Updated: Oct 10
Key strategic advice from Customer Success industry experts
Q: What happens when you ask your industry colleagues, customers and co-workers to recap their year and share their knowledge of delivering Customer Success?
A: You get an awesome response from proven Customer Success professionals, generously gifting their insight and experience. Take a moment to look at what our 14 experts have to say and we guarantee that there will be information here that you can put into practice and will help you deliver even more to your customers and to your business in 2020.
/ Director of Customer Success, Gainsight
Define what Customer Success means to your customer.
2020 has to be the year that we really define what 'Customer Success' means. Each customer will have a different opinion on what they are trying to achieve from your product, service or solution (i.e. their desired outcome); without a proper understanding of how they will be objectively holding you accountable will leave you susceptible to poor NPS, downgrade and churn. Build Success Plans based on these goals and be zealous in your pursuit to make it happen - ensure that you continually demonstrate value and use Executive Business Reviews to "sanity check" your understanding and whether the targets are still valid.
/ Vice President - Sales, Salestrip
Everyone needs to know what Customer Success means.
Ensure everyone in your organisation understands what Customer Success means to your business and your clients. Customer Success is something we are all responsible for.
/ Vice President - Customer Success, Platterz
Your Playbooks need to be living documents.
Developing playbooks for sales, customer success and customer support teams ensures client-facing teams act with intention and consistency to create the ideal customer experience.
This exercise forces the team leader to walk a day in their team’s shoes and see if their prescribed actions actually make sense out in the wild.
They are meant to be a roadmap for individuals to understand the why behind each activity and help set expectations of what success looks like in their role. They should be living documents that are constantly evolving as you learn and should include scripts, talking points, policies, standard operating procedures
and best practices.
If you don’t have established playbooks for your teams that you are continuously improving,
/ Vice President - Delivery, ITequality
The customer is not always right!
/ Chief Technical Officer, Precursive
Set expectations and provide a plan.
Small improvements like this in the way we communicate with customers has a huge effect on how smoothly an onboarding will go. We need to be clear about what is about to happen and how we will engage with them and how they can engage with us.
Having a shared plan will remove a huge amount of anxiety around what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen and who is involved. It's easy to assume everyone knows.
Make sure that your kick-off call ends with a mutually agreed action plan. You can set the expectation that this is just a plan and therefore subject to change, but the absence of a shared plan only increases the risk of the customer failing to recommunicate to internal stakeholders or even simply forgetting their actions and next steps.
More around this can be found in the B2B Customer Onboarding Handbook.
/ Author, Product-Led Growth
Free trial or freemium is the new way to sell SaaS products.
The way we sell SaaS products has changed. If you haven't noticed already, people aren't jumping up and down to sit through a long sales demo with you anymore. The modern buyer wants to try before they buy. Having a free trial or freemium model is a necessity if you want to dominate your market.
/ Head of Growth, Breadwinner
Give your teams the right tools
This way they can spend less time on project management and more time focusing on their Customer's Success. It's a win-win situation!
/ Chief Customer Officer, Spryker
Forget B2B, this is about P2P
Never mind all this B2B stuff - customer success is about a P2P (person to person) mindset. Engage in a meaningful way with your customers
/ Customer Success Manager
The first 90 days with your customer are critical.
Use this short window when they’re most excited about your product to earn their trust. Deliver that and you have a customer for life. But drop the ball or neglect them and you’ve missed your chance (forever...).
/ Director of Customer Success, The Predictive Index
A human-centered approach pays
Remember, it's not the CEO who signs your check, it's your customer. It's critically important to keep a human-centered service approach when working with your customers to deliver on their goals. It'll pay dividends in the long run!
/ Chief Customer Officer, AppsFlyer
Provide value in the long term
The most important role of the Customer Success Manager is to provide value while building a long term relationship. To do this, you must listen, learn and help customers achieve their desired outcomes.
/ Founder & Managing Partner, Customer Imperative
Everyone needs to understand Customer Success
Is it clear what number your team is driving? Are you firefighting instead of engaging strategically, i.e. an extension of support? Are you doing everything correctly and just not communicating it well?
Customer Success Leaders: If people in your company don't understand what customer success is or does, that's on you, not them
/ Customer Success Manager, Precursive
Predicting churn ahead of time is the holy grail of CSM.
Collate multiple data points from different platforms - support tickets, invoicing, surveys, marketing messages; having a global view on your customers’ activity levels will give you a good indication of a potential problem in the future.
/ Chief Executive Officer, Precursive
Make sure that you have really understood the outcomes that your customer wants to realise from your product or service. It is very easy to over-emphasise the metrics or cadences that we (as suppliers) care about and lose sight of the meaningful things that the customer wants to achieve. If you can help them achieve these outcomes, sometimes they won’t care about the journey to get there.
There’s a lot to think about here but the overall message is clear: put Customer Success at the heart of your operation and everything starts from there.
We hope you find this insight valuable when it comes to planning for Customer Success in the year ahead!
The Precursive product suite helps businesses make every customer a success story, starting with better onboarding and ongoing services automation, all within the Salesforce platform.
If you would like your customers to see success faster with your products and/or services, then get in touch here. We’d love to talk.