Regardless of the size of your company – whether you’re a one-person startup or a huge corporation – customer success is one of the most crucial ingredients for the recipe of successful sales and operations.
Through new communication channels like social media and chat, you can increase your customer success rate by approaching your customers and directing them to their desired result.
A study by Walker predicted that customer experience will trump over product and price as a primary brand differentiator by 2020.
What is Customer Success?
In an avalanche of versatile business terminology and jargon, customer success is a notion that frequently gets mixed with other similar terms. It’s often mistaken for customer support or customer experience.
Customer support is definitely an important piece of the customer success puzzle, but there’s much more to it than that.
On the other hand, customer satisfaction is another concept that’s correlated to customer success, but is not necessarily synonymous. For example, a customer might have a great experience with your brand even though they haven’t achieved what they wanted: through great customer support, branding or reputation. On the other hand, a customer who can be labeled as ‘successful’ can end their journey in dissatisfaction with your brand.
Lincoln Murphy, an expert customer success consultant, defines customer success as “the moment when your customers achieve their desired outcome through their interactions with the company”.
As you can see from this description, a customer who hasn’t achieved their desired outcome can technically be labeled as a satisfied customer, and vice versa.
So, which are some of the strategies that you can implement to boost your customer success?
Target the right audience
When marketers and salespeople think about segmentation and targeting, they mostly consider people who would be willing to buy a product or a service. However, when we think about customer success, it’s a deeper level of targeting: not only those who are ready to buy, but customers which have the highest probability of achieving their desired outcome with your product.
According to Murphy, this concept is called customer success potential. Within your targeted audience, you can sub-define customers who are not only likely to buy, but to end up as a success.
Define the customer success potential
If this is your first time dabbling in customer success as a metric, it can be quite confusing to know how to define it as precisely as some of the other, most used KPIs.
“Even though customer success is immensely important, many companies still don’t perceive it as a clearly defined metric. As a company or a brand, first you need to define a successful customer journey in order to introduce this metric. After you do, the data insight can point you to a lot of the blind spots in your sales and marketing processes”, says Diana Adjadj, a writer and social media manager at BestEssayEducation.
The aforementioned customer success consultant Lincoln Murphy defines 5 criteria that can help you outline the potential for customer success for a particular user or audience segment:
- Technical fit: Does your customer possess the technology required to use your product? If yes, are they experienced in using it or will they need further help?
- Resource fit: Will the potential customer have enough resources available to invest (energy, time, money and other)?
- Competence fit: Is the customer competent and does he have enough expertise to use your product successfully? If not, is the customer willing to acquire the necessary competences?
- Experience fit: Will your product or service provide the customer with an experience that is relevant, appropriate and valuable for them?
- Cultural fit: Do the values, beliefs and stances of your company match those of your customer?
After you define the customer success potential more clearly using these criteria, you will be more likely to find and target an audience that will achieve customer success.
Increase Customer Support Efforts
The easiest way to improve your chances of customer success is by introducing a helpful, expert customer support team. If you’re selling a popular product, you probably already have a support team, but there’s always room for improvement.
You should aim to decrease your response time as much as possible and constantly educate your support team on the possible questions they might receive and how to resolve them.
Another great way to increase the efficiency of your customer service is to implement CRM tools and cloud-based tools that will increase the productivity of your team. You can also use chatbots for basic queries, which will help customers get an instant solution and continue using your product.
Publish Relevant and Helpful Content
In line with the importance of customer support in building customer success that we have previously talked about, another important point is to have a well-developed Help page and documentation.
In order to help your customers achieve the desired outcome, i.e. achieve customer success, you have to provide them with answers and solutions to any possible issues that might come up during the customer journey. For example, let’s say you’re selling software that allows users to monitor their personal budgets. In order for the customer success to be achieved, a customer has to purchase, download and use your program in a way that they intended to.
If a person doesn’t know how to use your program or simply doesn’t find it helpful or valuable, you have not achieved customer success, even though the software is bought and paid for.
The way to approach this issue is by having a strong customer support system coupled with a detailed, extensive documentation for help and guidance. Therefore, when you’re composing content for your Help section, make sure you cover every step of the process, from the download and basic or advanced use all the way to uninstalling the software. Every step should be explained in detail in order to boost chances of customer success for those users that run into a glitch.
The most important points in customer success strategy is to clearly define your target audience and their customer journey, as well as boost your customer support efforts and compose an effective Help section.
Using these strategies, your customer success rates should increase immediately after implementation. If you’re still not sure whether you’re going in the right direction, try looking at some of the examples of unsuccessful customer journeys – where customers did not manage to achieve their desired outcome with your product or service. Identify steps in the process when something went wrong and tweak your funnel accordingly.