As switching SaaS providers continues to get easier, the goal of reducing churn and improving retention can be a challenge. To help, the primary goal of Customer Success (CS) is to ensure subscription customers achieve their desired outcomes while having an exceptional experience doing so. These five essential elements can help you become more successful at reducing churn, increasing retention, and improving Customer Success.
1. Establish Customer Success as a Shared Mindset—Not a Department
When your entire organization is aligned with a customer-first strategy, then taking care of customers means more than designing personalized experiences in a quest for higher CSAT scores. It includes creating great experiences for all customers, focusing on what they have to say, flowing their feedback into your product design and support, and proactively helping them achieve their desired outcomes using your product or service.
Customer Success starts in pre-sales, carries on through post-sales, and leaves your customers clearly knowing that you listen to their needs, are committed to maintaining a healthy and helpful relationship with them, and are systematically working to proactively understand and support all their desired business outcomes.
2. Apply Customer Segmentation & Journey Mapping to Create Exceptional Experiences
Every customer has touch points with your organization. Journey mapping is the first step to gaining clarity on how and where both potential and existing customers interact with your business. Discover what’s working for whom—from an “outside-in” perspective. Using customer segmentation, you’ll understand in detail that not every customer is created equal, and each customer group has differing needs.
When expected customer touch points for each group are defined, you’ll be able to plan and prioritize actions to ensure experiences are positive.
Playbooks will help you define what expectations to set, which knowledge assets to share, exactly what data to collect, and which internal groups to involve at each touch point.
Through this key process, you’ll discover how to effectively and appropriately craft customer experiences for specific stages of each group’s lifecycle.
It is also critical that your organization has complete clarity on inter-departmental touchpoints, so that you can provide exceptional experiences across the entire customer journey. Hand-offs must happen seamlessly from one department to another, without the customer ever noticing any disruptions.
3. Transform Data into Knowledge to Create Change Through Informed Insight
Businesses need insight into customers’ behaviors before they can intelligently demonstrate ongoing value and sustain subscriptions at scale. The first step to insight is to collect data, the building blocks to knowledge. Ensure you’re collecting the correct data and that your systems are configured to capture data that’s available, relevant, and usable, not locked away in a siloed system. What sort of data is required? The more you know about how your product or service is being used, the better. How quickly are customers achieving their business outcomes? Do they fully use their subscriptions? What feature do they use? And which features have quicker adoption times?
When you analyze this information through a strong and intelligent analytical platform, teams across your company will have the knowledge and capabilities to:
Find insights, make predictions, and offer meaningful customer recommendations
Prioritize product development and introduce features that will directly impact your customers’ business objectives
Proactively create and recommend the appropriate content for ongoing customer education and increased product adoption
Optimize your pricing strategy to stay ahead of the competition
4. Drive Product Adoption & Brand Loyalty with Proactive Post-Sales Communications
It’s difficult to discover hidden features you don’t know exist. Which is why it’s imperative that companies are the first to act in educating subscribers. By proactively promoting the features your customers need to meet their unique business objectives, you help them to utilize products more effectively, and they will rely on your services as key to their success.
Automation and analytics can help you ensure your customers receive the most relevant content that is branded, personalized, and snackable.
Beyond automated communications, Monthly/Quarterly Business Reviews, Escalation Management, and Renewal Management communications can be strategically deployed to maximize customer confidence.
5. Employ and Value Dedicated, Smart Customer Success Advocates
Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are the most important members of your CS Team who help forge trusted, long-term relationships. The best CSMs have a clear understanding of the business, possess technical acumen, and are experienced relationship builders with powerful soft skills like empathy. Because of this cross-sectional skillset, CSMs are relatively rare in the marketplace, making CSM deployment and retention critical to a successful CS strategy.
Depending upon your monetization strategy, it is important to have the right CSM-to-Customer Ratio to maximize customer value. It is also critical for CSMs to drive inter-departmental coordination. Customer Success Managers need to be deployed in the right geographies, with the appropriate job and skills mapping. You must have the right compensation structure and career growth plans in place for retention; and will need the right tools and systems in place to automate mundane tasks and free up your CSM team’s time for more strategic activities.
With a strong strategy, platform, and team, you can improve adoption, reduce churn, increase retention, and demonstrate ongoing value to your customers. The right partner can help you find success quickly. Talk to us about building your path to sustained subscriptions, improved experiences, and incremental revenue through stronger customer relationships.