Tips for Successful Customer Success
"Customer Success is when your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company." - Lincoln Murphy
There are plenty of fantastic blogs out there that talk about Customer Success (Lincoln Murphy being an example of one of the leaders in market), but no matter how many blogs you read Customer Success is a such a quickly growing market that new tips and tricks are surfaced daily.
Even after years of experience with Customer Success, attending the Customer Success session at the recent SaaStr Annual Conference in San Fransisco gave me some key takeaways that are well worth sharing:
Customer Success Metrics
While the key metric discussed for Customer Success is customer satisfaction (via NPS), another key metric you need to be tracking is 'Time to Self-Sufficiency'. Tracking the customers path from reliance on support from your team, to being completely self-sufficient is critical to reducing your ongoing internal team cost, and ensures that the on-boarding and education processes in place for you product are working correctly. Optimisation of these business areas should see a reduction in 'Time to Self-Sufficiency' over time.
Retention is Top Priority
Now everyone should know this one, but it needs to be reinforced. Your customer retention rate (churn level) is absolutely pivotal when it comes to ensuring a strong SaaS business model. Your churn rate directly determines your LTV (Lifetime Value) for your customer, and if you do not focus on preventing churn where possible you are simply giving away valuable revenue.
To encourage focus on driving up retention rates, try a bonus structure with your Customer Success team based on achieving company retention goals.
Have Strict Customer Management Rules
Great Customer Success is reliant on the Customer Success team having full control of the customer relationship. This often gets undermined when a customer directly contacts someone from a different team (such as sales, marketing, or even the CEO) and end up with a different answer than the one they originally had from the Customer Success agent.
This quickly leads to customer confusion, frustration, and a lack of faith in the Customer Success team. To ensure this doesn't happen you need to implement strict rules regarding customer contact - ensuring that the relevant Customer Success agent is looped in to all customer communications, and that all Customer Success data (tickets, chats etc) are easily accessible to the rest of the team.
One of the main downsides of the Freemium model is the large flow of tickets and queries from customers generating no revenue. These Freemium tickets clog up the system and result in paying customers having to wait, which in turn often leads to unhappy paying customers and reflects in the churn rate.
One way to resolve this issue is to have all Freemium ticket queries dealt with by the Sales team, not the Customer Success team. As the goal is to upgrade Freemium customers to a paid account, it also provides the Sales Team with more opportunity to up-sell the customer and close the deal.