Businesses of all types and sizes in every country of the world are experiencing the same tendency - growing takes more efforts now than it did some time before. What’s the reason? Well, people have never before had an easy access to so much information and such a great versatility of choice as they do now.
This has posed a serious challenge for businesses which strive to keep growing. The point is, no matter how professional and successful your sales and marketing efforts are, they aren’t enough. Customers are free to change vendors, cancel their paid subscriptions and turn to your competitors anytime as most contracts are now paid monthly, not annually. Consequently, customer acquisition costs creep up and it’s becoming clear that retaining existing customers is much more profitable than fight tooth and nail to bring in the new ones.
So, ensuring customer success is the new growth opportunity for businesses. And it should be seen as an investment, a revenue generating channel, not an expense.
Why Caring about Customer Success Makes a Difference?
To start with, what actually is customer success? In a few words, it is a function in a company that is directed at helping customers be as successful as possible when using its product or service, which improves customer lifetime value and means more profit for the vendor.
Why Customer Success matters?
Before the Internet got widespread, at the turn of the 21st century, sales was the most important growth asset for businesses. Annual contracts kept customers locked in, and therefore customer service and support weren’t the primary areas of attention.
Later on, when the Internet opened up the access to information, the key role was taken over by marketing. Since people started doing their own research before making the final choice, marketers engaged into a whole bunch of new activities to win the attention of the audience and generate new leads. Back then, acquiring new customers was cheap, therefore businesses didn’t bother much about customer retention.
Today, the situation has drastically changed. With more options at hand than ever before, customers’ demands for quality service and attention have grown. Since more and more companies are switching to freemium pricing models and monthly fees, long-term contracts aren’t serving as a protection against customer churn.
What is more, the level of trust to marketing and sales professionals is decreasing. As a result, reaching potential customers through virtually every channel is becoming more and more expensive, and it costs a lot more to drive them down the funnel towards the purchase. This is the turning point that has made many businesses pay more attention to keeping their existing customers happy to make them return for more. According to Harvard Business Review, bringing in a new customer can be 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one”, so the cost-effectiveness is quite apparent here.
Customer Success = Exceptional Customer Support?
Businesses are often at a loss as to where to start their way to ensuring customer success. This mission is often confused with providing great customer support, but these terms don’t mean quite the same things. Let’s see what the key differences are.
Customer support is the reactive function, its goal is responding to customers who have issues with a product and helping them solve it.
As opposed to the reactive support, customer success managers’ mission is to be proactive to help customers get maximum value from the product with the least number of bumps on the road. Their task is to understand the needs of each specific customer and help meet them, which also provides opportunities for upselling, cross-selling etc.
For instance, members of the support team often witness the same problems on a constant basis, but organizations seldom take efforts to find and fix the fault within the product that causes the issues. And this is an opportunity for customer success team to make improvements for mutual benefit.
So basically, customer support and customer success are working towards the same goal, but taking different paths.
Well, in fact, customer success doesn’t start from hiring a great CSM team - it is in the customer-centric attitude. The companies that provide a good knowledge base, good documentation, timely issues handling, exceed client expectations and grasp any growth opportunity don’t need a Customer Success department - they’re already working on it.
So, demonstrate your care for the customer success - and yours won’t take long to arrive - accompanied by increased profits and numerous advocates willing to recommend your business free of charge, because they just can’t keep silent about their great experience with your company.