The emergence of a cloud philosophy in the software space has greatly attributed to the rising importance of Customer Success, especially within SaaS companies. According to an interesting study made by Gartner, ‘89% of businesses compete through the level of customer experience they’re able to deliver.’ Ergo, it becomes imperative for companies to ensure that customer support becomes a cornerstone not only as a section within the company but as a culture that runs across the corporation.
In the light of our previous article of this series, where we have discussed the significance of having a strong customer support system in a B2B SaaS company, this article will shed light on how to be successful in establishing a flawless customer success process within a company. In the following paragraphs, we spoke about certain ways your SaaS Company can leverage to augment the game of customer success software. Let us take a deep dive into the Modus Operandi.
Customer Service Department – A growth driver, not just an afterthought
Any business’ survival predominantly depends on a loyal customer base. SaaS companies depend on recurring customers; one thing that produces a recurring customer is their happiness quotient which is directly affected by a well-informed customer service department. According to Accenture, ‘$1.6 trillion is lost by companies in the United States due to customers switching as a result of poor customer service.’ Therefore, companies should look at their customer service departments as growth drivers and not something that just a division that is in place for rescue management. Investing in the right amount of time, effort, and money in building an outstanding customer service department will positively promote customer success.
Most big players in the SaaS space believe that most of their new customers come from their old customers. It works in the way of an unplanned referral program where the company is at the receiving end of incentives. If you keep your present customers happy and help in driving their success, one thing that works for the company is its name relaying in the market for excellent customer service. It not only creates a positive brand image but also brings in new customers without the help of a Business Development department. Ergo, it makes even more sense to invest in an outstanding customer service department as it indirectly builds a word of mouth revenue model.
A sale is only the start of the relationship
Producing a sale and getting business to the company is just the start of a relationship whose length depends on how well all the other factors are implemented. One of the most significant factors in enriching this relationship is driving customer success. The CEO should spend far more travel time visiting existing customers than closing deals. Having a customer success manager who makes it a priority to attend to at least five customers a month also counts for a great tactic. Jason Lemkin, a VC at Storm Ventures who runs SaaS recommends hiring one customer success manager for every $2 million in annual revenue. This helps in increasing the lifetime value of a customer and brings about a champion change. According to Bain & Company insights, ‘Businesses that deliver better customer experiences obtain revenues between 4% and 8% above their market.’
Adding a method to this madness is important
Taking smaller steps towards building a process-oriented customer service department reaps big fruits in the long run:
- Since customer feedback comes through a variety of channels including emails, calls, texts, etc., designating a first official channel like a live chat to get in touch will help in getting the communication channels under control.
- Create primary email templates to answer the most common questions, set up a post-interaction NPS to confirm a customer’s satisfaction. As per one of the Salesforce stats, ‘75% of customers desire a consistent experience regardless of how they engage a company, e.g. social media, in person, by phone, etc.’
Creating a culture of customer support goes a long way
When it comes to customer success, ownership is something that every company must embrace across departments, and this goes above and beyond the CSM role alone. The marketing department can be incentivized and should be asked to include the customers in their marketing campaigns; rather than solely focusing on prospecting new businesses. It is a good practice to involve customer interviews, feedbacks, and their opinions while creating the next marketing message.
When it comes to the product team, give them a free hand to directly communicate with the customers to get their honest responses about what they like/dislike about the product. Coming to finance and administration, the team should be guided with proper insights for transforming an otherwise complex invoicing and legal process into an easy method throughout the organization. Simply put, each department should have well-set metrics and guidelines to ensure that its qualitative goals regarding achieving customer success and enhancing the customer experience, are met.
Customer Education helps in customer retention
While content marketing and content analysis does help customers in terms of insights and learning; customer education goes much beyond that. Setting up customer user groups & meetups, providing resources on webinars that focus on in-depth customer case studies, chalking out templates for their internal handling, configuring hands-on learning guides, conducting training seminars and certification classes, etc., are some examples of industry-validated customer education processes. This focus will accelerate not only your customers’ likelihood to continue doing business with your SaaS company, but they will likely invest even further if they know they are the priority and the lifeblood of your business.
Dedicate a team to direct your customer success story
A reactive customer support model is what companies stick by forever and more. However, times have now changed. Companies are now setting up specialized Customer Success Teams whose pro-active nature and the ability to predict your customer’s potential problem are bringing out great results for the company. At the end, you need your customers to be successful if you want your SaaS product to succeed. So, an investment in a customer success team can be an invaluable boost to your bottom line.
A robust customer support framework backed by a competitive customer success team ensures that your customers are deriving the desirable business outcomes from your SaaS product with minimum interruptions, downtime, and glitches. The company must understand that customer support is not a ‘one-suit-fits-all’ thing, and every client with tailor-made resolution according to his/her persona. Driven by robust customer support at its core, a company can do wonders by being able to reduce churn, increase the uptake of upgrades and boost the bottom line.
Jeff Bezos has rightly put it in words: “If there’s one reason we have done better than our peers, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience.”