Gone are the days that businesses compete on price, product or features.
Recently, a new trend has emerged, one that is quickly becoming one of the most important factors in the growth of a SaaS business:
At its core, customer success is the idea of ensuring customers achieve their desired outcomes while using your product or service. It’s transformative and can be and should be applied to any type of business. Whether you own a software company, a subscription business or you sell one-off services, it should be at the top of your list. Customer success should be your driving purpose if you want to build a better and long-lasting relationship with your potential and current clients.
Another noteworthy definition is customer success is a long-term strategy for maximizing customer and company value. With an emphasis on customer success, you can bring stability to your business. That means it shouldn’t be done as a one-time strategy. Rather, it’s a continuous process and is a practice that should be executed constantly. As your company grows it’s something that needs to be woven into your culture.
The concept has its roots in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industry but over the years, many technology companies have recognized the power of customer success and adapted it as their new operating model.
The Importance of Customer Success
Nowadays, it is very easy to own a business but it is very difficult to grow one.
Consumers have a LOT of options whether their planning to buy and the rigid competition has put a lot of pressure on businesses. Back then, companies needed to have an excellent sales and marketing team for it to be fruitful. However, as consumers continue to evolve and seek transparency, marketing alone isn’t enough to sustain growth.
This is where customer success comes in.
Customer success provides proactive outreach aimed at successful outcomes for customers. If done correctly you’ll naturally see an increase in upsells, positive word-of-mouth and more. By working closely with customers, businesses take consumer satisfaction to the next level and by focusing on their success using your product or service, you can retain them longer.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
Customer Success = Better customer experience
SaaS products can be complex to set up and you can configure it in numerous ways. Oftentimes, offering a user guide or live chat isn’t enough. Keep in mind that the basic use of your product won’t be obvious to everyone. Don’t force your customers to work hard in order to get what was promised by your sales and marketing team. Your product or service should be easy to use and should deliver value from day one.
Ideally, a member of your team should guide your customers through the steps of the setup and teach them everything there is to know about your platform. Obviously, as you scale, your costs will increase and it’s hard to have someone ready at a moments notice. The purpose of customer success is for your clients to have someone readily available to help whenever the need arises and cater to their changing needs over time. This goes back to customer success being woven into your companies DNA and culture. Keep in mind, every time they receive the monthly bill for your product, the customer is contemplating whether they really need it.
Having said this, it’s obvious that customer success doesn’t just stop with one interaction. The team should do everything to keep the client from falling out of love with the product.
The result will leave a lasting impression with your customers. As the web continues to grow, it will get to a point where you’re no longer competing on price or features but the experience. By investing and focusing on creating a top-notch experience for your customers you will be left standing. Having a strong customer success strategy can unlock the experience your customers are after.
Customer Success reduces dissatisfied clients
Since the main goal of the customer success team is to give continuous support to the clients, this effectively lessens the chances of dissatisfaction.
As stated before, consumers now have a lot of options. Customers not getting high-quality support will not wait around for you to realize your shortcomings. They will immediately seek out your competitors and purchase from them instead. And if they are smart (which they probably are), they will make certain to keep the customers you lost happy.
A lot of times, customers just want to be heard or they need that last little nudge to get moving. As you notice customers that are dissatisfied try to understand why and help them resolve it. After all, customer success is just that. Your goal is to make them successful and even the most unhappy customers can have their mind changed with just one interaction.
Customer Success is everywhere
Competition is steep in the technology industry.
Businesses who want to stand out have to find ways to not only acquire customers but to keep them for the long term. Most of them know that the only way to achieve this is through customer success.
Everyone is doing it.
If they’re still not, they are contemplating it. Not investing your time or manpower for customer success is detrimental for your business.
Need some ideas on how to get started with customer success?
- Assign or hire someone to be your Customer Success Manager.
- Reach out to 100 of most recent customers and talk to them.
- Understand their goals and what they are trying to accomplish.
- Understand their pain points with your product or service.
- Make sure they understand your product and it’s value.
- Now reach out to the 100 oldest customers and talk to them.
- Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s not an exact science and every company does it differently. The point is, you’re investing in your customer’s success.
Customer Success VS Customer Service
The two concepts are very closely correlated that they are often mistaken to be the same thing. But no, customer success is not the same as customer service.
Customer success is a proactive approach which aims to build relationships with customers, understand in depth the client’s company and goals and help the customer meet those goals through consistent contact. Customer service, on the other hand, has a reactive nature as it focuses on solving the customer’s questions, issues, and requests.
Having both is crucial for your organization and these two functions should work hand-in-hand to deliver the best customer experience to your clients.
“Customer success is about more than delivering service or support. It’s about having real-time visibility into the issues customers are facing and finding smarter ways to manage those issues.” — Lincoln Murphy, Sixteen Ventures
Statistical Data that Prove the Significance of Customer Success
Still not convinced? Need some facts to back up an investment in customer success at your company? No problem. Here are a few quick stats that show just how impactful a customer success program can be for your business.
- Churn rate is the percentage of your customers or subscribers who cancel or don’t renew their subscriptions during a given time period and a high churn rate is every software company’s worst nightmare. However, businesses that have strong customer success programs are able to reduce their churn rates to under 1%.
- A positive experience is what every consumer aspire for whenever they choose a product. That means that from the moment they visit the website to the sales process, all the way through to post-purchase, customers expect to be taken care of. In fact, 86% of buyers will pay more for a product or service if they receive a better customer experience.
- Companies that prioritize customer experience generate 60%higher profits. When a company proactively sustains their customer relationships through continuous support, there is a high likelihood of satisfaction. Satisfied customers lead to cross-selling and upselling opportunities, as well as referral business.
- Customer experience will outweigh the importance of price and product by 2020. It doesn’t matter if you have the best product on the market. What’s important is how you help your customers achieve success.
Customer Success is about Growth
Change is constant.
Customers needs and goals are constantly changing.
Customer success enables your company to be leading the change alongside your customers.
Your goal with your customer success program is to expand your customers by leveraging more features, upgrading to higher packages, buying more add-ons, etc. We’re so used to looking at customers as monthly or annual units. The fact is, as each month passes, your customers are evolving.
As you invest and hit the ground running with your customer success program you’ll be able to build a lasting relationship with your customers. You’ll learn all about their pain points, their goals, their desires, etc. Along the way, you’ll learn how to squeeze more value out of your product for your customers.
In the end, the value you’ve provided will ultimately provide the success your customers are after. Which results in a long-term customers.
And that’s a win-win.