Customer Success: your new business priority
The moment your customers get dissatisfied with your offer or see little value – they will switch to another business without a blink. Today, any business’ survival depends on 2 key things: repeat customers that make your business stable and profitable, and referrals that bring you new, paying customers.
That’s why Customer Success nowadays is the number one concern for companies worldwide.
What is Customer Success?
Customer Success is a business initiative that helps customers to get the most value out of a product or service. It’s a revenue-generating effort that a business takes aimed to increase customer satisfaction, increase revenue through renewals, stimulate upsell and cross-sell, and strengthen the brand’s reputation.
A simple way to define you customer success proposition is to ask yourself: “What is the outcome that my customer wishes to get from my product or service?” Once you know what the ideal outcome should be, you need to put all your efforts in designing a Customer Success strategy that ensures the desired outcome is achieved.
But where do you start? One of the key steps in Customer Success program or strategy is to measure the current state of your customer satisfaction.
This can be done by measuring your Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Customer Health Score (CHT), number of customer service tickets successfully resolved, churn rate, the list goes on…
All of these measurements work and help you understand your customers better and act towards their success in deriving value from your products or services.
Customer Success vs. Customer Service
A legitimate question to ask is why do we need a customer success strategy if we have a great customer service team?
First of all, let’s distinguish the two terms. Customer Success is a proactive and tactical set of activities that aims at eliminating possible problems, while Customer Service is reactive, consisting of situational actions that aim at fixing a problem that arises here and now.
Second, in Customer Success you are relying on collecting and leveraging a lot of data that show you what goes well and what goes wrong after the sale and during product adoption.
Third, Customer Success, unlike Customer Service, helps businesses better understand the overall customer experience and improve the lifecycle, thus stimulating sales and narrowing down marketing activities.
4 ways Customer Success can grow your business
Customer Success is a factor you should pay close attention to, because, just as your sales and marketing activities, it can grow your business.
Improved customer retention and acquisition
Getting a new customer to buy once is a challenge in itself. But getting them to continue buying is a far more difficult task.
We all know the notorious statistics: It costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a returning one. In fact, 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers.
To make your customers stay, you need to do more than just offer a good product and great customer service. You need to continuously listen to your customers and anticipate any potential issues or problems. This means staying in touch, reaching out, asking for feedback, and proactively improving their experience by offering them what they want and removing things that don’t work or make their experience worse.
Because if customers are successful and see great results or get satisfaction from using your product, they will stay longer and – most importantly – will recommend you to others. Did you know referrals or simply “word of mouth” is the primary factor behind 20%-50% of purchasing decisions?
And that’s how you get your customer retention and acquisition under control.
Nobody has yet invented a surefire way to keep customers for life. They come and go. And that’s OK. But what you can do is find a way to prevent (most of) them from leaving.
To do that you need to make your customer’s success a priority. Again, it involves listening to customers’ reviews and feedbacks (both negative and positive) – all in order to meet and exceed their expectations.
Research shows that a whopping 97% of people said they would be loyal to a company that listens to and acts upon their feedback!
Customer Success can prevent churn by combining the Voice of Customer (VoC) feedback with the results of CSAT, NPS, CHP scores and timely informing the product development team to introduce improvements and enhancements before possible problems may arise. In a way this means that you’re able to solve the problems your customers didn’t even think they had! And when there are no problems, there is no reason to leave.
Strenghten brand loyalty
Loyalty. That’s what every single business is after.
Companies around the world are trying their best to become “the one and only” business for their customers. Because not only does it result in the ongoing repeat revenue, but it also creates brand ambassadors (advocates) who promote the brand further.
The formula is simple: if a person has had a great experience with and derived value from a product or service, they are very likely to tell others about it. And since we live in the age of social media, brand referrals and positive reviews are extremely powerful.
Studies show that 50% of loyal customers say they became advocates because they had a good experience with the product itself. Meanwhile, 61% of people who hear a recommendation from a brand advocate consider buying the product, with 22% definitely buying the product.
To strengthen your brand and establish a strong emotional connection with your customers though a Customer Success program, you need to make sure that you (a) gain a fan base of loyal customers, (b) maintain close, mutually-beneficial relationships with them, (c) help them with any issues they may have, (d) reward them for their loyalty.
Last, but not least – let’s talk about money.
Not only are existing customers worth 10x as much as their first purchase, the subscription-based economy provides ample opportunities to upsell and cross-sell to your existing customers. This, in turn, allows you to increase profits quickly, enjoy a better ROI, and increase the overall value of the customer over the course of their lifetime.
According to research, 60% of loyal customers will purchase more frequently from their preferred companies. And if you manage to maintain your customers happy, satisfied and emotionally connected to your product, they will have a 306% higher lifetime value and will recommend the company at a rate of 71%, studies show.
You can maintain a profitable business with the help of the Customer Success strategy that actively nurtures customers throughout their customer journey: onboarding, product adoption, servicing, and contract renewal.
It’s everyone’s business
Customer Success is a strategic investment of resources into creating ongoing long-term relations with customers so that they continue to get the maximum value from a product.
The most important thing to understand is that Customer Success is not a one-off project. It’s neither just a task for one team.
Investing in customer success should be a company-wide initiative and a conscious commitment. Everyone should be on board. A company needs to be strategic, set goals and allocate sufficient resources to its Customer Success program.
In order to develop and implement a functioning Customer Success program, you need to invest in a strong, well trained team of dedicated professionals who are able to inspire the entire organization to keep customers a priority at all times.