Every business depends on its sales and marketing teams to bring in new customers and drive revenue growth. Yet no matter how talented those teams are, they can’t sustain your company’s continued growth on their own. At a time when customer acquisition costs are high and customers have an endless array of options, you also have to invest in customer success.
Customer success is about building strong relationships with your customers and helping them succeed by using your product. It’s about anticipating any challenges or questions they might have and proactively providing solutions throughout their entire customer life cycle. Ultimately, if you can help them to be successful, your customers will wind up staying with you longer and paying more as you upsell and cross-sell to them over time. Not only that, when you focus on customer success, your customers are more likely to become your advocates, helping your business grow even more.
Since it’s also much easier to retain an existing customer than to attract a new one, customer success is critical. Let’s look at a few steps you can take to make it a cornerstone of your business.
Building a customer success team
Building a customer success team shows your customers that you are serious about helping them reach their goals and that you can be trusted to support them over time. It’s important to point out, however, that a customer support team isn’t the same thing as a customer success team. Customer support teams help customers when they have problems by providing short-term fixes. Customer success teams, by contrast, proactively anticipate customers’ needs and focus on delivering long-term solutions.
While this is an important distinction to make, it’s also worth noting that when you’re building a customer success team, your customer support team might actually be a good place to start. After all, they know your product, are familiar with common customer roadblocks, and have years of experience working directly with your customers. The foundation is there, you just have to reorient their focus so that it’s on delivering long-term customer success rather than short-term customer fixes.
Mapping the customer journey
Once you have a customer success team in place, the next step is to map out the customer journey and identify where your company can have an impact on success. It’s important to understand how, why, and when customers are using your product and where there can be friction in the process. For example, maybe using your product is completely seamless until the customer has more than 100 employees, expands overseas, or adopts some new technology that isn’t compatible with yours. Or maybe after a year of use, your customers could benefit from upgrading to a more advanced package. For every scenario or milestone that poses a challenge, identify a customer-focused solution.
It helps to consider things like what the desired outcome is at each step of the customer journey, what would benefit your customers most at each of those steps, and where your product might be falling short in terms of meeting their needs.
Developing and distributing successful content
While you might associate content with marketing, never underestimate how valuable a tool it can be in customer success. In both cases, it’s about identifying the challenges your customers face and then developing content to address them. However, while marketing content often focuses on showing the value of your product to potential customers, with customer success you want to show existing customers how to get the best out of your product and how to use it to achieve their goals.
Whether it’s an ebook or an infographic showing how to troubleshoot common problems or a blog post or email outlining key features, delivering useful and innovative content to your customers that supports their use of your product will keep them on the path to success.
Your customers’ success equals your success
While it’s incredibly important to focus on marketing and selling to prospective customers, it’s just as important to look after your customers post-sale. By driving effective customer success in your organization, you can maintain longer, more mutually beneficial relationships with your customers that will help fuel growth while setting your business up for its own long-term success.