This holiday season we are sharing 12 Tips of Customer Success with the hopes that you are able to approach the new year with some new ideas and focus. Check back daily to see the new tip of the day.
Know your customer’s desired outcomes – and help them reach those goals.
In the spirit of the season, we ought not give gifts just to feel good about ourselves or showcase our personal talents. The perfect gift is one that the receiver appreciates because it’s personal, thoughtful, and, ultimately, a gift that enhances his or her life. Customer Success management is similar. We aren’t doing what we do for our own benefit, but rather for our customer’s. Give a gift of helping them along the road to reaching their own goals, and they will surely appreciate it more than another demo or Starbucks gift card.
Develop a relationship with your customers that is authentic. (hint: Authentic relationships aren’t one-sided)
We all know there’s a difference between customers and friends. And, while we aren’t necessarily aiming for friendships, we should consider treating our customers with some of the same considerations we show our friends: being ourselves and looking out for their needs. Being authentic in our customer success relationships entails representing ourselves honestly (knowing what our platforms can and cannot do, and not over promising or undervaluing) and demonstrating specific ways that our platform can help our customers with their very real needs.
Be proactive in helping your customer. Don’t wait for them to tell you what’s wrong and then respond.
Everyone wants to help you solve a problem when you confide in them. What about that friend/spouse/sibling who can tell something’s wrong without your having to spell it out? Aren’t they the best?! Anticipating our customers’ needs before they have to ask us for help should be our goal. We do this by knowing their user patterns and their goals, and by staying in regular touch with them. Our goal is to know our customers’ pain points before they do, and to provide support and specific problem-solving proactively. We can do this with a robust Customer Success Management tool like Bolstra’s (request a demo). The gift of being proactive is one that will definitely be appreciated by our customers.
Be respectful of your customer’s time.
It’s a busy season. Need I say more? In reality, it’s always busy in sales and customer success realms. And, nobody can afford to have their time wasted. The best gift we can give our customers is to be available, prepared and concise. Don’t miss calls, and don’t spend time catching up or looking for information. Come prepared and your customer will be grateful for your respect of their time and your ability to meet their needs.
Demonstrate efficiencies and be concise.
Efficiency is a great gift to our customers. When we can make their world easier by showing them a more efficient way to do something, we’ve increased the likelihood of loyalty on their part. This goes hand-in-hand with being respectful of our customers’ time. Not only should we be mindful of their time when we meet, but we should seek ways to demonstrate how our product can help them be more efficient, and do so in a concise, simple manner. When our customers see our platform as a way to simplify their lives, they are appreciative.
Think big picture and long-term when suggesting adjustments. Don’t be shortsighted or use the bandaid approach.
Change for change’s sake is just plain old annoying. When we see adjustments that we believe our customers can (and should) make in using our platform, take a moment to assess the long-term implications of the changes. There may be times when a simple bandaid is all that’s needed, but before we make that recommendation, be sure we’ve thought through the long-term implications of those changes. Having to come back with another bandaid fix in a few weeks only demonstrates our short-sightedness. Adjustments should be made with a long-term approach in mind. Appreciating that our customers aren’t in their business for the short-term is a gift that keeps giving.
Seek to become empathetic with your customer.
If it’s not in your nature, consider taking empathy training classes. Being empathetic with your customer will go a long way in building a long-term, fruitful relationship. If you think about it, you actually DO feel their pain. You know that your customers’ frustrations with your platform equate to a diminished trust in you and your company. Instead of viewing this reality as a threat to your success, consider it an opportunity to recognize and validate their concerns, and then provide a solution that helps them advance toward their outcomes.
When possible, create consistencies for your customer so that they come to rely upon your platform – and trust you.
Our customers looks to us for best practices in using our platform. We know the platform and its capacities best. They’ve trusted us to help them use our platform to do their job better. Sometimes, we see inconsistencies in how they are using the platform across accounts or throughout their organization. Anytime we can help create consistencies that will move them closer to realizing their own outcomes, we’ve given them a gift that will result in long-term ease and operational efficiency.
Whenever possible, minimize points of friction for your customer
What are those little things that are slowing things down for your customer? Is it a learning curve issue? An internal resources issue? A group dynamic? Whatever it is that’s impeding their ability to glean the most satisfaction from your product, find a way to help fix it. The little things that get in the way of realizing true value add up to big things that result in brand disloyalty. It’s your job to help them over those humps, even if it’s uncomfortable.
Be candid. Customers will always appreciate honesty over pleasantry. (That said, be honest with tact when possible)
We all want to know when we have spinach stuck between our teeth, even if we blush when a near stranger points it out. Moving forward, we smile more freely. The same is true in Customer Success. Our Customers want to know when there’s a glaring impediment to their success. They just don’t want it publicized. Our job is to find opportunities to point out the spinach without drawing attention to it. It’s a gift when done right. It’s an insult when done without tact.
When you say you’re going to do something – do it.
There is no greater gift we can give our customers than reliability. If they’ve invested in us, we owe it to them to be there for them. Whether it’s an onboarding training or a quick user question, our customers need to know we are there for them. Even if the timing isn’t right, we should have immediate feedback prepared so that our customers know when we will be back in touch. A reliable CSM tool like Bolstra’s is a critical piece in helping us manage our availability and ensure we do what we say we’re going to do for our customers.
Use a top-notch CSM platform (Bolstra’s) to manage your relationships and provide you with the ability to do #s 1-11.
The greatest gift we can give our customers is honing our own skills so that we are consummate professionals. A CSM tool that’s designed by and for Customer Success Managers is essential in helping us do our jobs. Bolstra’s platform guides you through a series of best practices to engage with your customers, quickly and easily manage your work, and drive you toward helping your customers meet their desired outcomes.