What Is Customer Success?
If you work in the SaaS company, you've probably already had the same struggle as I do: coming up with the right approaches to growth-hacking strategies for your company or products. Now it might sound easy to think of ways to do it – putting out social marketing advertisements, getting blogger reviews or simply gamifying your on-boarding experience by rewarding users; but there's a traditional method of business that's secretly coming back as a growth center – customer service.
That's because the old customer service strategy is no longer enough to fulfill the needs of your customers' needs. And that's why startups (especially the hyper-growing ones) and more businesses are turning their heels and focusing more on customer success to retain and expand their user base. And it's not without reasons too – customer success can actually turn the cost-bearing customer services into profitable revenue stream that grows your business.
Customer Success V.S. Customer Service
Essentially, customer success is a business strategy that businesses use to ensure customers reach their desired outcomes with their products or services used. Truth is your customers doesn't care about how sophisticated your new features are or the fancy layout of the product – the only concern they have is how the outcomes of your product can improve their current situation. And that's why it ensures customers can find the long-term values in the product that they purchased by making the most out of their investment.
Now, it's not surprising that people would often mix up the term customer success with the word customer service sometimes. However, customer success is certainly not just a fancier word to use, they do have major differences in one another. In fact, the two actually go hand-in-hand in assisting the customers to reach their desired outcomes in the product.That being said, they still have a major difference in the role they play on initiating the customers demands.
What's The Matter With Customer Service?
For customer service, it's comparatively more reactive towards addressing customers questions and demands. They wait until customers to reach out to the live chat or any other customer service channel like facebook customer service to address the product issues. As you can already tell by the time the customers reach out to you, you can expect they are already pretty pissed off by then; even if they are not, customers would be disappointed in your product at some point as not enough support is being provided to prevent the foreseeable problem from happening.
If you're looking for tips on improving your customer service, check out this post by Shane Barker.
But, on the other side, customer success team is a complete different story. They don't wait till the problem arise; instead, they take the more proactive approach to assist customers in a sense that providing support for customers EVEN when they don't have any issue with the product yet. This is not only to prevent customer problem before it damages the customer relationships, but also to help respective customers to find the values that they need. And all those little factors combined can really contribute to the make or break in the business growth.
Why Are Customer Success Better For Your Business Growth
With taking the more proactive approach of customer success, it urges a more direct communication and intimate relationships between the customers and the companies. Before any real damages is being done, the companies can convert the customers' feedback and transform them into metrics to improve the overall product quality in order to better suit the needs, features and expectation of their specific users.
This can work its way for businesses to perfect their customer experiences from the product or service that they purchase to the overall relationship they have with your company. The more likely that your users are satisfied with the customer experience, the larger the chance it is for them to develop a long time relationship with your brand and would keep using your products.
What Do I Need To Perfect My Customer Success Strategy?
Now we know why hyper-growth businesses would rather go for customer success instead of simply customer service, but what exactly does it require for you to nail the whole customer success strategy?
Here's a list of the requirements for you to check out if your customer success is going to work out or not.
- Defining specific customer segments
- Understanding and clarifying the goals that each of your users needs to fulfil
- How your customers choose to interact with your products or brand and how thorough is it
- Real-time access to your customers' information
- Adoption of automating multiple live support channels
- Implementation of the right use of AI technology
It might seem like a whole lot of work and efforts, however it's important to create a tailor-made individual experience for each of the user. Without a clear roadmap of what specific targets your products want to hit or putting into account of elements like technology and content used, it's very unlikely that you won't be able to create an ideal user journey for your user-base to provide a seamless onboard for them, let alone converting the leads.
Even if there's a similar desire outcomes among some of your customers, making your products specific to cater to each of your customers needs should still be on top of your priority list.
And yes. With only that is not enough. You need to leverage some sort of artificial intelligence technology in order to check off that box for you. Because AI can give you the data that you need to create a more holistic outlook of the demographics of your customer base – what are their basic information, the patterns of their social media using habit, and their past customer service history. This can help you analyse what does your customers expect in the product or even the customer experience itself, so you can improve the CRM in your company, and grow your business.
For effective AI technology tool that helps you better your customer success strategy, click here.
How Can Customer Success Grow Your Business
By adopting the right assistance of technology and tools, it can easily move customer success into substantial growth for your business without breaking a sweat. With customer success, it can help you predict and prevent churns from happening by utilising all the customers' reviews and feedback.
Here are 3 ways that you can grow your business with the customer success strategies (especially if you own a SaaS company).
1. Make It Your Profit Stream
Everybody sees it the same way: investing money in customer services is just an unending blackhole – you just have keep putting money in something that leave you with no gains at all. But what you can turn this heavy cost burden into your source of profit?
Yes. You can actually charge your customers. But why would they do that anyway?
Truth is, customers are actually willing to pay for it since the company is delivering the values back to them. It's just like when you hire a house-cleaning lady from the agency – You are buying the quality service itself to help you get things done so you don't have to squeeze out any extra time from your crazy-packed schedule to do it yourself and save the efforts.
That's the exact same value they have in customer success – the whole package of service that you have from the beginning that you purchased your products to the active period that you're using the product. Your customers are expecting more these days, they're no longer focussing merely on the product itself, they are looking for more and they are willing to pay for it.
But it's also important to see how your company can go for the extra mile to outplay your competitors . You should provide some complementary customer success services from your users' initial purchase. The key here is to provide extra value for them, even more than what they pay for. And that's how you can get one step ahead.
2. Take The Lead
If you want your customer success to work, one rule you should always follow no matter what circumstance – be proactive, never be the reactive kind.
If you're still using customer service support, you should start to rethink about this. Some companies would try to use customer service support instead of customer success. But the thing here is it never really do the trick nor work either. Because customer service support takes the reactive mode to address issues, and it NEVER works. By the time your customers reach out to you to have their problem, they'll be too pissed off or worse, straight out walk away from you. The right approach that you should have in here is to be proactive about their demands, which means, to solve the problem before they even arise.
A lead doesn't just end after the sale. You should never forget about the customer as they can be a recurrent lead for you – keep them happy and make them come back again and again. And the way to do it is to engage your customers by regularly assessing the value of the value that you gave them and ensure it's sufficient enough to keep them staying.
3. Make Customers Get Their Time To Value Fast
Customers don't like to wait these days. You want to get the FAQs response fast, get the order processing time fast, and also get the delivery fast. So is the time to value.
If you leave your customers waiting for too long to see their desired results from the moment they purchased a product, then you might've already upset your customers. Some customers time to value period can range from 6 to 9 months – that's just simply too long and you could've risk losing one customer.
Instead of measuring your time to value in months, you should do it in weeks to shorten it as soon as possible instead to avoid your users from losing interests in your products or brand. One way to do it is to bundle some immediate customer success services with your products. In this way, you can ensure that your customers wouldn't get too impatient during the period and walk away from you.