By: Act! Blog | 2/08/2018
You probably already know that a customer's experience extends beyond the purchasing of a product, but it might seem like there is little you can do after that point. Beyond having customer service available in case the consumer needs help, there are ways to ensure the customer experience is positive after making a sale. While there are multiple ways to do this from having an easy to use, high quality product to checking in with a customer, this post will focus on customer success.
What is Customer Success?
One of the CX trends of 2017, customer success programs ensure that clients can use and benefit from a product they purchased. Not every product needs a customer success program (CSP), but this is a good idea for items that are more difficult to use and require customer support. Instead of leaving a consumer high and dry, customer success helps ensure a good experience by familiarizing one with what they need to know to effectively use the product. This keeps the customer happy and prevents aggravation when figuring out how to operate the product.
Benefits of CSPs
There are many positives to customer success programs from showing commitment to clients and making it easier for consumers to enjoy and continue to use a company's products. Providing coaching up front also ideally would limit the number of questions customers have later. This means there are less support calls to attend to. Plus, it's easier to work with a client who recently purchased a product and is eager to learn than one who has been struggling to get an item to work and calling for support because they are fed up.
Small businesses don't have to hire a team to work on customer success as there are ways to make your whole organization work towards customer success. Customer success software can work with CRM software to track whether customers are receiving the desired outcomes from their purchases. Next is using this data to find ways to improve customer outcomes and renew sales. Who will use this data? This depends on how a CSP is integrated into your business.
Many small businesses might not be able to hire someone to focus on a CSP, so this might be a portion of one person's job. One or two people may do everything from training, on-boarding, upselling, support, renewal and more. While this method might not be ideal, a person or team becomes in tune with customer feedback. It also allows consumers to work directly with someone and form a close relationship with them. As your business grows or you offer new products, this method becomes harder to maintain.
The customer service staff could be responsible for CSPs. This works well with moderately complex products that naturally need training and support, but many companies also use this model for higher touch businesses with complicated products. CSPs are typically integrated easily into support services as these programs work in conjunction with functions a customer service staff is already responsible for.
Sometimes, CSPs are the job of a sales team and could be part of account management. This works with more simple products that require less personalization. The focus is on renewing and upselling instead of adoption or training.
The decision to make a CSP part of sales or support services dictates the tone for these programs. If you have a product that does come with a learning curve, you may need to make sure your sales and support staff are distinct. Even if one or two people are providing both sales and customer support services, this team can keep success management efforts separate from renewals and upselling.
For more about tips on customer success and improving customer experience, check out the other CX posts on the Act! blog.