Ensuring your customers receive maximum value and enjoyment out of the products you sell them is a critical component of their overall experience with your brand. The term ‘Customer Success’ refers adopting a proactive approach to providing solutions and answers for your customers.
Along with ‘Customer Experience’, ‘Customer Success’ has become increasingly popular over recent years. Companies are increasingly aware of the fact that the real value behind the products they sell, is not determined purely by the features of those products, but in their ability to allow a customer to achieve a goal or an objective.
The easier and quicker a customer can engage with a product and achieve their goal greater is the success that customer experiences. “There are certain products that seem to have higher levels of frustration or need for customer support. The goal of a customer success program is to ensure that the customer has success with the company’s products”. From Forbes Magazine.
Customer Success (CS) aims to eliminate the level of frustration or the need for customer support when the customer buys a new product. It’s also about ensuring extracting maximum use and value for the entire lifetime of the product. Greater success means a better experience for the customer. The payback for the organisation is revenue from repeat and referral business, lower cost of customer acquisition and lower ongoing support costs.
Not applicable to all products and services, but certainly to more complex and technical products such as computer software, Customer Success Management requires the integration of marketing, sales, professional services, training and support.
It also requires a thorough understanding of one’s customers and products and the likely problems or roadblocks customers are likely to encounter.
It’s then a question of designing solutions and processes to remove those roadblocks from the customer’s journey. This can take many forms such as additional help after their initial purchase, access to information, interactive videos and online training resources.
You need to understand your customers goals with your product and make it as easy as possible for them to achieve their objectives as quickly as possible.
Customer Success versus Customer Experience
Customer Experience (CX) broadly refers to the customer’s experience before, during and after purchasing and using a product. Customer Success (CS) exclusively focuses on the period after the buying experience and their use of a product or service. CS helps informs and broadens the organisation’s understanding of the customer experience.
CS is a facet of the overall customer experience. If customers achieve great success and value from your products with minimal downtime, frustration or issues enhances their overall experience with your brand. It’s closely aligned to customer support, but where customer support is reactive CS attempts to be proactive.
CS is a new and evolving function: it’s methodologies and what constitutes best practice is in a relative state of flux. The function is commonly deployed by companies selling software particularly vendors of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solutions. Customers who quickly engage and are successful with a brand’s products are less likely to churn .
Be pro-active with your customers.
Try to anticipate the questions and problems that are likely to arise as your companies use your products. Provide the answers and solutions via a knowledge base that is accessible online as well as explainer videos, tutorials and blog articles that offer advice and tips.
When customers first come onboard provide them with tools and resources that allows them to get up and running quickly.
Customer Success Managers
In recent years more and more companies have been employing customer success managers. A job almost unheard of 10 – 15 years ago, it has become increasingly popular, particularly among technology and software companies.
Taking on some of the responsibilities of a customer support manager as well as that of an account manager, it’s a role that is aimed at adding value for the customer just as much as for the business.
Research from Hubspot highlights that growing and successful businesses are more than likely to prioritise customer success over their competitors. Investing in a customer success program, if done correctly, should provide your business with plenty of opportunities to grow.