10 Key Considerations for Customer Success Management
What is Customer Success Management? Is it the measurement of how happy your customers are? Or is it knowing what your customers need at all times and being able to deliver value to them by doing things that help them reach their desired outcomes?
If you’re shopping for a Customer Success platform, you might think it’s the former. Many of the current technologies that are promoting themselves as Customer Success software focus largely on measuring customer health. These Customer Success tools have powerful analytics capabilities and can tell you a great deal about the status of each of your accounts.
That’s not Customer Success Management. That’s Customer Data Management or Customer Success Measurement.
Customer Success Management is the gritty part that happens behind your customer data. It’s what you’re doing with your customers on a routine basis that impacts that health score and user data. And, done right, it’s the consistency of delivering those best practices at all times. This requires a Customer Success software that facilitates and manages the work CSMs do every day to deliver ongoing value to their customers.
Customer Success Management isn’t Customer Success Measurement. Consider the following Dos and Don’ts of Customer Success Management while thinking about the role that a platform can play in supporting Customer Success Managers:
- Operationalize seamless handoffs from sales to CS
Handoffs are a place where customer goals can get lost, and relationships start off bumpy. Bridging the potential gap between Sales and Customer Success can be done with excellent communication and a software that provides full transparency into the account for both business units, thus minimizing the risk of fumbles during the handoff.
- Segment your customers
Not all customers are the same, but there are similarities among them. Find the most important attributes for segmentation–ACV, industry, geography, size, maturity, etc. Then establish best practices for meeting those types of customers. No need to reinvent the wheel for each customer. Rely upon proven practices, and be flexible when you need to be. A software that helps you operationalize those best practices is an asset for segmentation.
- Pre-draft standardized communications (templates)
This is a simple time saver. Once you know that you will be sending welcoming emails, scheduling QBRs, and getting permission for surveys, spend the time to hone these communications to their best. Using them each time will save you time and allow you to use your extra time to take on more customers! Look for a Customer Success platform that allows you to easily send templated emails.
- Define customer lifecycle(s) that reflect customer journeys
Want to really streamline your customer success workload? Take the time to define customer lifecycles for the different segments of your customers. This will allow you to refine your delivery, and the tasks associated with it (even better than you already do). It will also give you another line of sight into the health of your customer and their path toward renewal. Customer Success platforms that don’t incorporate customer lifecycles fail to provide the long-term view of your customer and don’t fully support proactive engagement.
Listening to our customers both quantitatively and qualitatively is a guiding principle of Customer Success Management. Customer Success platforms that provide customized health scoring capabilities are a great asset in being able to “listen” to your customer through what they say and do.
- Ignore Trends
When you identify certain behaviors among your customers, pay attention. Whether it’s usage patterns or vocalized concerns, these trends can (and should) be addressed when defining delivery best practices. Be agile. Make adjustments as you analyze trends. Ideally, you can begin to make predictions, and those predictions can serve as triggers for managing your work. These triggered workstreams are integral to a Customer Success platform.
- Just check-in
Your time and your customers’ time are valuable. Don’t waste either with phone calls or e-mails that require your customers to stop what they’re doing to think critically about your solution, or even just to chat. Plan meetings that are concise and valuable for both parties, and have agendas that reflect established priorities. Use a Customer Success platform to know when to engage with your customer, and then use templated agendas to ensure consistency in your experiences.
- Dismiss health scores
But don’t think that a single NPS score means that everything is fine OR that you’ve lost the opportunity for a renewal. Health scores should be well thought out algorithms that reflect what your company really wants to know about your customers. If they are, then they’re worth paying attention to. Without accurate and customizable health scoring capabilities, a Customer Success platform cannot optimally support doing the right work at the right time for the right customer.
- Be a one-trick pony
Face it. Your job is multi-faceted. You must be both product-wise and relationship-savvy … and every combination of the two skill sets in between. Don’t over-focus on platform capabilities while failing to develop relationships that will lead to greater trust. Both are important in securing long-standing relationships.
- Isolate yourself
What you learn in your work is vital to the organization as a whole. Even if best practices are standardized, you will continue to learn new and better ways to manage your work and deliver better. The rest of your organization will be stronger when you bring those ideas to the table. A Customer Success platform that supports cross-functional collaboration is extremely helpful in breaking down these silos and encouraging innovation that will better serve customers.
Customer Success Management involves a delicate balance of data analysis and delivery. One without the other is ineffective. A platform that supports one without the other isn’t beneficial to scaling your operation. Analytics are only reflections of the work you do. Spending too much time studying red, yellow and green takes you away from the important work of tending to your customers. Managing the vital tasks of Customer Success that actually delight your customers should be the cornerstone of your work, and investing in a Customer Success platform that makes it easier to manage this work is worth it.