Customer Success: Focus on getting your customers a promotion.
Customer experience, customer support, and customer success – there are so many names for the team that is on the front line with the most valuable part of your business: customers. These are the people who have signed up for your solution over all other alternatives. But what does this customer-focused team actually do, and how can you ensure it’s having a measurable impact on your business? The secret to a great customer success team is the goal – the team should always be focused on getting their customers a promotion.
The Typical Role of a Customer Success Team
A customer success team should power their company forward by helping customers reach their desired outcome as quickly – and as delightfully – as possible. A customer success team typically owns adoption of the tool and retention of customers – which traditionally means focusing on reducing tripping points on the journey to full adoption and guiding the customer through stages of a deployment or implementation. This could mean everything from introducing a clear step-by-step plan for introducing the software to the customer’s company, leading training sessions, answering follow-up questions, announcing new features and suggesting use cases, and having a quarterly call with the customer champion to check-in. And each step could be maximized and polished to true factory-level efficiency. Great! But then why are customers still churning, or struggling to expand?
Reframe the Role of a Customer Success Team
This is the essential piece of a successful customer success team – the deployment of software and ensuring solid adoption. But without a close focus on the individual people at the company, and identifying what is essential for them to get promoted in their job (or at least getting them a nod from the boss as employee of the month), then you’ll miss the mark of how to actually help this customer do their job better. And if you’re not helping your customers do their jobs better – and helping them do a better job for their customers – then you’ll have missed a huge opportunity to uncover hidden needs and ensure your product is matched to them.
So how does this work in practice for a Customer Success team and how can they inject this into the process? There are several touchpoints where you can understand more how your product will power your customers to do better in their jobs:
The Kick-Off Meeting: In the first introduction with the customer you might typically engage in a round of introductions where you ask them to state their role and then hurry on into an overview of the rollout plan. There is usually only one chance for this introduction – so spend some time here! Make sure you understand what a typical day looks like for them, how long they’ve been in that in the company, what made them decide to join that company, and what their goals are for growth – are they interested in being in the same department and working their way up? How often do they interact with other teams? What does their boss care about most in their 1-on-1 meetings every week?Yes, seriously ask that question!
The Feature Request: Customers ask all the time for particular aspects of your product to be slightly tweaked – often they are quite zoomed into how this would make a difference for them in a particular aspect of how they interact with your product but ask them to run through how this factors into a typical day for them. How often do they do this particular user journey? Could they quantify the impact this tweak would have? Are their others in the company who would benefit from this change?
The NPS Survey Response: A customer has just scored your company on a scale of 0 to 10 – regardless of if they have left a comment, do not waste this opportunity to engage with them with a quick question about, “what would make it easier to do your job every day?” By engaging them on the topic of how your product makes it easier for them to excel in their role, you’ll get valuable feedback and information.
In all customer interactions – both proactive and reactive – keep this mantra in mind – how is what I’m doing for this customer going to help get them promoted – and you’ll begin to reframe your approach to Customer Success. Going through a clear onboarding checklist and moving from stage to stage is always going to be important, but you’ll have also made sure to focus on making your customer successful in their job, which is something they might not have expected (but they will love you for)!