As I mentioned before, staying connected to your customers and putting their needs at the forefront should be your top priorities. By doing so, you enable yourself to reduce customer churn, to give your team members focus and a sense of purpose, and ultimately, to grow your company in meaningful ways. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do in order to ensure that customer success is front and center at all times.
Customer success as a department
Consider implementing a Customer Success department, even if you just start out with one person. Client advocates and heads of customer success typically serve as the first point of contact for your customers. They are trusted advisors whose mission it is to understand the needs of your customers, to connect them with the right people in your company, and to ensure that each client is optimally positioned to achieve the goals that they set out for themselves. It’s also important to point out that your customer success team plants multiple roots at an organization. It’s not enough to keep the main product champion happy. Be sure that your success team has contacts with end users and other stakeholders, such as the executive level.
Customer success metrics
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that success means something different to everyone. Therefore, you can’t apply the same success metrics to all of your customers. Be sure that your success team helps your customers clearly identify what success looks like to them. Is it user adoption of the product? Impact on revenue? Time savings per use case? Try to capture in writing how each customer defines success when it comes to partnering with you. Next, let the customer know both your role and theirs in making success happen. Alignment is key, not just in the first stages of the customer’s experience, but throughout. That’s why success metrics should be a focal point in every check-in call and feedback session that your success team conducts with your customers.
Customer success centric roadmap
Managing your product roadmap is no small feat. If you’re not already conducting focus groups, one on one feedback sessions, and monitoring an idea exchange, I’d highly recommend that you start today. Provide your customers a multitude of ways to submit their ideas and pain points. And, most importantly, develop a method to process each item. At Hannon Hill, we use Productboard to log each and every suggestion. We then follow up with the submitter if necessary, categorize and tag the ideas, and measure impact and complexity. One of the key considerations when evaluating those ideas is to what extent each improvement of feature will help customers achieve their goals. That’s why we often ask the individuals who submit certain suggestions what it is that they’re trying to accomplish, rather than focusing immediately on on the “how” and talk about specific features.
Share success stories
As I’ve pointed out before when discussing professional services, customer experience is everything. Whenever a customer has gone live with your product for the first time, or has accomplished, follow up with them to find out how they rate the success of the project. Convey the feedback to your entire team, and, upon approval from the client, share the story externally, with a quick social post, a customer spotlight on your website, or even by giving them an award at your user conference.
Finally, I’d like to mention that customer service is not the same as customer success. Customer service is everything you do to make sure that your clients feel well taken care of and understood. Customer success is the degree to which your clients are able to achieve their goals thanks to your product and/or services.
What about you? How do you ensure that customer success is front and center at your organization?