What sets successful businesses apart from the competition isn’t just offering quality products and services. It’s the personalized experience they provide to their customers.
Today’s most successful businesses are dedicated to understanding their customers’ desired outcomes, and they’re focused on creating experiences to help their customers achieve those outcomes. That means that successful companies are focused on customer success.
What does that mean for your company?
Well, if you’re focused on offering high-quality products or services at the expense of maximizing customer success, you soon may find your business struggling to attract and retain customers. Maximizing customer success can help you connect with customers and increase the value of your company. Do you know that nearly 86% of customers are willing to pay more for an excellent customer experience? And a 2020 study by Walker found customer experience will overtake products and price as key brand differentiators.
What’s Customer Success?
The definition of customer success varies depending on who you ask.
According to the Customer Success Association, customer success is a long-term, professionally directed, and scientifically engineered approach for maximizing company and customer sustainable proven value.
User Lane, an onboarding software company, defines customer success as a strategy that’s focused on creating relationships more than anything else. It’s all about listening and understanding what each customer needs to achieve their goals.
Typically, customer success is a series of strategies you can leverage to take care of your customers and achieve sustainable and long-term business growth. However, despite the rise in popularity of customer success, only less than 20% of businesses say they’re truly effective in managing their customers, with most businesses struggling to achieve their customer-centric goals.
This presents a perfect opportunity for forward-thinking business owners to create effective customer success plans to transform how their businesses handle customers and lower churn rates. Here are 9 ways to maximize customer success and boost your customers’ loyalty to your brand.
9 Secrets to Helping Your Customers Succeed
Having an in-depth understanding of the result your customers want to accomplish, why they want to accomplish it, is the first step in providing a holistic experience to help them succeed. That experience starts before they buy what you’re offering, in the sales and marketing stages, and continues until your customers achieve the outcome they want.
1. Target the Right Customer
Maximizing customer success starts with targeting the right customers. To target the right customers, it’s essential to have a detailed customer profile to share with every member of your team, especially your sales and marketing team.
Your goal shouldn’t be only to target customers who are willing, ready, and able to use what you’re offering, but also to identify upfront the customers likely to achieve success using your product or service.
Armed with a detailed customer profile, your marketing team can develop marketing campaigns and messaging that resonate with those ideal customers, and your sales team can step in to qualify or disqualify a potential customer before selling to them.
2. Meet Customers on their Channels and Content
One business’s ideal client will always differ from another business, so it’s essential to consider where your target customers hang out. Leverage brand monitoring for target keywords your competitors and industry uses to find forums, comparison sites, and popular blogs. Your customers are likely to use these sites while they’re researching products or deciding what products to buy.
Once you know where your customers hang out, you can meet them on those channels and create relevant content that’ll resonate with their needs. To help your customers succeed, you must create valuable content that answers their questions. Posting that content in channels where your customers hang out is also a great way to offer a better customer experience.
3. Include Your Salespeople in the Customer Success Loop
Customer success isn’t a department limited function. As Jeannie Walters, CCXP, teaches us, “Anyone can be a customer experience (CX) change agent in their organization, no matter their title or job description.”
Your salespeople must be aligned with and involved in customer growth to create an effective customer success strategy. Including your sales team in the customer success loop helps you see how ideas brew. It also helps you envisage how easy it is to gain each type of customer. While a customer success manager can easily tell if a customer is a good fit or not, your salespeople can provide insight into how difficult it is to acquire customers from each segment. Hence, including your salespeople in the customer success loop can help you determine each customer segment’s needs.
4. Focus on each part of the Success Loop (Onboarding, Engagement, and Retention)
To map out an appropriate experience that helps your customers succeed, your focus must be on all the interactions your customers have with your business. Beginning at the earliest touch points of marketing and sales, move customers through closing, onboarding, engagement, retention, and continuing their entire journey with your brand.
Onboarding involves welcoming new customers and helping them familiarize themselves with and start using your products. If you aren’t there to guide your customers immediately after a sale is made, they may experience buyer’s remorse. So, it’s important to offer a personalized onboarding experience based on your customer’s goals. Clarify your customer’s goals first, and then offer them training that’s customized to their goals.
The best strategy for customer retention is continuing to add value to customers after the sale is made. For periodic services, offer free information, stay in contact, and be sure to check in once in a while. And for recurring services, check in regularly to make sure everything is going on well and to see if the customer’s needs have changed.
5. Choose and Train an Excellent Customer Success Manager
The daily responsibilities and roles of a customer success manager vary from company to company, but the primary purpose of a customer success manager remains the same—to guide your customers safely to success.
A customer success manager makes sure that customers’ long-term goals are met. However, it’s not enough for your customer success manager to have a cursory knowledge of the products or services you offer. Rather, they should have in-depth knowledge of your customer’s journey and use that knowledge to guide your customers through the sales phase and into the post-sale stage. Thus, to foster an effective customer success strategy, it’s essential to have an excellent customer sales manager.
6. Include Call Centers & Other Representatives in the Customer Success Loop
A simple, effective way to show your customers that you care about their success is by responding to their queries as quickly as possible. So, it’s crucial to include call centers and your customer support team in the customer success loop to help your customers achieve their goals.
A recent report by SuperOffice reports that 62% of businesses don’t respond to customer service emails. As you can see, customers don’t have high expectations from call centers and customer support teams. Thus, responding to customers’ queries quickly will most probably be a pleasant surprise to your customers. Thus, to help your customers succeed, you must respond to customer support queries as quickly as you can.
7. Know What Success Means to Your Clients
Effective customer success teams let customers tell them what success looks like. Success with your product or service will mean different things to different customers, so it’s essential to let your customers’ definition of success guide your product development and marketing strategies.
Success, as defined by your customers, should be the goal of your customer success team—not success as defined by you and your team.
8. Use Automated Feedback Loops
Feedback loops are brilliant ways to gather feedback from customers, learn more about their goals and needs, and improve what you’re offering and your customer success approach accordingly. Automating your feedback loops results in a consistent influx of useful feedback from your customers.
Many feedback loops incorporate automated emails that are triggered by specific events, such as purchasing a product, closing a support ticket, or completing an online course.
9. Get a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
If you don’t have a way to understand your customer’s individual experience with your products or services, then it’s time to get a CRM system. A CRM system keeps everything organized and makes sure that you have an overview of how your customers are being reached and when.
A CRM tool also helps your sales team understand how many prospects they’ve already engaged with and how the response to their outreach is going, and it enables your customer support team to get an overall context of how your customers are doing more holistically.
Zight (formerly CloudApp): Best Customer Success Software
Customer success managers and their teams work with a good deal of software, from graphic design to data analytics. However, Zight (formerly CloudApp) is an effective solution that allows companies to connect with their customers at a personal level by helping them visually.
Zight (formerly CloudApp) provides a personalized approach that helps businesses send messages that are specific to their customer’s needs while offering a personal touch. So, if you’re looking to incorporate an effective customer success strategy in your business, then you need to communicate with your customers in a personalized manner. Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s screen recorder provides annotated screenshots, screen capture, webcam video recording, and GIF creation that’s easy-to-use, allowing you to create and share visual content easily.
Offering a great product or service isn’t enough to help your business stand out in a crowded marketplace. Regardless of what industry you’re in, your customers are likely to have a ton of options available to them. Thus, helping your customers succeed is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. So, if you don’t create an appropriate experience to help your customers achieve their desired outcome with your product or service, you may lose your market share to a competitor that does. Customer success is an evolving process, so helping your customer achieve success is an iterative and never-ending process.