“Customer success” is the latest buzzword in B2B circles and it’s here to stay. That’s because, while the “customer service experience” deals with helping customers solve problems after the fact, “customer success” is about helping them get more out of your products and services before there’s a problem.
This is a complicated strategy and for many companies, it can be difficult to implement. So what is customer success? Why is it important? And how do you use it in your organization?
We’ll answer those questions and more in today’s post. Let’s dive in.
What is Customer Success?
According to Wikipedia, customer success is the function at a company responsible for managing the relationship between a vendor and its customers. In layman’s terms, customer success is a strategy to help customers be more productive when using your products and services, especially by way of designing and upselling additional products to existing customers. And while doing so, increase your profitability long-term. Here’s a more formal definition from the Customer Success Association:
“Customer Success is a long-term, scientifically-engineered, and professionally-directed strategy for maximizing customer and company sustainable proven value.”
The central question driving customer success strategy is, “how do we help our customers solve more problems and attain more of what they want?” Or put another way, how do you create consistent, recurring income streams while selling to the same customer base? Getting a customer to buy once is a challenging feat. But with the right system in place, influencing them to buy again and again is much easier.
Why is Customer Success Important?
If customers can accomplish their goals using your product, they’ll keep buying from you. If not, they’ll buy from your competitors. Which brings us to the first of 3 reasons why customer success is so important:
1. Customer Success Increases Loyalty to Your Brand and Business
RightNow Technologies found that 89% of consumers start buying from a competitor following a single bad experience with that brand. But the same study discovered that 86% of consumers will pay 25% more for a better customer experience. So even if you need to charge extra to create and execute a customer success plan, do it.
People are willing to pay for a higher level of service. which inevitably reduces churn – the number of people switching from your brand to a competitor’s. Start developing your customer success systems by listening to your customers to find out what they want and need from your product; features you’re not currently offering. Then make those improvements and roll out updates to stay ahead of complaints. Without problems, and with superior service, customers will stick around for the long haul.
2. Customer Success Increases Revenue Long-Term
There are essentially 2 ways to increase revenue:
- Gain new customers.
- Sell more to existing customers.
Both are important, but selling to existing customers is far more profitable, especially when you consider how much it costs to acquire new customers.
Here are a few compelling statistics from Strikedeck that back this up:
- On average, loyal customers are worth 10x as much as their first purchase.
- It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
- Companies that prioritize the customer experience generate 60% higher profits than their competition.
3. Customer Success Increases Word-of-Mouth Marketing and Brand Ambassadors
By achieving customer success, you generate customers who want others to experience the same success they have. This special breed of consumer is called a brand ambassador. They’re satisfied with your products and motivated to spread their knowledge and convert everyone they know into your customers. In short, they can help you dramatically boost your bottom line.
Zuberance studied brand advocates, this is what they discovered:
- 32% of advocates recommended 10 or more brands.
- 30% of advocates recommended brands on a weekly basis or more.
- Brand advocates have an average of 200-450 people in their social networks.
- 67% recommend both business and consumer products.
- 61% of people who hear a recommendation from a brand advocate consider buying the product while 22% definitely buy the product.
- 50% of brand advocates say they became advocates because they had a good experience with the product itself.
What is a Customer Success Manager?
A customer success manager is a liaison between sales, support, and in some cases, marketing. Their role is to ensure customers feel good about their purchases, understand what to do and how to use the product after they buy, as well as to deliver solutions to potential problems before they arise. Sometimes, the customer success manager is the single point of contact for a prospect throughout the sales process and beyond, aligning sales to customer success.
The most important task for a success manager is to ensure the customer has a seamless experience with the solution they just purchased. This is especially important during the onboarding phase, when the customer is first using and implementing the solution.
The goal of the customer success manager should be to help newly-acquired customers completely understand your product, know how to use it, be able to show their team members how to use it, and generally feel confident and comfortable in their purchase – making it more likely they’ll continue using the product.
What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?
First of all, a customer success manager rarely works alone. So the first thing he or she does is assemble a customer success team. Then, the manager and their team will work closely with different departments to align your customer success goals.
They’ll make sure you implement the right technology to serve your customers’ best interests and oversee lead generation campaigns to identify the best-fit customers for your products (which we’ll cover in the next section). And they’ll hyper-focus on training and support to ensure new and existing customers alike have a positive, engaging experience when working with your products.
What Is One Customer Success Strategy You Can Implement Immediately?
Customer success happens when the buyers of your solution consistently use your product to obtain what they want and never consider using something else. So, you should target customers who are most likely to have this experience.
Lincoln Murphy, the author of Customer Success, advises business to identify a customer’s “success potential” by evaluating them according to the following 6 criteria:
- Technical fit: what technology will customers need to use or acquire?
- Functional fit: what features and functionality are required for customers to be successful?
- Resource fit: do your customers have the necessary resources to invest (time, money, energy, etc.)?
- Competence fit: what level of expertise do your customers have, or are willing to acquire, to be successful?
- Experience fit: are you able to provide an experience that is appropriate for your customers?
- Cultural fit: do your customers have beliefs, morals, attitudes, etc. that match your company’s?
Not every customer is a good fit. That’s OK. To make customer success work for your organization, you need to forget about bad fit customers and focus only on those who have “success potential.”
What is One Piece of Customer Success Software You Should Be Using Today?
A customer success manager and their team will work with many pieces of software, from data analytics to graphic design.
But there is one solution that allows businesses to connect with their customers personally by helping them visually:
Zight (formerly CloudApp) for support.
To illustrate how powerful this software can be, let’s show you an example from a customer of ours who specializes in helping other companies implement customer success, Gainsight. According to Steven Davis, Enterprise support manager at Gainsight:
“Using Zight (formerly CloudApp), we were able to take 2-3 typed-out interactions and combine them into one GIF or video, which has eliminated the need for the [customer service] rep to type out those mile-long responses.”
But the software allowed Gainsight to go one step further and actually connect with their customers in need. Steve said:
“The personalization is what really sets it apart. Being able to send messages, not only specific to what their needs are, but giving that personal touch has made all the difference.”
If you want to create customer success in your business, then start by communicating with your customers in a personalized way they won’t find elsewhere. Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s screen recorder brings screen capture, annotated screenshots, GIF creation, and webcam video recording to the cloud in an easy-to-use, enterprise-grade app so you can quickly create and share visual content.
We help customer support teams:
- Easily create support materials and tutorials
- Optimize customer support workflows
- Provide customers with detailed answers and close Zendesk tickets faster
- Improve your team’s CSAT scores
- Document issues, track and fix bugs faster
- Improve customer support initiatives
Learn more about Zight (formerly CloudApp) for Customer Support here.