Have you ever wondered how successful Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies like Gainsight, Salesforce, or Hubspot, drive exceptional customer success? Or how you, as a Customer Success Manager (CSM), have struggled in helping your customers achieve their desired outcomes, and in turn deliver incredible customer success?
Customer Success is a vital role in the technological explosion of SaaS organisations — and the revolution is just beginning. If you have been trying to figure out how to retain your customers forever, here are a few tips on delivering stellar Customer Success.
5 Tips to Delivering Incredible Customer Success
1. Effective Communication with Your Customers
Today’s customers are seeking for a seamless and pseudo-instant resolution from You, their trusted advisor.
For your customer interaction to be effective, it first has to be efficient. With the advent of new technological devices and wearables, efficacy will be the least of your worries if you implement an omni-channel strategy. This includes creating customer interaction platforms that will facilitate phone calls, video calls, web chat, form submissions, emails, and snail mail!
An array of communication platforms increases the accessibility of customer interaction, which in turn accelerates the communication process. Try an omni-channel communication solution, such as Zendesk or Intercom, that provides Freemium subscriptions or free trials before you purchase.
Effective customer interaction is the cornerstone to any successful SaaS organization.
After establishing your efficient omni-channel communication platform, engineer regular interaction sessions with the customer community. This could be done through Monthly or Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs), Monthly Feedback Emails, Monthly Newsletters, or Community Engagement Sessions.
QBRs and Monthly Feedback Emails help you to listen regularly to your customers, allowing you to manage customer expectations on product development, and craft a product that consumers truly love.
A good example of effective Community Engagement is the Amazon Web Services User Groups — their customers interact with each other to answer questions, share ideas, and learn about new products/services and best practices. How cool is that!
2. Build Rapport with Other Business Functions
Cross-functional collaboration is extremely important for a seamless customer experience. One of the more common issues I have faced with SaaS companies is the Sales-CS Client Handover gap. Sometimes, information gets lost in translation during customer onboarding and handover, and the customer does not get certain features in the product that they were promised.
Teamwork: Customer Success is Company Success
Some common CS pain-points:
1. Translating feedback on customer needs to the software engineering team to develop a customer-centric product.
2. Ensuring that the Finance team sends out invoices on time, so that the customer can get that feature upgrade you have been trying to upsell for the past 4 months.
The point here is that Customer Success is in a key position of influence to determine how incredible the customer experience is going to be. It may help to hold cross-functional meetings, and show how minute improvements to business processes can actually help increase customer satisfaction numbers, or even lead a customer to buy more.
When business functions are able to see the real value they bring to the table on a customer-centric experience, they will usually be more motivated to help you deliver incredible customer success.
3. Drive Adoption in your Customer’s Organizations
Onboarding is the first step to creating vibrant product usage within your client’s organization. Keep onboarding sessions time-efficient by recording the sessions, and sending them out as a repeatable use resource for future users who will need it.
You can ensure a high level of engagement during onboarding by asking your audience questions periodically.
Identify key stakeholders within your client’s organizations. These are usually individuals who show interest in your product during onboarding sessions, and/or use your product much more often than others. Focus on these ‘Power Users’, and train them effectively throughout their customer journey to convert them into walking wikis of your platform. Power Users will in turn become advocates that can educate the whole organization on your product in your place.
Effective onboarding is your first step to Customer Success.
4. Create a Relevant Content Strategy
Relevant and quality content is an infinite resource for driving value to your customers.
The process involved will be tedious, but, if done right, you will be worshipped as a subject matter expert in your domain (marketing, sales, AI technology etc.).
The main goal to your content strategy should be to increase customer engagement manifold — some companies like Gainsight, Hubspot, and SaaStr have succeeded astonishingly.
A great example of content strategy success as an organization is SaaStr, who managed to achieve 50,000,000+ views on their various platforms in just 5 years. SaaStr did not achieve overnight fame, but experimented thoroughly and widely on topics, cadence frequency, and different platforms.
5. Let the Numbers do the Talking
Metrics, Data, Numbers.. They are used by everyone, everywhere. I have always believed that customer metrics helped me to align the whole company into building a customer-centric product, and a customer-centric organization. Delivering incredible customer success sometimes means taking a step back and analysing why certain customers are doing certain things. Asking the ‘why’s, ‘what’s, and ‘how’s is where founders of SaaS and Customer Success began almost 10 years ago.
Data representations & infographics are your secret weapons
A recent data analysis session I conducted at my company found that less than 0.1% of my customers used Internet Explorer as a browser to access our SaaS product. We brought this information to the attention of the engineers, and it immediately allowed them to free up their schedule (~320 man-hours!) to develop other features that customers have been requesting for a while.
Numbers and data help individuals from different functions to empathise and understand better — actionable and quality data will help your customers and the company constantly develop better products, solutions, and services.
Delivering world-class Customer Success is not rocket science, but not all SaaS companies know how to do it right. Always use good judgement and build valuable relationships with your customers to manage churn and retain customers forever.
Interested to know more about Customer Success?