Famously, there is no profitable business without satisfied customers. They should be included in the heart of your strategy and business model, too. No doubt, some of the clients may be a real pain in the neck. To keep a customer happy is the main ingredient of the customer success, yet it is getting harder and harder to achieve.
Taking benefit of multiple perspectives, customers of all industries became smarter and asked a lot of questions that bother them and want more your attention. If they don’t get it or think it wasn’t good enough - they will leave for a competitor.
Current State of Customer Service
To get started, ask yourself: How has changed customer-business relationships? And just go from there. Enjoying the numbers of options, customers use the information they find around the web. Besides, the advent of the month-to-month subscription facilitated the vendor switch. All these routes to the new level of service to keep the existing customer loyal.
The rules of customer success have changed. Despite the strategy and service team mastery level, the terms of service are dictated by the customers. Still, if you try to run things in your way, get ready to be disappointed when your customers leave whereas they didn’t receive what they wanted.
The average customer service scenario wasn’t written with these alterations, so many organizations use it and fall by the wayside without delivering an expected outcome with significant, rewarding value.
To acquire a new customer is somewhere between 5 and 25 times more expensive than keeping the existing one. Plus, increase customer retention by 5% may raise profits from 25% to 95%. According to the Gallup report, higher engagement in B2B customers drive 50% higher sales incomes and add 34% to profitability in comparison with other companies.
Bottom line: customer success strategies and tactics demand adaptations to the current customer requirements. That means if you kept your clients happy and satisfied with offered service then your company leads thriving and profitable life.
A Sneak Peek into the Average Customer Service Scenario
Speaking of a typical customer service scenario, there may be stressed a crude outline of the workshop in five points:
- Complex ticketing software (that may need additional staff training)
- All customer requests go via a single channel (a web form or online chat)
- Autogenerated issues and cases queue
- Fast work through the tickets by cheap and low-quality employees
- Reducing the cost by scaling this labor as much as possible
Crafting such a ‘sound’ strategy was a kind of a standard for a world where business rules. This was taken as a holistic approach to run processes without much care about the quality of serving clients. Perhaps, everyone has the experience of being a part of the business process - was put on hold, created a ticket, and repeated the problem almost to every employee in the company. Yet, the help or solution was delayed. It is devastating.
Customers Are an Apple of Business Eye but Why They Suffer from a Bad Service?
Naturally, companies spend a lot of time refining the quality of their service, but customer success may be sufficient without supporting a scalable multi-tenant environment. The rule is simple: help customers to resolve their issues, being satisfied and happy truly, they will promote your business faster and effectually than marketing and advertising.
Make it happen by switching customer service from an investment point into a valuable revenue center. There are no hidden tricks, but the obvious thing - customers with positive experience buy more, refer their friends, show tolerance if something goes wrong, ready to share their situation for a case study, and give a promo boost to your features.
Empathy and commercial success are linked, and some of the most empathetic companies such as Apple, Virgin, and Amazon put their customers on top priorities, and therefore, have impressive growth during last years. One of their best practices is to listen to your customers’ feedback and build updates and features including the acquired information instead of worrying about what the competitors do. This is the route to revenue growth.
Usually, organizations undervalue the customer importance in the success factor. Roughly speaking, the time spent on the customers may return in monetary value. Nevertheless, it is easier to say - become a helpful friend, than actually done. The right technology and holistic strategy will aid you (without burning a pile of money.)
Master Customer Success Best Practices
Regarding service, there two things playing the vital role - the quality and the timing. It’s no longer just about presenting service. It’s about being able to reduce friction in the experience, help and retain more existing clients who will stay and bring in revenue. Here are actionable tactics to update your customer success strategy and create tangible, lasting connections with the customers.
#1 In-house Collaboration for Helping Each and Every Customer
The mission became clear: you need more than one person or team to resolve clients’ needs and requests. Leaving it to one employee or department disconnects customers and preserves valuable data from all the rest personnel. Customer success is a team sport.
Try to overcome a desire to make one person responsible for running customer service. It is vital for growing business to engage every employee to work with clients. Generally, the primary task of the customer service manager is to understand what issue or problem bother the client, find out the solution inside the company (it may be a tech team or a product manager), and give a solution to the customer.
On the other side, the product manager can get first hand the customers concerns and pain points directly without a customer success manager as a go-betweener. In the large company it’s hard to do, but in the growing business, a product manager can receive some vital information from client instantly.
There are numbers of useful solutions out there to make the interaction with a product manager and customer quick and well-organized. Still, the top priority is to deliver a fast and actionable answer. You can introduce a fortnight reporting (without adding more routine work) to keep a broader team aware of customer feedback. This simple approach will help to make everyone empathetic about the clients. Besides, the team will be more focused on the clients’ requirements and share valuable information to improve performance.
#2 Align Your Help to Customers’ Demands
Time is such a precious commodity, and customers like all the other people don’t want to waste it. For businesses that means: a client wants to get answer or solution in the easiest and fastest way. The manner may vary from customer to customer - some will call during business hours while another group will choose quick emails or Facebook messaging, others prefer to find the answer in the knowledge base.
Dozens of various surveys are run to figure out what is the best way to provide customer success service. Most of them share the same numbers: 60% are satisfied with a phone or email support, and only 26% are fine with submitting website forms.
Despite this information, many organizations choose the this as a single communication point. Don’t be naive; your customers won’t wait on hold or fill in the web form - if this problem-solving channel takes too much time (and the answer is useless), they just consider another vendor.
Instead of gathering tickets into the system, enable a few channels to deliver the most suitable communication waypoint. Create a knowledge base for a do-it-yourself support, offer service via website widgets, Facebook Messenger, Slack, email, chat, Twitter - all want works best for your clients. Customer success involves, of course, a lot of work, but the payoff will more than justify the effort. People share helpful information and engage in the conversation.
#3 Dig into the Customer’s Problem
When people get in touch with you, they have some specific questions and issues to solve. No doubt, everything should be resolved well and fast. Still, you may emphasize other problems the customers may have or opportunities they are missing out.
On the whole, showing new options for clients will make them a lot happier. But if you spent time on getting account numbers, issue details, and then a person inside the company who will answer, as well as check your email box - it’s impossible to notice more options for a customer.
To gain maximum visibility of the client before they turn to you for help, you need to invest in technology and teach the team how to use it. With this software, you may in a couple of minutes find out who is this and how you can help them. Once your customers see that service manager cares and wants to help them, the communication will be more productive.
On the flip side, growing customer success teams are considering how the spent time will benefit in customer relationships. Here you need show patience. The nature of this approach is based on retaining customers, helping them to fix problems, and reduce costs on acquiring new clients.
#4 Find a Common Ground with Customers
Talking about significant issues individually with clients is easy and delivers the new insight on your business. To employ customer success assets in full strength, adapt the tracking of this sentiment: Net Promoter Score. (It's a customer satisfaction benchmark. It measures whether your customers are ready to recommend you to a friend.) Once you implement it to conversations, it supplies the data on customer happiness rate. Plus, if the talks categorized, it shows out what problems are connected with the least satisfied clients.
With this information in hand, you can improve customer service and marketing tactics, as well as make further long-term business decisions. Let’s say some of the customers are unhappy, figure out why and fix the problem. This may save you from losing them. Either way, you should address these people to know their reason for switching you as a vendor.
It doesn't require picturing; customers are in control. Almost every industry has already felt it as the subscriptions for everything bring in more options for clients and more changes for businesses. Following a set of steps above will provide your customers with an outstanding experience while your company will be more competitive in the market. It is all because customer success comes along with your success.