The Only Customer Success Best Practices You Need

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Customer Success best practices are critical for your Customer Success strategy, so what are the best ways to create an efficient and customer centric business?

What Are Customer Success Best Practices?

Some key things to consider are:

  • Personalize user experience

  • Track customer metrics

  • Create a Customer Success playbook

  • Develop a customer journey map

  • Keep in mind retention and churn

Personalizing Customer Experience

No one wants to feel like just another number, including your clients. Personalizing your service to match an individual’s needs is an excellent way to build trust, increase retention, and make people feel valued.

Keeping an organized record of your clients, the products they use, and their unique circumstances helps provide a highly personalized experience. Customer Success software offers a centralized place to track these details and allows any service rep to immediately cater to that person’s needs.

But sometimes, a legacy tool can get in the way of the human-to-human interaction, since it's more built on the idea of one-size-fits-all. Therefore, make sure you have a tool that´s easy to adapt to the unique needs of every client with the help of tracking, filters, triggers, and automations.

A modern Customer Success tool should let you leverage automation to give your customers exactly what they want, when, and how they want it. No matter if it's a single customer with a trigger based on a feature request or an entire customer cohort with an email based on health score and renewal date - you want to make each experience unique, all the while handling it in a time-efficient manner and that way being able to create happy clients at scale.

Tracking Key Customer Metrics

It’s hard to know if your Customer Success strategy is working without tracking the right metrics. Metrics such as the number of tickets closed, or average phone call length don’t accurately track your efforts.

Your metrics will vary depending on your industry. For example, in SaaS, the average churn rate hovers around 5%, with a good churn rate being below 3%. Collecting key insights and building internal KPI will help ensure your success team is on track, and make benchmarking your efforts against other organizations easier.

Below are a the most important KPIs you can track to better measure customer success:

  • Churn

  • Upsell, cross-sell and down-sell

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

  • Customer effort

  • Gross revenue retention (GRR)

  • Net revenue retention (NRR)

  • Customer lifetime value

  • Customer health score (CHS)

  • Customer support tickets

For more information regarding these KPIs, read our blogpost on the Top 9 Most Important Customer Success KPIs.

Creating a Customer Success Playbook

Customer Success playbooks create a concise and repeatable process to move your clients through your products as their needs evolve. Playbooks make it easy for CSMs to overcome challenges and choose the right solution for their needs.

Playbooks provide a highly visual centralized space where team members can see what actions work well, and what don’t. This helps guide the evolving strategy, and prevents new team members from improvising as they learn.

Without a playbook, details could be lost that create friction between your brand and the client. Without tracking what works and what doesn’t, brands can find themselves struggling to create predictable outcomes for their clients and their own sales goals. Think of Playbooks as a simple “if-this-then-that-manual" that help your CSM to be proactive.

General advantages of creating Customer Success playbooks:

  • Your CSM division will scale better as your company is growing (playbooks make training, and implementing changes easier)

  • You can add and roll out new playbooks at scale as you’re adding new features/products or encounter new solutions to your clients challenges

  • You don’t need to rely on individual superstars to “figure things out”

  • Your clients experience a standardized high quality process

  • Playbooks help your CSMs to plan, organize and prioritize the most important tasks each day

  • You can pinpoint problems and improve parts of your overall strategy in a systematic way)

  • You can measure, award or follow up with your under-performing CSMs

Customer Success Playbooks have different levels of sophistication and will vary based on each company’s feature-set and pricing.

Some companies start out building very basic plays, and some build advanced playbooks that are data-driven and fully automated.

The 4 most common ways to build playbooks are:

  • Playbooks Triggered by Lifecycle Phase

  • Playbooks Triggered by Events

  • Playbooks Triggered by Schedules

  • Playbooks Triggered by the CSM

Designing a Customer Success Journey Map

Customer success goes beyond simple support and rapport building. A customer journey map guides your clients through each one of your solutions throughout the lifecycle stage and helps them maximize their value through your product or service. There are numerous stages in the customer journey, with each stage aligning with the clients goals, and pairing those goals with your product.

Onboarding

Onboarding is critical, as it’s the first real test in the connection between you and the people that you hopefully will establish a long term relationship with. A refined onboarding process can quickly smooth out any issues early on. Guiding the client through one-time configurations and setup tasks ensures that they don’t get stuck, and can start seeing the value immediately.

Adoption

Customers need to adopt your solution in order to see the value in the product and achieve their goals. If technical problems arise or they simply don't understand the product, they may give up the product entirely. Close communication during the early stages of the customer journey can ensure that they see the value of the product, and are using it effectively to reach their objectives.

Retention

In this stage, the customer will decide whether they want to renew their services or stop using them completely. Typically, if there are pitfalls in the earlier stages this can lead to increased churn. You can increase retention by guiding them through your product, understanding their goals early on, and providing prompt responses and resolutions to their issues.

Expansion

Ideally, as the customer becomes more successful with your product, they will need additional services to support their success. But the expansion stage doesn’t have to feel like a hard upsell. When you’ve helped people achieve their goals and become heroes on their home turf, you can naturally suggest the next best products to help them achieve their future goals.

For more information and inspiration on how to create the best possible journey for your customer, read our blogpost: Customer Success Journey Map: A How-To Guide.

Planning For Retention and Churn

Churn is an inevitable part of business, but planning to reduce it is well worth your time. Customer success plays an integral role in reducing churn by identifying pain points early in the customer journey and working to immediately fix them.

Here are a few best practices that can reduce churn:

  • Provide proactive support and communication

  • Analyze your data to see where churn exists in your organization

  • Make customer success a part of your company culture

  • Define and review your customer journey map

  • Provide personalized support that aligns with your clients needs and goals.

  • Create a collaborative culture, where you work together with your customers and align on their business goals. Also, make sure your software supports a collaborative way of working.

  • Make sure all departments have access to the same data. The information about your clients that are within your software is as relevant to sales and marketing, as it is to your Customer Success team.

How Planhat can help

Planhat connects all the customer data, gets actionable insights, and drives actions to manage renewals, reduce churn and boost expansion.

Planhat also provides a unified view of your customers all in one place, identifies risks and opportunities, creates clear, repeatable processes through the customer lifecycle, and offers multi-channel communication as well as customized inboxes for teams.

With Planhat Portals, it is possible to share success plans, playbooks, dashboards, goals, documents, and align on business goals with your clients in a branded Customer Portal.

Altogether, Planhat is a complete Customers Success platform that lets you track the KPIs that matter the most for the future growth of your business.

To find out more:

Planhat Experts: 3 Visions for the Future of Customer Success

Join our end of year panel as they discuss how they believe Customer Success needs to change in 2022 and beyond.

How Customer Retention Can Drive Your Sales

Customer retention isn't just a pretty metric to throw around but a key measurement on how well your business is doing and how to improve your sales.

How to build effective health scores

Our host Anika Zubair chats with Andrew Marks, Co-Founder of SuccessHACKER, about how to build effective health scores.

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