15th July 2020
The success of your business depends on your customers: not just how many you have, but the quality of the relationship you have with them. While customer acquisition is of course important, customer retention is even more so because there’s evidence that it contributes to business growth. The best way to ensure customer retention is to focus on your customers’ success.
What is customer success?
While customer success sounds a lot like customer service, there is a crucial difference: while customer service reacts, customer service acts. Customer success creates systems within your business to foresee customer challenges and offers solutions to those issues before they arise, ultimately ensuring that the customer reaches their desired outcome with your product. Done well, it will set you apart from your competitors.
Selling a SaaS product is a lot more complex than selling many other kinds of products. SaaS products solve a lot of problems but they aren’t simple. Once you’ve sold your solution, your customers need to understand how to use it, and they are at risk of giving up on things they don’t understand, cannot work out how to implement or can’t get the whole team using.
You can start to see why customer success is vital to the health of your company, and why it’s important to put in place a system for follow-ups, guidance and/or training. Here are some key customer success tactics to consider.
A flexible onboarding process
As soon as a prospect becomes a customer, the onboarding process should commence. This is the first step in building a relationship with your new customer.
There are several ways that you can welcome new customers: choose a process that will set your customers on the pathway to ultimate success with your software. Options include sending them a welcome email; taking them on a guided, interactive tour of your software; sharing a series of videos; or gamifying the onboarding process.
At Cyclr, we have a structured yet flexible onboarding procedure. We make it bespoke to the customer, examining what their issue is and what are they looking to achieve. We tailor the onboarding process so we can meet that. We’ve found the most important thing is flexibility: be prepared to adapt your onboarding process to each customer’s needs.
We start broad to give a good understanding of our embedded integration platform, then we narrow the focus to see what they want to train in / what they need. We have a dedicated customer success project manager who looks after training, who brings in different team members to make sessions relevant.
Key to any customer success strategy is accessibility: customers need to be able to contact you easily.
We ensure our support channels are open and accessible so that we’re there when our customers need us. Cyclr’s preferred support channel is a Zendesk-based helpdesk, which can be found within the app. We manage appointments using Calendly, and Matt, our Customer Project Manager, will use this to book in slots with the appropriate team member.
Gather customer feedback
We don’t do surveys, because we find it hard to generalise our offering into a survey format. However we do ask customers to leave us reviews on G2 and Capterra – this is how we know that they love our customer service.
Another good tactic is to check-in periodically with personalised emails. Through the onboarding process, you will have built a personal relationship with your customers. Once this is complete, you should try and do this at least twice a year but you should also tailor the frequency to your average customer’s lifecycle. Ask your customers how they are doing and offer bespoke assistance.
Emails checking in should come from an individual, not the company’s generic email address. You want customers to feel like the email has come from a team member – so sign it, and go easy on the HTML – to make it feel more personal. You can of course automate this process, but use the above tips to make your email look tailored.
Benefits of customer success
If you get customer success right, you can expect to see a number of benefits, including:
- Improved customer retention – satisfied customers are less likely to go elsewhere
- Higher revenue – it’s more cost effective to keep your current customers than to attract and convert new ones
- Greater loyalty – satisfied customers will not only to stick around longer but also be willing to buy more of your products in the future
- Improved customer insight – you will learn more about your customers by engaging with them regularly
- Happy customers – proactively helping your customers meet their goals will make them happy with your solution
- More renewals – customers will come back if you can show them how to get the most value from your solution
- More referrals – satisfied and loyal customers will naturally generate recommendations
When your customers succeed, so do you. With customer success strategies in place, you will make their experience with your SaaS memorable, delightful, and valuable: it’s an investment worth making.