In earlier blog posts, we talked about the importance of establishing the customer journey to drive success.
The customer journey is a “roadmap” that takes the customer from point A to point B - from where they are today to where they will be in the future with the use of your product.
Within the journey, however, there will be twists, turns and a variety of steps in getting to the final destination. In the SaaS world, this activity is best outlined in the Customer Success Plan (CSP).
It is a lot like taking a road trip. The customer journey is the route to be taken while the customer success plan is the map with the directions that provide details about the different steps, activities and milestones along the way so the customer can track their progress.
A CSP plays a key role because it allows customer success teams to keep customers motivated, focused and moving forward to reach their goals.
While customers have good intentions when it comes to using a product, their time and energy can be divided between different priorities. It can be easy for a customer to postpone learning and using your product or veer off course, especially if they aren’t being held accountable or there is not a plan that ensures their success.
CSPs address this reality by defining key activities and milestones so customer success teams can achieve the following goals:
Keep the customer motivated because there is a plan to be followed and, as important, their progress can be measured.
Keep the customer focused by ensuring they complete milestones that keep them moving toward their final goals. This keeps them on course so they complete the required tasks.
Keeps the customer moving forward by connecting the customer’s original goals (why they purchased your product and what they wanted to achieve) with regular check-ins so the customer maintains their momentum.
At the end of the day, a CSP helps the customer be successful by keeping them accountable to their goals.
With a better grasp about the role and importance of a CSP, let’s look at what a good customer success plan should consist of:
It outlines the key activities the customer needs to complete and relates them to the various stages of the journey. This provides the customer with a better idea of what needs to be done and in what order so the work involved seems manageable.
It is clear and concise so it is easy for the customer to understand. You want customers to be motivated and excited, rather than overwhelmed.
It needs to be user-friendly and visual through the use of colour and other tools. This lets a customer quickly see how they are progressing and what needs to be done.
For customer success plans to work, they need to be reviewed at every check-point meeting and QBR to anchor the conversation. In some respects, it is akin to a car’s driver and their passengers pulling off the road for a pit stop to check the map on how far they have travelled and how much more they need to go before getting to their destination. Customers success teams should use these “pit stops” to re-calibrate with the customer to ensure they are still on track and motivated to achieve their goals.
CSPs are important because they are an effective tool to keep customers on track. By outlining the activities and milestones that a customer needs to achieve to reach their goals, a customer success plan keeps the customer motivated, focusing and progressing.
At the end of the day, one of the biggest benefits of CSPs is they help customers achieve their goals by keeping them accountable.
About the Author
Kia Puhm is an entrepreneurial executive with 21 years of experience leading strategic corporate initiatives. She has held executive positions in account management, customer success, services, and support at companies such as: Oracle, Eloqua, Adobe (Day Software), Intelex Technologies, and Blueprint Software Systems. Kia has pioneered the art of Customer Experience by leading businesses through the transition to customer-centric organizations. Her methodology provides clients with a disciplined and sustainable approach to increasing customer lifetime value & loyalty.Follow on Twitter More Content by Kia Puhm