There are a lot of competing priorities for small businesses, but one that shouldn’t be overlooked is implementing a strong customer success strategy. While driving new business and focusing on securing new customers is crucial for company growth, organizations cannot lose sight of the importance of retaining and supporting their current customers.
Customer Success as a function is relatively new as a concept, but incredibly critical to achieving both your organization’s commercial outcomes and your customers’ happiness. Done well, customer success can result in improvements to customer loyalty, increased revenue and reduced churn.
Ultimately, customer success focuses on ensuring customers maximize the value they get from an organization’s products or services. Where traditional customer support is reactive, customer success is proactive. Xero, the global cloud-based accounting software company, takes a digital-first approach to deliver customer success through education, content and community. This approach means we can support customers where they are in their journey with Xero, while still rapidly growing our customer numbers.
In order to implement an effective customer success strategy in your organization, it’s important to think about your customers and how their needs and wants may evolve over time (or already have). Below are several tips and tricks business leaders can use to incorporate customer success into their organization.
Start with a Great Onboarding Experience
The saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This holds true from a customer perspective as they determine if doing business with your organization is the right decision. Developing an onboarding strategy that is welcoming, fast and informative helps your customers unlock the value of your company’s products and services.
Onboarding strategies should be clearly defined in order to set your customers up for success right from day one. Your customers may not have a strong background on the value of your product or services, so outlining a process that guides them through understanding your business, its points of difference and setting their business up in your organization is key. Having a thorough onboarding experience is a critical building block for establishing and maintaining a great relationship.
Your organization may consider a welcome call or email to new customers, with the goal of teaching them how to use and get value from your product or service. From there, you could add tailored emails based on buyer behavior, educating them about your different products or features and explaining where to go to get help. If your organization has a long-term offering, you could create and celebrate customer-centric milestones with a digital notification, congratulatory email, or a phone call.
Help Educate your Customers
Following a comprehensive onboarding experience, the next step is to ensure the right resources are in place to continue to deliver meaningful education to your customers. The more information and resources your customers have on hand, the better they’ll understand your offerings to their full potential.
This can take many forms – webinars, one-on-one sessions, content on your organization’s website and virtual workshops are examples of educational resources your organization could offer. Your customers’ learning styles and where they are on their journey may vary, so having different offerings is essential to educate the greatest number of customers.
By having proactive educational resources, you may find demand for customer service decreases. If customers have easy access to answers to their questions, your support team will spend less time responding to repeat queries and can instead dedicate their time to expanding resources based on your evolving customer needs.
Keep Customer Content Up to Date
Producing content for your website shouldn’t be seen as a ‘one and done’ task – keeping content up to date and relevant to your customers can help alleviate confusion down the line. Basing your content on customers’ common questions should be step one. From there, it’s helpful to use analytics to determine which content pieces they are engaging with, and which content may not be as relevant or timely. Identifying these popular topics can help your organization create relevant content based on what’s important to your customers.
Technology is Your Friend
Customer expectations are rapidly changing – including increased expectations regarding how quickly they receive personalized and relevant information. Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are big enablers to deliver these evolving needs.
Adopting machine learning can help your organization build models that suggest educational resources for your customers based on their needs and where they are on their journey. This can create a more seamless experience by providing instant and better-targeted answers to their questions.
Communication is Key
Within your own organization, it’s essential to be aligned on your strategy and goals to better understand your customers and how you can meet their needs. Working with various departments of your organization – customer support, sales, marketing, etc. – helps to ensure that all areas of the business are contributing to the conversation and offering unique perspectives and solutions to growing customer expectations.
In addition to internal communication, creating a community for your customers to connect and share thoughts, questions and feedback can help alleviate back-and-forth between your organization and its customers and can create a sense of community among your customers.
Keep it Human
While technology and automation are great tactics and investments to ensure your customer success strategy is running efficiently, organizations can’t lose sight of the importance of personal connection. Becoming too reliant on technology can get in the way of personal touch, which is important in any customer relationship. Never miss an opportunity to thank and appreciate your customers – in turn, they’ll reward you with their customer loyalty – which is priceless.
A Strong Strategy for a Successful Future
The saying goes— what you put in is what you’ll get out— and that holds true with the investments you make into your customers. While recruiting new customers is an essential part of business growth, organizations can’t lose sight of the importance of retaining their current customer base and ensuring that the proper resources and tools are in place for their success.