* This post was inspired by Lincoln Murphy’s excellent article which you can read in full here.
Customer success is a holistic, proactive and organization level approach which leverages technology. In addition to that, it uses real time visibility into the health of the customer. In fact, it ensures that your customers including those who directly use your products increasingly and continually receive value from the products over the course of their lifetime.
What is Customer Success and Why it Matters
Customer success can also be defined as a complete customer life cycle process which can be implemented to the fullest. The following are some of the customer success’s key elements:
1. The Sales process engagement
Sales process engagement involves pre-sales engineering, demos, and a sales process which optimizes the path to success of the customer. If the engagement is done correctly, you can easily get the clients in to the path to conversion.
2. Acquisition of the customer
The initial stage of the success of the customer is to begin by acquiring the right customers. After understanding who your ideal customers are, you need to proactively seek out other customers the way you have done. The right customers can be obtained basing on: potential expansion, vitality and the level of customer’s happiness which they achieve.
3. Billing/ metering/ payment process
On of the major difference between non-customers and customers is the fact a customer pays money so as to use the product. So as to get a solid customer service initiative, you need to have a billing and payment system. In fact, billing customers is an on going part of any good customer success initiative.
4. User and customer on-board
The initial step of getting your customers is to begin by using the product which you sell. This is a process which is referred to as on-boarding. On-boarding is part of the experience in which your prospectors will go through. This will ensure that your products Is just applicable for use but not during the trial.
5. Early engagement
Part of the customer service engagement is by using the product which you manufacture. The action depends upon the customer’s content. This s the initial engagement phase whereby it can either be poorly or excellently executed. Therefore, it may result in attracting the right or wring customers.
6. Post acquisition (follow-up)
This is a phase which can fall after acquisition but not initial engagement. Under this step, you need to make sure that every thing is gong well. This can be done by asking questions about the reason why they sighed up and where they heard about you. The word of mouth follows up questions catalysis the customer to contact your product for the first time.
Post acquisition follow-up is the best opportunity to set the tone for the relationship which you have with your customer. The customers can: manage their expectations and begin building the loyalty of the customer.
7. The functional support
This is part of the customer service imitative which continues across the entire customer service life-cycle. However, it is most likely required at specific points within the life-cycle of the customer.
The functional support is usually reactive. As a result, the users or the customer sees that they require some assistance to do things to seek out answers. However, it can be proactive around the known milestones. This will enable you to build a proactive approach from the functional support to your life-cycle messaging.
8. The technical support
This is one of the customer success initiatives which continue across the entire life-cycle of the customer. This is a typical part of the organization which moves to be as proactive as possible. The technical support involves looking for patterns which might indicate that a customer is: monitoring for application, having trouble and issues of infrastructure level which may impact the customer’s experience negatively as well as ways of becoming proactive.
However, there are times in which the customer is experiencing pain yet you don’t know. In that case, you need the help desk which can react to the customer’s problems. Thus, it corrects it and ensures that the customer is once again getting the value of the product.
The role of the technical support is to examine every in-bound request so as to see if there is a way of proactively monitoring for that kind of issue in the near future. Consequently, it stops out or reaches out for a solution before the customer get a chance of submitting the ticket.
9. The customer’s feedback loop
Apart from the success initiatives highlighted, customer’s feedback loop continues across all the entire life-cycle of the customer.
The feedback loop consists of: monitoring of the customer happiness/ heath index, frequent touch points or outreach with the customers. The customer’s feedback loop is where you monitor the heartbeat of the customer. Moreover, it is powered by technology. However, it involves reasonable amount of the interaction of the customer.
10. Engagement which is ongoing
The engagement is part of the success initiative which can go through the entire life-cycle. Nevertheless, it is coupled with the feedback loop which can ensure that your customers are successful and very happy. Ongoing engagement can also be defined as the process by which the customers continue to realize value when they use the product.
The engagement can bring changes on the lifetime of the customer. The engagement differs over a period of time for example a one week engagement is different from a one month engagement.
By knowing how the success of your customer looks like at every stage, it will enable you to monitor frequent activity. Hence, you will be able to scan the churn threats continually.
11. The intelligence of the customer
This is the main part of the success of the customer. This is because it will make you know the customers better than the way they know themselves. The most convenient way of doing this is by talking to your customers and networking within the industry. This will enable you to have a complete picture of your customers as well as seeking out the company’s activities.
The above are the key elements which can lead your company to become successful. Therefore, you need to practice the highlighted Customer success skills and it will greatly benefit both you and your company.