The Essential SaaS Customer Success Guide To Help You Be The Best.

The playbook to support companies in helping their customers better.

Table of  Contents

  1. What is Customer Success?

  2. Why is Customer Success important in Companies and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)?

  3. What is the difference between Customer Success vs Account Management?

  4. Who are Customer Success Managers and how do I hire them?

  5. How do I manage Customer Churn?

Chapter 1

What is Customer Success?

Customer Success is the organisation in a company that manages the relationship between the client and the vendor with a customer-centric methodology. Customer Success or Client Success has its roots in software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud computing. This organisation focuses on driving desired outcomes for its customers using a product or service and works hard to prevent customer churn in companies.

Where does Customer Success belong in businesses?

Many thought leaders in SaaS such as Nick Mehta and Jason Lemkin do not see this organisation as a SaaS-only function. However, it is definitely more pronounced in SaaS companies due to the subscription-based business model. Customer Success is the main engine of recurring revenue for all companies who adopt its methodology.

What are some fundamentals of Customer Success?

The core elements include Account Management, Technical Enablement, and Knowledge Enablement. These three pillars are of equal importance within customer success. It is ideal to achieve a balance between all the core elements which will usually lead to desired outcomes.

(Customer Success) is fulfilling and delivering ultimate customer value and managing to retain the customers for as long as possible. Which in turn transforms Customer Success into the primary revenue generator for the company.

Lance Chua

Customer Success Manager

Horangi

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Chapter 2

Why is Customer Success important in Companies and Software-as-a-Service?

Many businesses globally believe that attaining high levels of customer satisfaction actually drives more revenue and more business opportunities. The reverse holds true in this scenario, where more than 80% of customers eventually stop buying because they think that the business no longer cares about them or are dissatisfied with the service provided.

There is a new Customer Journey and Sales Cycle.

The advent of software subscription led to the dawn of a new business methodology backed by data, and that is Customer Success. With the subscription model, it quickly became clear to business owners that the traditional sales funnel is now a sales flywheel instead. This meant that there was an immediate need for the business to become exceptionally focused on nurturing long-term relationships between the vendor and the client.

Customer Success drives recurring revenue.

Acquiring customers is up to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. This is usually attributed to the fact that your existing users are aware of the value your product builds, compared to cold leads who need time and effort to figure out what your value proposition is. With a good customer renewal & retention strategy, your customer success team can bring you an increase in profits from 25% to 95%.

Customer Success reduces customer churn.

Churn happens when a customer discontinues their subscription of a product or service. There is a lot of data that correlates customer satisfaction with their likelihood to renew a contract or subscription. Being a customer-centric business will eventually benefit businesses in reducing churn and increasing contract renewals.

It is the job of Customer Success to define what 'success' means to the customer and aligning our product/services accordingly in order to help them achieve said success.

Amelia Hayson

Senior Customer Success Manager

Instructure

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Chapter 3

What is the difference between Customer Success vs Account Management?

Customer Success is a business methodology that is poised to be proactive, customer-centric, and empathising with the customer’s challenges. This is a stark difference with Account Management, which usually deals with a customer only when a need arises. These needs could vary in frequency and severity, which poses a risk towards structured and consistent communication between the account manager and the client.

Customer Success transcends what’s solely related to the management of accounts. It's an organisational culture responsible for making sure customers achieve their desired outcome throughout each stage of their lifecycle.

Daniel Ferro

Customer Success Manager

Properly Inc

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What is the difference between Customer Management

now and before?

It is an immutable fact at this day and age that the consumer is much more empowered with technology and data to base their decisions on. For example, the availability of numerous online review platforms and social media has increased the dependency of purchasing decisions on social proof.

 

Therefore, great customer management is now identified as the crux to unleashing the power of these platforms, to get prospective customers to purchase, and also existing customers to buy more.

 

A happy customer would also have a high chance of referring your product or service to a friend. This is referred to commonly as second order revenue or customer advocacy.

How do I hire Customer Success Managers and build a

Customer Success Strategy?

The Customer Success Manager role started about one to two decades ago as the software industry began to transform. You may or may not know this, but Salesforce’s Maria Martinez popularised Customer Success. Since then, customer success manager jobs have accelerated in demand worldwide with many technology giants such as Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Box participating in this revolution.

 

The quintessential elements in hiring Customer Success Managers is the willingness to hire talent regardless of experience, and also the ability to command high enough compensation plans for employees.

What are some key traits of a good Customer Success Manager?

The key traits of a Customer Success Manager lie in proactivity, customer-centricity, and empathy. These three fundamentals are often recurrent amongst the best in Customer Success. These traits are often included in the customer success manager job descriptions of many companies.

TRAITS OF A GOOD CSM

How do I build a Customer Success Strategy?

Organisational alignment on customer-centricity is the beginning to your Customer Success Strategy; being able to get every individual in your business working towards the same customer-centric goals will eventually help in the integration of this methodology and organisation within your company.

Chapter 4

How do I manage Customer/Revenue Churn with Customer Success Tools?

Customer/Revenue churn management is one of the core requirements to becoming a stellar Customer Success Manager. These usually requires more software tooling to help the CSM build a personalised relationship with their pool of customers, whilst automating most of the mundane processes.

 

Tools can be effectively used to build templates for recurring documentation and eliminate the need for CSMs to execute mundane tasks. This helps to free up time to focus more on managing relationships with the customer, and time to improve on existing processes.

Where can I find Customer Success tools and resources?

There are many customer success tools and resources available online and offline. I will strongly recommend choosing from a variety of media such as software, books, and podcasts.

 

My favourite resource, however, is tapping into the expertise of my peers in customer success. Every time I attend a customer success community meet-up and speak with another customer success manager, I gain infinitely more knowledge and wisdom that is applicable to my own role in the business.

Managing Customer Churn with software and resources.

How much you need to depend on customer success tools really depends on the status of your churn rates. Managing churn is almost always about managing customer expectations and helping clients succeed in achieving their desired outcomes.

 

If your business’ churn is in an unhealthy state, it will be easy to see drastic improvements once you empower yourselves with the adequate resources to manage customer churn. Conversely, if your business is already doing a fantastic job at managing churn, these tools and resources will still serve as valuable information to bring your customer success team’s maturity to the next level.

We've implemented comprehensive feedback mechanisms and analytics platforms that track usage which automates prompts for training or live chat with support.

Churn is a reality, understanding the core reasons behind why your customers are churning is key to reducing it.

Jonathan Tobin

Chief Customer Officer

Vision6

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Conclusion

Is Customer Success suitable for my business?

The answer is a resounding yes. The methodology of Customer Success applies to every business that wants to achieve long-term client success and revenue growth.

 

This is usually a subject of contention due to the nature of Customer Success being prevalent in B2B Software companies. I could not agree more with the data that it is indeed a better fit in this industry niche. Customer Success needs to be driven by many customer data points and this usually requires a unique infrastructure that is heavily technology-based.

 

However, Customer Success as a methodology can become a practice within your business through some very basic principles.

  • Be proactive about customer engagement

  • Empathise with the customer

  • Most importantly, be customer-centric

 

These are basic principles that will help your business grow further than you can imagine, as word of mouth spreads like wildfire.

 

Interested to know more about Customer Success?

Write to me at hello@csmdaily.com

I believe that Customer Success is a methodology that is going to spread like wildfire, and nothing will be able to quench the passion behind this methodology.

Customer Success Geek

Founder

CSM Daily

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The Customer Success Playbook to Help Customers Better