CUSTOMER

SUCCESS

PRECURSIVE GUEST BLOG  |  COGNISM  |  JOE BARRON ON CUSTOMER SUCCESS

Cognism provides solutions for sales and marketing teams to find and engage with their leads. They've learnt, along with many other companies, that customer success (as opposed to customer service) is the key for a growth business. For SaaS based companies, many are learning that you need to ensure that your product not only aids your customer, but directly leads them to achieve their desired outcomes, beyond your own solution. Joe Barron breaks down the concept and highlights how customer success can become a key part of your business.

October 2018

Customer success (CS) is an emerging concept in the business world. Already adopted by many software as a service (SaaS) companies, CS is sure to become a vital function in other industries soon. But what is customer success? Why is it so important? And what can it do for your business? We explore the advantages of good customer success in this brief guide.

 

WHAT IS CUSTOMER SUCCESS?

 

There’s no great mystery to what customer success is - the clue is in the title! It’s all about making sure the customer succeeds as much as possible when using a product or service. CS is an evolution of the traditional account manager role, in that it’s concerned with building long-term relationships with customers and managing their day-to-day interaction with a product.

 

Customer Success Managers (CSMs) go beyond that, however, by positioning themselves as a teacher or mentor to the customer. The idea is to educate the client at every stage of their journey and demonstrate to them how to get the very best out of a product or service. A good way to think of it is that CSMs are more than an appointed contact for customers should anything go wrong; instead their purpose is to become-a trusted advisor to the customer and to show them how to make things go right.

 

Be careful, though - although the names may sound similar, don’t confuse customer success with customer service! CS differs from customer service in a few crucial ways:

 

  • Customer service is reactive, whereas customer success is proactive.

  • Customer service is about fixing specific, short-term problems, while customer success is about expanding the customer’s knowledge.

  • Typically, customer service doesn’t require a relationship to be formed with the customer, beyond helping them solve their problem. Customer success, on the other hand, is a project that never stops, as long as the customer is a customer.

 

Good customer success should guide the customer to their desired outcome and add value along the way.

 

WHY IS CUSTOMER SUCCESS IMPORTANT?

 

For SaaS companies, customer success has become an essential part of their business model. After all, it’s not always easy working with software. Users get frustrated very quickly if the program they’ve paid for doesn’t deliver the results they want. By educating and informing the customer, CS aims to lessen the chance of this happening and increase the chance of the customer having a positive experience.

 

Making sure the customer gets the best experience when using a product is a central tenet of customer success. But CS isn’t just good for the customer - it’s also good for the company as well. These are the benefits that a good customer success process can bring to a business:

 

1. Customer Retention

 

Happy and successful customers are more likely to be repeat customers. By making the customer feel valued and informed, CS increases the odds of them extending their contracts or renewing for another year.

 

2. Customer Acquisition

 

Satisfied customers are often the best advertisements for a business. If your customer success team is doing its job properly and delighting its clients every day, then those clients will tell others about your service. Customer success plays an important role in driving new prospects to a business.

 

3. Reduce Customer Churn

 

Good customer success is the best prevention a company can have against a customer deciding to leave its service. If a customer is happy, why would they want to leave?

 

4. Brand Promotion

 

There’s no better USP for any business than being able to say their customers are pleased with their service. CS ensures that amazing customer reviews and referrals become commonplace, meaning more material for your marketing team to use in its branding and promotion.

 

5. Profitability

 

All of the above benefits lead to just one thing - increased profits! An attentive and sustained customer success strategy means fewer customers leaving, more customers joining, better publicity for your brand and, ultimately, more cash in the company money box.

 

HOW CUSTOMER SUCCESS WORKS AT COGNISM

 

As a growing SaaS business, having a robust customer success procedure is a basic necessity for Cognism. Since we’re selling a service rather than a physical product, it’s imperative that our customers feel comfortable and confident in engaging with our technology.

 

Customer Success at Cognism:

 

  • Every customer who comes on board with us is appointed their own, dedicated CSM.

  • Onboarding sessions are arranged for every new customer.

  • Our CS team is committed to providing an immediate response to queries.

  • We assign every customer with their own customer health score. The scoreboard is updated weekly, based on feedback from the CSMs.

 

COGNISM TOP TIPS FOR CUSTOMER SUCCESS

 

If you want to use a customer success process in your business, but are unsure how to get started, then these three tips will help you.

 

1. Educate Yourself

 

A good CSM should know everything there is to know about a product or service. Education is critical - you should be able to respond to any customer query. Watch videos and read articles. Use the product yourself and really get to know how it works.

 

Remember that customer success isn’t just about fixing problems, but giving insight.

 

2. Don’t Treat All Customers The Same

 

Always personalize the experience for each customer. Get to know them - what do they want from your service? What do they need to work effectively? Ask questions of your customers - how are they using the product? Is there anything they’re unsure of or need help with? This will help to build a relationship over time.

 

Think about what the customer might need in the future, not just on the day.

 

3. Communication Is Key

 

The best CSMs adopt a helpful, can-do attitude. Always engage with your customers in a positive way. Be upbeat and speak with confidence. The customer must be able to trust their CSM and the advice they give.

 

The method of communication is also important. Some clients like to be contacted by email, while others prefer a phone call. Adjust your approach as you get to know them.

 

CONCLUSION

 

That is Cognism’s guide to customer success. Have you incorporated CS practices into your business? If so, how did you do it? What did you find useful? Customer success is still an evolving methodology, and at Cognism we are committed to sharing our knowledge so that our whole industry can grow. What are your secrets of customer success? Let us know!

 

Please feel free to contact me at joe.barron@cognism.com if you have any thoughts or comments!

Joe is the Content Writer for Cognism. He's super-passionate about start-ups, inspired by AI and absorbed in B2B. A devotee of data and a supporter of SaaS, he reads a lot and writes a lot! His goal: to turn data into information, and information into insight.