#CustomerSuccessLooksLike… Bad Habits Turning into Best Practices

//#CustomerSuccessLooksLike… Bad Habits Turning into Best Practices

#CustomerSuccessLooksLike… Bad Habits Turning into Best Practices

By | 2019-05-09T21:41:31-04:00 March 24th, 2019|Customer Success Best Practices|0 Comments

Do you (or your team members) have some bad habits in how you engage with your customers?

  • Maybe you tend to check-in without a real agenda?
  • Or, perhaps your customers see you as someone who’s always trying to upsell them?
  • Or maybe you’re a little scattered because you have so many accounts in so many different lifecycle stages?

On the flip side, does your customer have some bad habits you’d like to help them break?

  • Maybe the roles and responsibilities for their team members aren’t clearly defined, and this makes it hard to know who to talk to about what?
  • Or, perhaps your customers aren’t coming prepared with deliverables to meetings?
  • Or, are they simply not reaching out for help when they need it, and becoming frustrated?

Customer Success remains elusive when these bad habits aren’t addressed. For your customer’s successful adoption to happen, you’ll need to convert these bad habits into best practices. The trick is how to get there without damaging the relationship. Adopting a Customer Success platform can be part of the approach to reshaping bad habits into best practices.

Start with yourself. Take some time to reflect on your daily, weekly, monthly, and annual approach to managing your customers’ successes. What habits of yours need some improvements?

  1.      Are you checking in with no preparation?
    • Having unscheduled check-ins and not knowing your customer’s usage patterns and metrics is not only a time waster, but also a potential relationship dagger. Preparation equates to caring. If you know your customer’s progress and pain points before they have to tell you, you’ve demonstrated that you care about their success, and want to make the most of your time together.
    • Use a Customer Success Management platform that gives you full visibility into your customer and triggers routine and scheduled meetings. Before your call, have a full view of your customer’s usage, full account history, touchpoints, and short and long-term goals. Never JUST CALL. Always have a scheduled meeting with an agreed upon cadence. Then your call has a purpose. An agile approach for Customer Success allows you to set short-term goals and use regular meetings to assess your progress.
  1.      Are you guilty of focusing too much on upselling your customer?
    • This is a recipe for ruin. Your customers bought your customer success tools and your services – not your cunning. Customers can smell a sales person, and the moment they do, the relationship is converted from one where expertise is expected and provided to one where there’s no real value being delivered to the customer.
    • As one of our customers likes to say, “Selling doesn’t help, but helping sells.”  Switch your focus to problem-solving and let the sales opportunities become organic. Have a focused interest in understanding your customer’s business goals, and helping attain them. Use the right Customer Success tools with a Customer Success platform to manage renewals and, if you’ve truly helped your customer solve problems, renewals will happen organically.
  1.      Are you a bit disorganized, and struggle to keep track of where all of your customers are in their lifecycles?
    • You are definitely not alone in this one. As the role and responsibilities of CSMs expands, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and disorganized. It’s a frustration to you – and to your customers – when you don’t know what to do next.
    • A Customer Success Management platform is key to resolving this bad habit. Since workflow management is at the heart of juggling the many tasks and relationships involved in a CSMs day, having a platform that automatically triggers activities based upon well-defined playbooks is a real game changer.

What about your customer’s bad habits?

This is a little trickier to address, but worth finding the best approach so that they can reap more benefits from your solution. Keep their success as your mutual goal, and changing bad habits shouldn’t be seen as personal. It’s all about achieving their stated goals.

  1.      Does the account lack clearly defined roles and responsibilities among their team?
    • Not having a clear point person and designated administrator for your solution can be disastrous for adoption. Internal confusion is not only frustrating to you, the CSM, but also to the customers themselves.
    • Dealing with this bad habit is tricky because the reasons for confusion may vary. Rather than trying to problem-solve internal tensions, it’s best to approach this habit as part of your kickoff so that it’s clear to them that success will be elusive if there’s not strong ownership and leadership within. Don’t let this one sprout. Let your customer know as soon as possible that you need a single point of contact for administration and decision-making. Document as much of their “org chart” as you can so that you know that if a pivotal person leaves, you aren’t lost about how to keep connected with the account. Using a templated agenda for kickoff in which you ask the questions about roles and responsibilities, and documenting the answers can make this bad habit avoidable.
  1.      Does your customer forget to do their homework and come unprepared to meetings?
    • This affects the bottom line. Without preparedness and sticking to timelines, the ROI for the purchase gets extended out, which ultimately might not reflect well on the person(s) responsible for purchasing the solution.
    • Using a Customer Success platform that has the capabilities of sending automated e-mail reminders about agendas and expectations is one way of nudging customers. Consider a gentle reminder of the implications a delay in deliverables causes (project timeline, delayed ROI etc.).  Take care to deliver this message using “our” and “we”, rather than “your” verbiage. For example, “This will likely cause our schedule to move back a little, but let’s see what we can do to recover.”
  1.      Does your customer fail to ask for help and let frustrations fester?
    • When we don’t know what’s bothering our customer, we can’t help. If we only connect at scheduled intervals and unaddressed issues have arisen, adoption can slow down. Moreover, customers can transfer their frustration with the tool into frustration with us.
    • While we ideally want to control the cadence of communication with our customers, we do have to recognize that unscheduled needs arise. We must instill a level of confidence in our customer that our team is always available. If they can’t resolve their issues with your support team, then let them know that you are there for them. Their success is your job. Consider using your Customer Success platform for triggering e-mail check-ins as part of your cadence with your customer. This may be just what they need to know you’re there for them.

Because Customer Success Management is all about making your customer successful, bad habits are only obstacles to your mutual goal. Dealing with some of these habits that adversely impact the attainment of their goals is important. In many cases, these behaviors can be avoided by addressing them proactively as part of your standard operational approach to your customer relationships.

About the Author:

Haresh is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Bolstra. Haresh is a veteran B2B SaaS industry executive having served in key roles with emphasis in product strategy, sales and marketing.