Data is always at the centre of running a successful operation, and that is particularly true when it comes to Customer Success.
Data is objective, measurable, quantifiable and comparable; all of these characteristics are a crucial element in analysing the ‘success’ of any given customer.
Many articles, rightly, focus on the data that informs the best Customer Success practices and subsequently makes for a healthy, profitable business - engagement metrics, onboarding metrics, revenue metrics, happiness metrics - but the human element of Customer Success must not be forgotten.
The best-laid plans of mice and men…
Success mapping is difficult, but becomes noticeably easier as you start to segment your customers based on their account type, organisation size and use case(s). This doesn’t mean to say everything will always go to plan, so it is crucial to make support channels obvious and accessible.
Your customer has bought your product to solve issues, failures and pain experienced with previous processes or products, so the sooner you can get them to that ‘Aha!’ moment, the more likely they are to use your product, refer their friends and colleagues (expansion opportunities), ask about other functionality (upsell opportunities), and implement into their day to day activities (stickiness, renewal).
Humans are emotional however, and if they feel they are wasting their time, will often drop things as quickly as they’re picked up. According to research, an estimated 75% of users will ‘drop off’ within the first week of their onboarding.
Getting your customers to value and keeping them there is your ultimate goal, so you need to make sure you understand their business inside and out. In today’s world, you can Google almost everything, but you can’t (quite) Google how humans feel.
Honesty and transparency, like in any relationship, needs to be fostered from the start in direct contact with your customer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like:
- Why did you buy our product?
- How do you want our product to solve the problem you are facing?
- How do you want our product to work in your day to day tasks & activities?
This way, when things might not necessarily go to plan, you always know exactly what they want from your product, which can inform your next proactive step - rather than just referring to engagement and scoring metrics.
As your relationship with your customer progresses, you want to build not only a user that not only uses your product, but provides candid feedback along the way; which brings us onto our next point.
Customer Happiness does not directly correlate with Customer Success.
We all love a happy customer.
They always give glowing reviews and big smiles - a positive energy that is always worth feeding back into your wider teams as you look for better CSAT scores and quotes to put on sales collateral.
But have you ever experienced a supposedly happy customer account churn? My bets are that you have.
A successful customer is not always happy. They want more from your product. They ask questions, they pry, criticise and compare. They’re always looking for more ways to integrate your product with their process.
But the reason they’re doing this is because they’re spending time with your product, acknowledging the pain that it solves, and therefore want to get as much as they possibly can from it. This is the definition of a successful customer.
Now, it’s the responsibility of the Customer Success team to take their feedback and turn it into actionable outcomes.
In very simple terms, how might that look in your feedback gathering exercise?
“Q. Does our product solve your problem?”
- Customer 1: “Yes, all good thanks!”
- Customer 2: “Yes, but can it also do x, y and z? How can I use feature x to do y?”
Which one do you think is the successful customer?
I can guarantee that, 99% of the time, Customer 2 is using the product a lot more extensively than Customer 1 - and is therefore a lot more likely to renew and expand.
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Be your customer’s personal investigator.
You are there to make their lives as easy as possible. Yes, this is lead largely by the product, but Customer Success Managers must also:
- Be their customer’s internal advocate by clearly communicating goals, requirements, processes and key individuals to internal teams for buy-in across the supplier <> customer journey.
- Delve into the customer’s business to understand their:
Key decision makers & who holds budget - asking questions as simple as “Would you like me to show this to ‘x decision maker’?” can open up new opportunities and connections.
Procurement requirements & processes - sometimes your buyer might be somewhat blindsided by these, so you can do the hard yards for them by connecting the dots and keeping all stakeholders informed of what’s required by either party during a buying process.
- Keep all stakeholders informed of key developments. People panic when they don’t know the full story, so in order to avoid unnecessary escalations or issues, make sure everything you know, your customer knows - pronto. Response times and open to close lead times must not be underestimated.
Continual Professional Development
Adopt new skills, hone existing ones and practice, practice, practice. You’re amazing, but I’m sure there are things you feel you can improve.
Asking difficult questions can be daunting, solving issues and turning problems into opportunities can be tricky, so the next time you face a challenge in your Cx journey, consider one or more of the points above in how you approach the situation.
At Virti, we are on a mission to improve human performance - where data is central to how we develop our people and our customers, but we do not forget about the human in the people we work with. That’s why our customers are seeing incredible results in onboarding, training and upskilling their workforce using scalable, approachable and safe technology.
We know that it takes more than just providing a great product to have happy and satisfied customers. Our team is dedicated to understanding our customers’ businesses and their unique needs so that we can provide the best possible experience for them.
If you are interested in learning more about how CX works at Virti or want to book a demo, please do not hesitate to get in touch.