SaaS Tattler Issue 68

December 9, 2015 Matthew McLaren

Issue 68 - Are you a Customer Success Hero?

Being a Customer Success Hero isn’t easy. Sometimes is hard enough to manage yourself, let alone the success of your customers. With that being said, we have to commend Customer Success professionals for the great job that they do! In this issue of the SaaS Tattler we break down what it takes to be a Customer Success Hero.

You’re a Customer Success Hero, Now Get the Shirt! For a limited time we are offering a free Customer Success Hero shirt for anyone who attends a public demo.

Tactics to Decrease SaaS Churn Rate & Build Advocates

The idea of turning customers into advocates isn’t about posting their logo on your website but is about investing in resources to help your customers become successful beyond your product or service. In this article, Luke Summerfield, Partner Project Manager at Hubspot, shares some strategies to turn new customers into brand advocates.

Invest in a Dedicated Customer Success Coach

One of the best investments to make to help decrease churn rate and increase customer advocacy is to have a dedicated customer success coach that is available and being proactive in engaging current customers.

Along with the initial onboarding, this coach would be responsible for building an on-gong, deep relationship with customers and serve as a single contact at the company that the customer can contact specifically for help on how to maximize their use of the tool.

They can help review customers who need help with product usage or have not logged into the tool for a certain period of time and contact them to help coach them along to get them back using the tool properly.

Additionally, this coach can help develop the relationship with customers by engaging in social listening. He/she can create streams with customer contacts and really get to know them and interact in a friendly, personal way.

Lastly, a success coach should be responsible for engaging and working with those customers who are getting to the end of their agreement. He/she can help review their usage, success and opportunities to improve and thus play a critical role in the renewal process.

Understanding Your Customer's Desired Outcome

You know that success looks like for you but do you know what success looks like to your customer? It’s not easy to answer that question and most often your customer would struggle to answer that question. Lincoln Murphy explains that to understand what your customer needs to be successful, you need to understand their desired outcome. Prioritizing by outcomes allows you to focus on the right customers because they have defined their stage in the journey to make them successful.

This is where “Desired Outcome” really starts to shine as a way of thinking about Customer Success.

It’s our job to understand what the customer is trying to accomplish, but moreover, it’s our job to understand how they want to accomplish it.

And of course the airline analogy I used can play out in other transportation methods, too, but also in pretty much every product and service category.

But in technology, we’re seeing this all the time:

Enterprise software is being disrupted by cloud offerings even if on-premises products do the same thing AND there is infrastructure in place to support them simply because the cloud experience is preferred.

Products with old-feeling (Legacy) UIs are being displaced by products from smaller vendors who understand the need in certain market segments for a great, modern UI, to the point where UX trumps feature parity.

Mobile-first startups are disrupting even “modern” cloud providers as consumer desires are evolving faster than “legacy” cloud providers can – or are willing to – keep up with.

Uber disrupted the awful experience of taxis or – like in Dallas – disrupted the inefficient valet procedures at popular restaurants.

So while helping your customer achieve their Required Outcome, helping them achieve their Desired Outcome is even better.

And some people are willing to pay more for that Desired Outcome.

So… does “desired outcome” resonate better? I think so.

The Customer Engagement Model

Proactive customer engagement is a tenet of Customer Success. Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I best go about structuring that proactive engagement so that I can scale a team and provide a consistently great customer experience?” Simply put, with a good Customer Engagement Model. In this article, Nello Franco goes into detail about the key concepts of a good Customer Engagement Model.

Irrespective of whether your company provides high personal touch Customer Success or whether your Customer Success model is more self-service, your proactive engagement with customers should be governed by an Engagement Model. A good Engagement Model helps you understand: A) what the engagement “moments” are for customers throughout their lifecycle; B) who in your organization is responsible for interaction with customers at those moments; and C) what the objective or expected outcome is for each of those moments.

I’ve illustrated what that model looks like conceptually in the image below:

Customer Engagement Model

Stop the Churn: 3 ways to get more value out of the customers you already have

Although the average iOS and Android app only retains 4% of its users after the first year, Neej Gore from Boomtrain isn’t going to let that get them down. They have come to accept these high churn rates and learn from their mistakes. They have turned their learnings into actionable items and share their three best practices for reducing churn.

3. Know they’re leaving before they do

The best time to save a relationship is long before the breakup. Talk out your issues before they become problems. The same logic applies to customer relationships: once a user gets to the point of breaking up with you (churning), getting them re-engaged can be almost as energy-intensive as acquiring them in the first place. But, how do you know?

Just like with a relationship, there are subtle cues that indicate a trend towards churning, and our algorithms are sensitive (pun intended) enough to pick up on them. We look at trends in behaviors at both a macro (all users) and micro (individual behavior) level. We can help you identify customers that are giving off signals of diminished interest before they fully disengage, so you can take steps to re-engage them.

The Best of Customer Success Today

Customer data is distributed over many of your systems: CRM, Support Desk, Billing, Email, Contacts, Marketing, Project Management, and in your product’s database. Finding the information you need is a nightmare – time consuming and error prone. Amity Power Search brings all that data together into one universal search engine.

Measuring your business results can get really confusing. These three metrics, Bookings vs Revenues vs Billings, are extremely related to each other but mean totally different things.

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I need more Customer Success Managers! But I can’t convince my CFO I need more headcount”. Don’t worry, Catherine Blackmore will teach you How to Build Your Hiring Model in Customer Success.

Every week I issue this roundup of relevant articles from the customer success industry so we can learn from each other and share best practices. If you like what you read here, please consider forwarding to others. New reader? Subscribe.

Find an interesting article you would like featured in the next SaaS Tattler?
Feel free to submit them on this page.

Become a Customer Success Hero!

About the Author

Matthew McLaren

Matthew McLaren works as a Digital Marketing Manager at Amity. His passion for creative design has motivated him to explore the many uses of technology.

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