Customer Success Management: How often do you wonder why your customers choose the competition or give up your services? Hint: they don’t leave because of the high cost; they leave because your service has not provided value or they are not aware of it. If your client fails, your business won’t. Easy? Logic? So how do you change it?
A new, customer-oriented field has emerged – Customer Success Management, which aims to build value for the customer and, in the long term, leads to increased sales revenues. Customer Success Management can be considered a modern philosophy of building and developing a business.
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This is defined as a proactive relationship with a business customer that uses technology and contextual information (e.g., obtained through telephone calls) to provide insight into the “health” of a customer’s account to ensure continued time-increasing value of the product during the license term, e.g., when it operates based on the SaaS model (“Software as a Service”).
It isn’t easy to pinpoint one perfect definition of success because what is meant by this concept is an individual matter. The customer should benefit from the service; otherwise, our business relationship will be weak. Broadly understood satisfaction does not guarantee to keep the client with you. On the other hand, if his satisfaction goes hand in hand with profitability and productivity, the chances increase.
Your client has less and less time to learn.
Managing the customer’s success focuses primarily on engaging him in the use of the product (“product adoption”), moving him from an ordinary user to a partner’s level.
SurveyMonkey’s survey results, the largest provider of online surveys, indicated above, show that 27% of people have trouble finding time to learn about new tools or processes. Another reason is the lack of training and awareness of using new working methods.
Interestingly, 61% of respondents declared that they were open to learning something new if the result improved the quality of their work. Still, only 31% admitted that they are actively looking for such solutions.
If people are not aware of such solutions’ benefits, they will not change the way they work. The role of the Customer Success Manager is to reduce this gap.
The numbers don’t lie.
In order to understand what return on investment this approach can bring, let’s note a few numbers:
- Good customer service influences whether customers buy or not. McKinsey’s research found that 70% of decisions are made based on how the customer feels treated by the company.
- Good customer service reduces the risk of ending a relationship. 81% of customers are willing to renew their service license after experiencing satisfactory customer service. On the other hand, 95% of customers took action (e.g., abandoned or complained about the business) because of a negative customer service experience.
- Good customer service translates directly into an increase in revenues. A 2011 American Express survey found that 70% of Americans are willing to spend an average of 13% more money with a company providing excellent customer service.
- Good customer service should help you attract new customers. The same American Express survey also found that a satisfied customer tells an average of nine other people about their positive experiences with the company.
We also found out about this at UsabilityTools. The introduction of the position responsible for maintaining customer relations increased renewed licenses.
Find out what really influences consumers’ purchasing decisions.
There are many areas in which the role of the Customer Success Manager is important. Below are the most important of them.
After a sale is made, the first step is to engage the customer to start using the product. This process is commonly called “onboarding” and includes setup, installation, and project launch. The goal is to make sure that the customer knows how to use the product and efficiently transfers from the old system (if he used one before).
This type of support is often reactive – the client, who wants to use the service, looks for an answer. Mostly in Wikipedia, tutorials, webinars. The role of CSM is to transform the relationship into a proactive, oriented towards known customer milestones. Instead of waiting for the user to get lost and start wondering what to do next – or how to do it – you need to build a proactive approach to your actions. The role of the CSM here is to look for patterns of behavior that may indicate that the customer has a problem in using the product and that may negatively affect the received value.
It happens that a customer comes across a problem that we are not able to predict. The role of the helpdesk is to respond to the issue reported by the customer, providing appropriate guidance to ensure that the customer receives value from the product again. The support team should investigate each incoming request to see if there is a way to proactively monitor these kinds of issues in the future so that the problem can be resolved before it recurs.
We learn more about his needs during each conversation with the customer, some of which are revealed only after making a purchase. This information cannot be overestimated, and the figures presented indicate repeating patterns, giving clear indications in which direction the product should develop. Thanks to this, we can return to these customers after a short time and offer them functionality that solves their problem under a higher license. This approach prevents building functionalities that customers do not want or need and thus reduce sunk costs in time and money.
Assuming that the customer receives value from the service, the renewal process should go smoothly. In the event of a change in terms of cooperation (“upsell”), the negotiations may take longer. It is essential here that the customer does not see the Customer Success Manager as the next person trying to get more money from him. Renewing the license should be done as a result of the assistance that the customer will receive from CSM.
How to create great and lasting customer relationships? »
What characterizes a good customer consultant
When we look closely at companies such as Buffer, KISSmetrics, or UXPin, we will see that their dynamic development was not the result of a coincidence. What do these businesses have in common? These and many others share an attitude towards building relationships with the client so that each interaction with the company brings the client closer to success.
If we run a business operating in the B2B segment, remember that there is enormous competition in this market, and the customer is constantly looking for something better. Using the low price argument when building a business relationship is of secondary importance and is risky. Competition may always offer a similar service at a lower price. The long-term value of a satisfied customer is much higher than one who only gets what they pay for.
CSM owns the customer relationship, ensuring the customer is using the service effectively and is satisfied. Customer Success Management is a new and emerging field. In each company, the processes related to implementing the customer-oriented approach look different. Be sure that this is a profitable effort, as evidenced by the dynamically growing number of CSM positions.
If, when creating new customer service standards, we start to think in terms of the values to be implemented, we can expect many satisfied and loyal customers. High-quality customer service is an integral part of the company’s proper functioning. Someone said that “there is only one place where success comes before effort – that’s the dictionary.” With this sentence in mind, I wish all readers of Harvard Business Review Polska creativity and efficiency in implementing activities aimed at improving customer service standards in the company.
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