Etter + Ramli: Ensuring Customer Success

Customer success is more than just a rebranding of quality customer support, as it involves a fresh mindset to establish a relationship with your customers. The aim of a focused customer strategy is to deliver maximum value to your customers while supporting them on their journey, which leads to fulfilling their goals.

Walker suggests that customer experience is going to be the key differentiator over price and product in 2020. Moreover, Oracle has already stated that 86% of customers are ready to pay for an error-free customer service. This shows the significant importance of implementing a robust customer success strategy.

All these may sound ideal but there are some key tactics which help ensure quality customer success. In order to attain absolute customer success, you need to have a clear strategy along with effective measures to make an impact on the customer journey. Customer success tactics help you to improve your customer support in a way that maximizes customer retention.

Customer Success is the key to reducing churn, improving retention, and driving revenue among all businesses. But to truly capitalize on the benefits of a Customer Success model, companies need to incorporate a technological solution into their organizations.

 

Why Should I Care About Customer Success?

Gone are the days of the uninformed customer and the shelf ware product. Vendors can no longer build massive, hardware-demanding software and then lock customers in with long-term contracts and massive upfront investments. Instead, recurring revenue models require few upfront costs and minimal contracts.

What’s this mean for you? Just as your customers’ barrier to trying your product has dropped (e.g., through free trials, online signups, and monthly pricing), their barrier to exit has dropped as well. Their commitment to you is only for as long as you are delivering value. Even if they are in a multi-year agreement with you, they will not buy from you or recommend your product again—unless they are seeing value.

Furthermore, your customers are more tech-savvy and well-informed than ever before. They understand that a software, application, or piece of technology is only as good as its implementation and adoption. Therefore, they expect you—their vendor—to care not only about their use of your product or service, but also about their success in general.

Today, customers hold the cards—not vendors.

Because of these trends, technology companies and traditional vendors alike are establishing Customer Success teams and programs. The concept of Customer Success is simple: make your customers successful, and your business’s success will follow suit. More specifically, Customer Success:

1. Reduces churn and increases upsells. By focusing on your customers’ success and using data to understand them, your business will:

      • Find problematic customers early and “save them” before they need saving.
      • Identify opportunities for upsells and cross-sells.

2. Increases lifetime and shareholder values. Customer Success isn’t only about mitigating risk and stopping problems before they start. It also drives revenue. In a recent study cited by David Skok of Matrix Partners, companies with a 2% reduction in churn or a 2% increase in upsells saw a 20-28% increase in shareholder multiple.

3. Aligns companies around their customers. From a strategic standpoint, Customer Success rallies a company’s various functional teams around customers and their needs. Done correctly, Customer Success becomes the eyes and ears of the company.

 

Why Does My Business Need a Customer Success Solution?

Just as marketing teams use marketing automation software (like Marketo) and sales teams have customer relationship management (CRM) systems (like NetSuite, SalesForce), Customer Success teams need systems to assess, analyze, and automate their Customer Success operations. Such systems do three core things:

1. Assess the health of an individual customer based on a variety of factors, including:

      • Product usage and adoption
      • Community interactions
      • Support activity
      • Bill payments
      • Survey feedback
      • Marketing interactions

2. Analyze all the collected data to present customer trends and patterns at both micro and macro levels. For example, the system can help you understand the signs of future churn and the hallmarks of successful customers.

3. Maximize the probability of renewals, upsells, and user success by determining and recommending the right action to take at the right time for the right customer.

 

Customer Success—not the technology—is the competitive advantage.

As this Forbes article explains, “Perhaps your business is a retail furniture store. In this case, building amazing technology would unlikely be a factor that sets you apart from your competition, nor would it likely be something that would help you provide a higher quality service or product at a lower cost and make consumers want to choose your store over others.” To put it simply, your company’s Customer Success strategy can be a key difference-maker, but developing the technology yourself won’t be. Furthermore, if you go with a true Customer Success solution—one that’s a genuine business partner—you can trust that its technology will provide everything your team needs to set their level of service apart from your competitors.

 

How to develop an efficient customer success strategy

Developing an effective customer success strategy involves the segmentation of customers according to their needs and goals. It’s important to understand what your customers want from you so you can better serve them.

This is helpful when it comes to creating a personalized customer support experience for every individual.

All this collective information helps you to prepare specific targets and elements, such as people, technology, content, etc., which leads to a successful outcome.

Note, all tools, skills, and tactics may differ from client to client and require an in-depth understanding.

Key tactics to ensure customer success

For a better understanding of what an ideal customer success strategy looks like, you need to have deep knowledge of the essential aspects of customer success.

Let me throw some light on these tactics.

1. Developing a personal rapport

Maintaining a quality personal relationship with your customer plays a key role in getting positive feedback, which ultimately proves useful for implementing an error-free environment for your product or service.

But you need to develop a personal rapport with your customers first in order to get this done. Having a mutually-beneficial partnership with your customers generates a positive brand reputation.

2. Expectations management

It is a rule of thumb in every industry to meet the expectations of the customer. But sometimes it is misinterpreted with over-delivery. It is important for you to have a balanced approach when it comes to managing customer expectations.

Design an efficient policy to generate a mutual understanding between your business and the customer. Organizing customer expectations without going overboard is what you are looking for to produce unimaginable customer success growth.

3. Map the customer journey

You need trustworthy information in order to meet the exact KPIs for customer success. Mapping your customer journey–including the benefits and drawbacks customers face on each step–help you get that relevant information.

4. Observe KPIs for customer success

Customer success metrics, along with customer satisfaction indicators tell a lot about customer health. Maintaining detailed insight prevents damage and allows you to make proactive changes.

Having a great customer support presence often ensures your customer churn rate stays low. Insights help you understand the reasons why the customer has churned.

Monitoring KPIs also plays a key role in making SWOT analysis for your product to sell it in an effective way.

You need to be real, genuine, and supportive towards your customers to make them feel happy. Although it may sound easy, it takes a substantial effort to make it happen.

Conclusion

Customer success is all about establishing a better and stronger relationship with your customers and making them feel special and guided at every step. At the end of the day, it is all about maximizing their investment in a product or service, and achieving client-side delivery all throughout the cycle.

Make and implement a robust strategy in order to attain a good customer success growth for your brand to build a strong bond of trust with the customers.