Realizing lifetime value from your customers is about generating lifetime value for your customers. That’s the central tenant of the customer success approach to business. It represents a shift away from thinking of customers as point-of-sale pursuits and toward regarding them as ongoing relationships that require continuous nurturing.

It reflects the current customer-centered economy that has encouraged customer fluidity and placed greater emphasis on the customer experience. In this environment, the only way to deliver value to your customers is to understand their business priorities and desired outcomes.

The importance of unlocking that customer knowledge has necessarily brought the role of the customer success team into a closer relationship with revenue and ROI bottom lines. So, what customer success team goals can help your enterprise generate real results?

The Top Customer Success Team Goals

Every phase of the customer journey can potentially generate results. With an emphasis on nurturing lifetime customer value, those results are measured in terms of usage rates, customer engagement, customer satisfaction, and customer trust. Success in these areas leads to a more successful renewal and upsell phase.

To help you get your year headed in the right direction, we’ve put together seven goals that can guide your efforts toward improved customer success:

  1. Reduce your onboarding time
  2. Establish a customer nurturance program
  3. Encourage high-value feature adoption
  4. Increase upsell opportunities
  5. Ensure escalation volume is under control
  6. Provide ongoing value-driven communication
  7. Focus on at-risk renewals

Reduce Your Onboarding Time

The goal of your onboarding program should be to turn new customers into recurring customers, quickly progressing the customer from the promise of the sales event to the first realization of value. The faster you can accomplish this goal, the sooner you can begin demonstrating ROI to a customer.

Figure out how long it takes to educate customers on your product, then strive to maintain this period across your accounts. A customer remains in the onboarding phase until they can incorporate your product into their daily workflow, so the longer it takes, the more you delay the value impact.

Establish a Customer Nurturance Program

A customer nurturance program can provide hints, tips, and advice to your customers. This could mean messaging regarding additional features or value-add ideas on operational shortcuts and the experiences of other customers.

Such engagement should be done contextually, however, not periodically so that every communication is relevant to the customer’s unique experience. It’s helpful to use a customer success platform that gathers and maintains all the customer data your company captures. The insight gained from analyzing logged interactions, survey responses, usage data, and other information should tell you exactly where a customer lies on their journey, which should then inform your nurturing efforts.

Encourage High-Value Feature Adoption

It’s not enough that a customer uses your product; they should also be using it in the right way. With a customer success platform, you can determine not only how often a customer accesses your product but which features they employ.

You should be able to determine the features that would provide a given customer the greatest value. Build your campaign around educating the customer about the breadth and depth of your product with engagements that steer them toward strong adoption of these valued functions.

Increase Upsell Opportunities

The increased importance of the customer success team in generating lifetime value for the company leads to a natural progression toward recognizing and acting on upsell opportunities. The goal is to encourage customer growth by introducing additional product features as they make sense for the customer. It is an amalgamation of the traditional fields of account management, pipeline management, and customer service. This includes identifying and acting on opportunities to expand a customer’s license count, to move them to a premium subscription, or to expose them to new product features.

Handle Escalations Promptly

Escalation events provide direct insight into your customer’s satisfaction and familiarity with your product. Your front-line is your first touch point and, as such, should be empowered to turn an escalation into the opportunity to build customer trust. Providing a timely and positive response to customer concerns is one of the most important aspects of customer success and one of the fastest ways to show a customer that you care.

It is important that escalation volume is always under control. Lengthy delays and poor responses, especially those that prompt further escalations, are one of the most commonly reported reasons for customer churn. Aim to close escalations within 30 days after the issue is brought to your attention.

Your customer success platform should provide you with an up-to-the-moment snapshot of every escalation within an account. Use it to identify at-risk accounts and prepare for future events. A comprehensive, visual representation of a customer’s journey can tell you all you need to know about a customer’s expected levels of care in the future.

Provide Ongoing Value-Driven Communication

Communication with your customer should always be informed by their business priorities and their place in the customer journey. Your campaigns should be built around insights into their product knowledge, usage, and potential value.

Try to move away from generic seasonal messaging and toward customer data-driven materials. If your customer success platform is telling you a customer hasn’t accessed your product for several weeks, contact them with “we’ve noticed your absence” messaging. If they haven’t accessed a certain feature, prompt them with messaging on how that function can help them in their daily workflow.

Focus on At-Risk Renewals

Use customer success platforms to provide one-stop visibility across customer data sources and deliver detailed information at the right time to promote proactive engagement, especially when a customer is considering renewal.

Precise customer data should provide warning of potential churn months in advance of an anniversary date. With this information at your fingertips, you can prioritize your renewal strategies around at-risk customers. React in real-time to data so you can mold your customer engagement around a long-term campaign. Your goal should be to move away from periodical, generic engagement and toward a data-based, customer-centered approach.

Customer Success Team Goals That Work

The growth of your business depends on the lifetime value you can demonstrate and generate for your customer. As such, your goals and KPIs should focus not on revenue or retention numbers but on how you can deliver value to your customers.

This year, adopt a customer success platform and get to know your customer intimately. By gathering and analyzing data generated by product usage, escalations, engagement, and more, you can build proactive goals that deliver lifetime value.