“Customer Success is just another buzzword, but does it really matter?”
Buzzwords come and go. However,a quick peek into their journey helps assess which are likely to stay. Consider this global comparison of various Customer-related terms, in the past 1.5 decades (source: Google Trends). This is a simple analysis of using Google Trend’s ‘Interest over time’ feature.
The search-terms ‘Customer Satisfaction’and ‘Customer Delight’ rapidly declined in the past 15 years. In other words –as concepts, these two terms have indeed faded.
Instead, ‘Customer Success’ and ‘Customer Service’ show an almost contrary pattern. Fair to conclude that these two terms have steadily generated interest, possibly even become synonymous with customer best practices.
“Alright, so Customer Success is a new best practice. Care to explain what it is?”
Customer Success is not just another department/ function in an organization. It is a company-wide commitment to achieve success, marshal teams together and work towards adding more value to customers. It cannot lie buried in mission statements, as merely ‘Customer Satisfaction’.
Instead, it must manifest in real, everyday actions across business functions; actions that aim to deliver customer delight… be it Sales, Product Development, Research & Innovation,Human Resources or Finance.
In today’s Everything-as-a-Service world, Customer Success is a Top 5 business metric. Not only is it a barometer of current business health; but also a predictor of future revenue. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Customer Success goals serve as KPIs to evaluate customer health, employee performance and revenue predictions. Here’s a quick metrics guide:
· Portfolio growth (expansions+ upgrades + renewals – downgrades – contractions – churn)
· MRR retention rate
· SRR subscriber retention rate
· Increased app trials
· Lower number of support tickets
· Faster on-boarding
· Lower uninstalls
“Okay, I get what Customer Success is and why it matters.But where do I start?”
With increasing penetration of digital data-capture methods, it has become really easy to kick off a Customer Success effort.
Customer Success relies on efficient collection and use of customer data; to enable teams to:
1. Discover current customer needs
2. Critically analyse current/ past customer experiences
3. Put these two together, to anticipate customer needs
The best of Customer Success companies often begin with something as basic as listening to customer expectations. “How can we serve you better?” is the simplest, proactive means of listening to customer pain-points.
“How do I know my Customer Success solutions are working?”
Answering 4 simple questions will tell you whether all the money, time and energy you put into practicing Customer Success, is working for you:
Is each function completely aware of your Customer Success goals?
Are all events that define Customer Success, championed by individual functions?
Are these individuals empowered to prioritize Customer Success over all else?
Are Customer Success Managers trained to identify gaps in Customer relationships?
Many companies split the customer journey across a variety of systems and departments, which makes them appear disconnected to the customer. Also, it makes life difficult for those serving the customer. The information that Customer Success Managers require to assess a customer’s situation is spread across too many functions, which they often cannot access.
Successful customer success companies make it easier for their Customer Success Managers to track customer expectation vs experience gap. Basis product/ service usage patterns, customers may be:
· Low frequency hence indifferent
· Low frequency yet highly satisfied
· High frequency but low NPS.
Monitoring customer pain-points accordingly is a key step to achieving Customer Success.
Defining and achieving metrics that track ‘healthy’ customers, is the key to customer success; so as to attract new customers & retain existing ones. It gives businesses an overview of customer behavior and also, spells out scope for transformation; to better cater to customer needs.