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Focusing on Holistic Customer Success

San Francisco welcomed another stellar group of Customer Success pros last week, thanks to Totango’s CS Summit. While listening to the impressive list of speakers, it was great to hear about the different ways companies are embracing CS and sharing their best practices to help others do the same.

Events like these are great for learning but sometimes it can become too easy to only focus on the shiny, new product or support experience, rather than crafting a holistic, cross-functional program. In B2B, companies need to help their customers achieve results, not just push products.

For example, these ideas can definitely work when combined with a larger dialogue about goals.

  • The CMO of the messaging app, Slack, mentioned the practice of hiring more Customer Support reps than Sales reps as a basic principle for CS. He maintains the idea that it shouldn’t all be about obtaining new logos but making the customers you already have happier, which will in turn lead to more word-of-mouth referrals, has been their personal key to rapid success. This concept is especially important in B2B, which is what we’ve even detailed in our book Failure Sucks! but certainly needs a cross-functional communication structure to disseminate info from Support to Marketing, Sales, and Product teams.
  • The rise of customer marketing also focuses on communicating with current install base to keep them successful, rather than trying to obtain new customers. SendGrid spoke about their Interesting Moments program which congratulates customers on a milestone they achieved, whether it’s a celebratory email for sending their “1 Millionth Email” or getting another round of funding. Another way of doing this is to send informational messages on new functions and features to guide users through any new steps. To help with servicing low-touch customers who make up a large portion of the customer base, Revinate introduced video tutorials and in-depth walk-throughs for onboarding and eventually when launching new features. The methodology worked so well, they noticed a 30% decrease in new support tickets, which usually spiked just after a new release. (Curious minds: this tool provided by WalkMe.)

These are important points and ideas, to be sure. But Customer Success is far more than product adoption. Just because customers are using your product doesn’t mean they are successful with it. Remember, if the objective is to create raving fans that spread positive word-of-mouth, then you’ll need more than a user-interface to drive success. You’ll need to make sure that people at all levels – from executive budget holders and decision makers, to key purchase influencers such as project managers and “power users” – are obtaining something more with your products and services. In other words, you’ll need to make sure you’re adding value, and helping the people interfacing with your company realize that value.

Do you truly understand why a specific account spent money with you? Are you helping that business achieve the outcomes that drove them to do business with you — instead of your competitors — in the first place? Or, have you just chucked products over the wall and left the notion of best practices entirely up to them? Knowing that you are the expert, how are you transferring that expertise to your customer at all levels?

The takeaway…

It’s so common to think that investing in Support or providing product “tips” will accelerate customer success, but it’s not always the case. So how do you know where to focus enhancements for the customer journey?

Begin with collecting voice-of-customer feedback, which can be tricky to do correctly in B2B.

  • What questions to ask? and When?
  • What to do if no one responds?
  • How do we action the data?

Check out this eBook for more tips on how to design your program so that you are armed with the best metrics out there.