Customer Success refers to a set of business practices which ensure that customers get what they want out of a company’s service or product. The practices associated with Customer Success concentrate on strengthening the relationship between the clients, vendors and producers so that every party involved enjoys their interactions. Proper use of Customer Success strategies can increase a company’s client retention and sales.
Every company’s success is strongly tied to how successful they are with their customers. Customers that enjoy using a product are much more likely to buy that product from the same company rather than seeking out a competitor’s product. This helps the business to succeed by ensuring a steady flow of revenue. Making sure that your customers are happy is not an easy task and it typically involves a lot of man-hours, strategizing and collecting actionable data. The data is very important because a company cannot streamline its Customer Success strategy if it does not know what customers want.
A quality Customer Success Management Plan is made up of the following components:
Segmenting your customers into different tiers allow you to address their collective concerns. Most customers have the same issues when dealing with your services and if you collect data on their feedback, you’ll see that customers from particular brackets are saying similar things. Segmentation allows you to solve more issues with a single fix rather than spending the man-power to fix each client’s issue individually.
For example, you can segment your customers based on how much they pay. If the customers in the higher paying bracket, or the bracket where most of your revenue comes from, insist on certain changes to their user experience then you will concentrate on serving their needs first because they are your most important clients. If a segment of customers that make few to no purchases suggest changes then you can decide whether the implementation of those changes will be worth the potential revenue increase.
Orchestration is the process of letting your customers know what to expect when dealing with you. You’ll use it to manage the customers’ expectations about what they will get out of the product or service, let them understand what their responsibilities are, and make it easier for them to come back for future interactions, and suggest your product to new people. These simple management tools can reduce the customers’ anxiety and help them build their trust in your brand.
You can start your orchestration by giving your clients a list of things that they have to do. You then make it clear to them that if everybody plays their part, there is every reason for the interaction to be a successful one. Once they have what they came for, you can make it attractive for them to come back by offering a loyalty or referral program.
Intervention refers to the actions that the company takes to fix what’s wrong with its customers’ experiences. Good solutions will usually involve a mixture of human and technological resources and the right mix of the two will depend on the problem being addressed. If they work well, the company can move on to the next target.
Intervention can be based on:
- Time, which means that emails about the Customer Success practices can be sent out every few weeks or months,
- Data, which means acting on the data collected about how clients are interacting with the product or service,
- Triggers, which are external stimuli that you react to such as the loss of a quality employee.
When it comes to measurement, the two things that the management wants to know are:
– Are the customers doing alright?
– Are we doing alright?
You’ll want to use financial metrics such as Net Revenue Retention to measure Customer Success. You’ll also want to look at how that financial metric correlates to your company’s Success Vector which is a key performance indicator based on whether your company is headed in the right direction. If your Net Revenue Retention is soaring but your Success Vector is low, it probably means that you implemented practices which are improving your financial performance indicators but negatively affecting customer experience.
Renewing contracts, increasing the order size and referring friends are a part of Customer Success. Many inexperienced business owners believe that these things happen because the customer was successful rather than seeing them as a part of Customer Success. For customers to succeed, they will need to enjoy the benefits of the referral program or their renewal as well. This means that Account Managers that handle up-sells and referrals should be included under Customer Success Management.
Seeing expansion in this manner will set your company apart from those that use traditional account management. With the old system, the companies handled renewals and expansions while only concentrating on how it affected the business. They paid little attention to whether the customers’ expansion was successful. They only cared that the purchases were made.
Communicating with your customers is an important way of ensuring that they get what they want. Your communications could be as simple as publishing regular reviews or guiding them on how to take the next step. It could even be taking proactive action to let the customers know what actions should be taken for them to reach their Success Milestones.
Marketing also counts as a type of communication. Companies often use it to increase their sales and let customers about a hot new product which will help them reach their milestones.
Instrumentation is the process of collecting data about your users’ experiences throughout their lifetime with you. This is a lot of data to sift through therefore a company would be wise to invest in the right software packages to help them collate and analyze it. The company can use tools such as Excel or a custom-built Customer Success Management package.
All of the previous steps are finally brought together in the operationalization. This is the part where you take all the concepts and ideas listed in the other segments and take the action required to make your Customer Success Management Plan a reality. The company must have a clear definition of what the appropriate user experience is for this stage to be a success.
Customer Success is much more than just a buzzword. Tomorrow’s most successful businesses will be the ones who realize the importance of Customer Success from the very beginning.
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