Building your customer success dream team
One of the reasons we created Nudge.ai was to help sales pros better understand and leverage the strength of relationships with their prospects and leads. Which is why we’re also very interested in the notion of Customer Success (CS) and how it impacts sales. CS is top of mind now that companies compete on customer experience, right from the moment buyers sign up.
So if you’re looking to create a CS team that’ll have a high impact on your customers and generate a positive experience for them, keep reading.
What Is Customer Success?
People with “Customer Success” in their job titles haven’t been around for long, but they’re becoming pretty important for successful companies. Think of them as sales people who aren’t focused on selling. Or as support people who don’t deal with just any old inquiring customer.
Okay, so what do Customer Success teams actually do? Well, at a basic, business level, they reduce your company’s churn rate or turnover rate. It has its roots in SaaS companies who want to reduce monthly churn with their subscribers, but today it’s being used by many companies. They use it to manage their overall customer experience, regardless of what they sell.
Why Customer Success Works
Customers will stick with you if you have the team, processes, and tools in place that ensure they continually find value in your service quality and product. And you thought it was all about the product, right?
In order to keep them as a customer, you have to be on the lookout for any opportunity to create a positive, useful experience for them. Which means your entire organization must be aware of CS principles in order to take action when needed.
How to Instill Customer Success Values in Your Organization
Every team in your organization must be a customer-first team, knowing precisely how they can create that positive customer experience and keep customers coming back. Use these principles to ensure your organization maintains a high customer satisfaction level.
1. Customer Success comes first – even if you don’t work with customers directly. No matter the team, your central mission is to drive customer success.
2. Design your organization around customer needs. Teams should be defined on the type of value they’re delivering to the customer, not based on the value to your company. Everyone brings value to the customer, whether it’s someone with direct contact with them or someone designing or marketing your products to them. It’s all in service of the customer needs.
3. Ensure your teams have autonomy. That is, the leaders of each team in the organization should have the full autonomy and all the resources they need to complete meet a customer’s need. This reduces the number of hand-offs between teams, which can decrease customer success.
4. Be specific on who customers can ask for what. When customers know exactly who to ask for help or information, they’re happier. You’re happier when you eliminate duplicate activities from your day so you can focus on what you do best.
5. Identify high-potential leaders and give them more responsibility. You know those star colleagues who are amazing? Invest in them and watch them contribute even more to the company.
6. Maximize coordination among post-sales teams. That way, the teams that DO have direct contact with customers post-sales know exactly who’s doing what and they provide a seamless experience to customers, regardless if they’re brand-new or simply upgrading their product offering.
Customer Success Activities
Now that you know what CS is and how to bring it to your organization, it’s time to start thinking about job activities and/or skills. Notice how I said “activities” and “skills” rather than “roles” or “job titles”? That’s because CS roles come in all shapes and titles, so it can be a little restrictive to just talk about titles.
For example, people working directly with customers of a tech product may need to have particular tech skills to help set them up properly the first time they use your products. People involved in creating training or onboarding documentation need another set of training or customer education knowledge to create those docs. You see what I mean?
Some companies create a CS organization based on what they want their customers to achieve, such as “faster onboarding” or “on-demand solutions”, while others have a dedicated CS team that guides customers through the process regardless of the team they’re dealing with.
Sample CS activities
- A CS manager translating business objectives into real change and ROI for your customers and also may:
- Conduct strategy sessions for new customers to identify their business objectives and success criteria for onboarding.
- Create “success plans” to define, drive, and demonstrate value to the customer (useful for internal teams as well as upper management.)
- Sales teams may guide customers through their decision on a renewal by demonstrating the value to the customer is = so far or on a new sale/upsell by educating the customer on the value they could achieve. Activities may include:
- Working with customers on an ROI assessment of what they can achieve with your product.
- Participate in business reviews with upper management to learn more about how to drive additional value with customers through strategic discussions with them.
- Onboarding teams in leading customers through a structured process to achieve a defined set of business objectives. They may:
- Design the content and structure of onboarding programs (either standard programs or custom ones created per customer).
- Prepare for and participate in sales to post-sales handoff meetings.
- Create and manage customer statements of work and onboarding, especially ones that are lengthy or complex and must be managed separately.
- Guide and participate in user testing and end user training preparation.
- Coordinate product setup and final handoff to the customer, ensuring comfort level of customer with your product.
We like the idea of instilling customer success throughout an organization in order to help everyone keep their “eyes on the prize”. Regardless of how you implement it at your company, just remember that creating a customer-focused organization can only bring you good things. More engaged employees who understand precisely how their work impacts the bottom line and customers who feel valued every step of the way.
Are you ready to dive into customer success? Or are you using it already in your organization? Share your experiences in the comments as we’d love to hear more about it.