product won’t be good candidates for Customer Success.
8 Tips for Great Customer Success
1. Get a clear picture of how your customers view success
As we’ve mentioned before, part of your strategy should be understanding exactly how customers define success with your product. It shouldn’t be based on your assumptions of what you think success should be, and it will mean different things to different customers.
Your Customer Success Managers should be paying close attention to what customers are doing with the product and relaying that information back to other teams.
2. Ensure that Customer Success is prioritized across the business
Customer Success isn’t just the province of the Customer Success team. Everyone in your company should be convinced of the value of Customer Success and understand the role it plays in furthering business goals.
The best way to promote Customer Success in your organization is to coach the different teams on the meaning and advantages of this business function. You’ll need to align your efforts to ensure that Customer Success is implemented properly - for example, working closely with support to coordinate your proactive and reactive customer activities.
3. Invest resources in the onboarding stage
Customer success starts playing its part as soon as someone becomes your customer. This makes the onboarding process a critical part of Customer Success, a time in which customers gain their first impression of your product.
You should provide them with the educational materials they need to be successful with your product and be on hand to answer any initial questions. It may not be possible to offer one-to-one support to every customer but you can share tutorials and other documentation to get them started.
4. Measure important Customer Success metrics and communicate with other teams
Customer Success teams are powered by data. Make sure you’re tracking the right metrics to be able to understand the effectiveness of your activities and sharing the information with other teams in your business.
Some Customer Success metrics to track are:
- Churn rate
- Customer health score
- Customer effort score
- Net promoter score
- Customer satisfaction score
- Customer lifetime value
5. Make sure to educate your customers
Educating your customers is an ongoing process. For Customer Success to work properly, you need to predict the questions customers will have about your product and prevent them from resorting to contacting your support team - or worse, churning.
You can build a self-service customer-facing knowledge base to answer common queries and to explain aspects of your product.
6. Hire the right people for your Customer Success team
It’s crucial to hire the right people for your Customer Success team. They will be the ones looking after your customers and helping them be successful with your product, so they need to have the right traits.
Your Customer Success hires should be adaptable, able to quickly adjust their tactics to changing situations. They should be resilient, able to deal with the high expectations of customers and guide them through the product. They need to be empathetic, able to put themselves in the shoes of your customers and understand their needs. They must also have industry experience.
7. Encourage customer loyalty
Part of the role of the Customer Success team is to encourage customer loyalty. Loyalty arises when a customer has a series of positive interactions with your business. They feel invested in your product and are assured that it is worth the money. Customer Success is doing its job and customers want to stick around.
You can create more loyalty by offering rewards for long-term customers in a customer loyalty program. You might give them discounts on future products or send them free swag as a thank you for their loyalty.
8. Create a process for customer feedback
Your Customer Success program won’t be able to survive without a steady stream of customer feedback. It’s not the kind of single-use activity that begins and ends with each customer - it requires constant adjustment to ensure it is keeping pace with a changing product and customer needs.
Every time you speak to your customers, ask for feedback on the performance of your team. You might also ask for their opinions on the actual product, the customer experience, or the relationship with the Customer Success Manager.
Is Customer Success a good career choice?
You might be thinking of making the move into Customer Success as a career. Well, the good news is that the subscription software model is becoming ever more popular and so therefore the need is growing for Customer Success Managers.
In the LinkedIn 2020 Emerging Jobs Report, Customer Success was highlighted as a top emerging job. It was number six on the list, with 34% annual growth. It recommends that candidates for this role have a mixture of soft and hard skills, as they’re responsible for both understanding the technology and managing the customer relationship.
You would be well-placed to transition into this field. Consider this as a career choice if you like working with people and have experience in supporting customers with software products.
How does RemoteHQ strengthen Customer Success?
A powerful tool you can use in your Customer Success program is RemoteHQ. You can ensure customers are being successful with your software product using co-browsing technology, which allows you to simultaneously control someone else’s browser remotely.
You can think of it as interactive screen sharing, giving you the power to demonstrate certain tasks live to customers, so they can follow along. This way is much easier and faster than trying to painstakingly explain what to do in words.
You can co-browse and co-edit any web app with your customers, as part of your everyday remote work stack. There’s no software to install - you simply share your Remote Browser URL with anyone you want to co-browse with. RemoteHQ turns any website into a multiplayer experience.
Customer Success is a critical area of the business to focus on, and is only going to be more important to companies in the near future. In short, businesses are successful when their customers are successful, so it’s worth investing resources in helping customers achieve their goals with your product.
Successful and happy customers are loyal customers, so Customer Success makes them stick around for the long-term. Customer Success improves customer retention and reduces customer churn, thus providing solid benefits for your business.