Aren’t customers happy using your products/services? How unhappy could they be if they are using yours than the competitors? This question didn’t pop up until companies started losing clients and were trying to figure out why after the fact. Let’s look at how we can solve that.
This whole assumption seemed solid a decade back because customers didn’t put in much effort in figuring out the alternative choices and didn’t invest nor were aware of the wealth of information available online. Once companies started losing customers without any warning they stopped and started thinking about how to solve it.
This opened up an opportunity called Customer Success strategy. I call it a strategy than a department because it is something that is implemented and monitored as long as your customer base exists. It is not something that you can shut down because your company isn’t doing well.
What is the need?
- Competitive edge.
- Retain existing customers.
- Proactively predict churn and stop it.
- It saves time and money in the long run.
A critical aspect of Customer Success Strategy is to figure out how to actively engage your customers.
We can break it down into parts.
Part 1: Happy customers
- Your customers are not happy unless they provide you with referrals. This is the golden rule of a happy customer. Earlier it used to be that as long as they said they have no issues it meant they were happy, well not anymore.
- Figure out why they haven’t given you a referral yet. You will have to dig deep into the issues raised so far and move from there till you have convincing data to call up the client.
- Your talking points should be focused on your analysis of the data that you have collected as a whole.
Part 2: Okay customers:
- Why are they unhappy: Time of delivery, limited features, too expensive to upgrade, no proper interaction or follow up too many issues.
- One advantage of these type of customers is that you have the ability to immediately turn them into green and make them give you a referral.
- No secret here, they have many of the issues as mentioned above. Sit with different teams and figure out timelines and then come up with a chart for the account.
Here is what your analysis should be based upon.
- No of issues open issues to date and how many can be solved by the end of the month.
- List of enhancements and what can actually be delivered.
- Ask them what you can do for them and show them that you value their relationship and you want them to be your advocate.
Part 3: Why are they here: Churn risk
This is a question you should ask yourself. These clients need attention. The kind of attention that a newborn is given. Hand hold them and put in whatever time you have into it.
Here is a distribution of what my week looks like for these accounts. I put in 55 hours a week( only work-related does not include breaks). Try to limit the number of hours you spend in meetings to a minimum.
- 15 hours max for meetings. This would be spread out over the week.
- 20 hours for my analysis and how I am going to reach out to my most unhappy customers and 5 hours for my happy customers.
- 5 hours to craft a strategy around my analysis.
- I have about 10 hours left to communicate my analysis to the client.
This brings the total up to 55 hours.
Here is one example of how one company truly showed its customers that it cared. Keep in mind that this may not be applicable to all.
- The new Honda accord- how they targeted their audience. This is a must watch. The campaign is called ‘it starts with you‘
As you can see how they have advertised themselves about being customer centered.
Here is a general summary:
Customer Success strategy is about convincing your company to move from being a product-centered one to a customer-centered one. You should have at least a years worth of data to support this change. Customer success has to be a proactive approach while customer support has to always be a reactive component but in a timely manner.
In most companies, customer support is always in constant touch with customers facing issues. They have a better bond with the people who use your software/product on a day to day basis.
The customer success team has to sit and understand the pulse of the customer and spend some time with the support representatives to figure out on who would be
- The best point of contact on their end.
- The one that is always reaching out to you from their company.
This would help the customer success team to establish its first touch point with the customer.