What is a Customer Success strategy? A Customer Success strategy is implemented by a Customer Success team to ensure your customers have what they need to achieve their goals through every step of the buyer's journey.
An important part of the strategy is being customer-centric, which means understanding the world from your customers perspective and creating the best possible experiences to build brand loyalty.
A customer-centric business makes the client the center of its ideas, philosophy or operations. The main reason these companies exist is for their customers, and they do everything they can to keep them happy.
Customer satisfaction is part of customer experience, which is how your clients perceive their interactions with you and how happy they are with your product.
The goal of customer success, the business practice of making certain that your customers achieve the outcomes they want while they're using your product, is to ensure they're as successful as possible.
However, customer satisfaction is not the same as customer success because even if your clients are happy with your product, they might not be truly successful using it.
One of the main drivers in the rise of customer success is the increase of subscription-based and software-as-a-service (SaaS) business models over large one-time deals. SaaS companies need to ensure users are successful with their products to justify their monthly renewal fees, otherwise those customers will cancel, or churn.
However, customer success is important to every organization, not only SaaS companies, as it positively affects the business since happy and successful users are loyal and repeat customers and they'll likely refer your company to others.
Done effectively, it can decrease churn, foster add-on sales, and increase revenue—all important business goals.
Because implementing your Customer Success strategy is actually pretty hard, there are new customer success platforms, such as Planhat, that are designed to help businesses increase customer-centricity by bringing together all the data you have on your customer, and then leveraging that data in real-time to facilitate customer success.
After you acquire new customers , you should focus on these four areas (or pillars) to increase their chances of success and increase lifetime value to your business: adoption, retention, expansion, and advocacy.
To ensure customer success for new clients, you must work with them on these areas:
Implementation, working with new customers to determine their needs and goals for using your product
User onboarding, enabling your customers to start using your product quickly and easily
Training, ensuring users are properly trained on how to use your product
After helping customers adopt your product, you must ensure they stay with you. These ongoing strategies will reduce churn.
Ensure your product does what your users need it to do
Make certain your product remains a good value
Develop Customer Success metrics and track your customers against them
Build ongoing customer relationships by collaborating with your customers
Ensure your team provides timely support and assistance
Always listen to your customers
If you want your customers to increase their spend with you, ensure that they're happy and design your offering in a way that they can increase their use over time.
Create product offerings that scale with your customer from basic to advanced
Offer new product modules with new capabilities
Expand usage to new departments, locations, and subsidiaries
Add consulting services to your recurring service contract
When companies make buying decisions, they often ask for recommendations from people they know at other organizations. Consequently, turning your customers into advocates helps improve sales.
Here are some ways you can turn happy customers into advocates.:
Use your Customer Success metrics to identify potential advocates
Ask your happiest customers for referrals and reviews
Asking them to participate in case studies or offer testimonials that you post on your website
Do your customers a favor for free that impacts their business and their careers
Help your customers share their expertise and look good in front of their colleagues
That’s all well and good, but what should you actually do? Here are some specific customer success strategies for each pillar, and some ideas on how to attract customers that have the best chance of success in the first place.
Your business can't succeed without customers. But, it will succeed even more if you attract customers that have the best chances of success.Here are some tips.
Involve customers in product design
Create customer personas for the ideal customer
Understand what makes you stand out to your perfect customer
Target marketing to your ideal customer profile
Make sure your differentiators come through in your message
It’s not enough to just attract customers that are most likely to succeed, you must also sell to them effectively. Here are some sales strategies to implement to ensure your customers feel successful from the minute you speak to them.
Arm you sales team with relevant content
Make sure the content resonates with your ideal customer
Offer a free trial to let them kick the tires
Provide highly personalized demos
Become a respected thought leader
Giving your customers a positive onboarding experience lets them know that they made the right decision to buy your product and will likely turn them into repeat customers.
Your customer onboarding strategy should include:
Product setup tutorials
FAQs and knowledgebase
Tips to guide users to the important features
Playbooks for Customer Success managers
Metrics to track customer progress
Automation, automation, automation
Retaining customers is essential to the success of any business as your long-term customers are likely more satisfied, more likely to refer your business to other companies and more likely to buy additional products from you.
Here are some strategies to help you retain customers:
Understand your churn metrics in detail
Develop health scores to identify problem accounts
Create playbooks to address common problems
Conduct regular surveys and NPS tracking
Develop programs that encourage deeper product use
Reward customers for staying loyal to you
You can do everything right for customer success, and yet some of your customers will still fail. No company has 100% retention. There are many reasons why customers don’t succeed, some of them you can control, and some of them you can’t.
Use every customer failure as a learning opportunity:
Create statistical models to profile customers that churn
Develop health scores to identify problem accounts
Identify common root causes for customer failure, and fix them
Direct your marketing and sales away from failing segments
Don’t sweat the things you can’t control
Here are some best practices you can put into action to take your strategy to the next level:
Establish a clear customer onboarding process
Understand how your customers view success
Personalize the customer experience
Prioritize customer training
Proactively contact customers
Deploy a customer feedback loop
Set realistic expectations
Monitor your customers' activities to measure their health scores
Identify and leverage upselling opportunities
The Planhat Customer Success platform can help you operationalize pretty much everything above. Planhat collects and consolidates all the data about your customers into one source of truth. Then, it lets you apply flexible queries, logic, and analytics to zero in on the right customers at the right time. And, finally apply playbooks, collaborations, and automations in real-time to catch your customers before they fall, ensuring every customer has the best possible chance at success. Planhat was designed by customer success experts with the singular goal of helping you become a customer-centric business.
Customer success is a company-wide effort and as such Planhat has included unlimited users in all its plans, unlike other vendors. To find out more:
You can learn more about Planhat here
Read our Report: What's next for Customer Success?
Watch our webinar: How to identify and prevent churn
Listen to our podcast: Remote Customer Onboarding
Or get a Planhat Demo!
To build a successful SaaS business you need to understand the difference - and unique possibilities - between customer success and customer support.
Join our webinar with Marie-Ève Chartrand and Gurprem Sagoo to learn how to review the current year, set up new objectives, and then plan your 2022.
Simply implementing SaaS customer success is valuable, however, it becomes even more important to create customer success strategies for your company.
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