New Year’s, a time to symbolically start over. A time to right the wrongs of the past years, start fresh, and resolve to do better with whatever perceived shortcomings we have. But with most New Year’s resolutions, the excitement wears off around January 5th. At the first sight of cake or a mimosa, our resolutions easily become a distant memory.
This year, while your personal resolutions may slip, don’t let your business-related ones take a back burner. Wait, you don’t make business related resolutions? Well, this year is a good year to start, and what a better place to start than your Customer Success Program.
Here are 5 simple resolutions that you can make now that will have a real impact.
Don’t sign bad fit customers
It’s not always going to be immediately obvious when a customer falls into the category of a “bad fit” customer. As commonly said, hindsight is 20/20. Take the lagging indicators screaming at you and turn them into leading insights. Do a review of the customers that churned in 2017 or are operating in a suboptimal manner. What do they all have in common? Why couldn’t you make them successful? Don’t repeat these mistakes in 2018.
Intentional Churn is okay!
Once you’ve realized that a relationship with a customer is not a good fit and that you will never be able to make them successful, it’s important to evaluate the next steps for them. Always be smart about intentional churn, you don’t want to bankrupt the business by firing customers without a plan. The impact of keeping bad-fit customers is at times much greater than the short-term loss in revenue.
Bad fit customers have a lasting impact, they:
- Drain your resources causing a hit to productivity
- Can have a lasting impact on your team’s morale
- Live in a constant state of angst as they are not reaching ROI, and,
- Can cause an inflation in your churn numbers if they churn in an unplanned manner
Focus heavily on time to first value
Churn can happen at any point of the lifecycle, but failure to launch will rapidly escalate that timeline. Focus heavily on getting your customers to first value as quickly as possible. Review your onboarding process. Is it in its ideal state or are there areas for improvement? Is value extremely apparent in your product? Will your customer know when they’ve reached value? And most importantly, what does value mean to your customer? These are helpful things to look at when you are assessing your time to first value and creating an action plan.
Make sure everyone understands what successful customers look like
In order to have Customer Success permeate through the organization, you first have to paint a clear picture of what a successful customer looks like. The importance of doing this cannot be underestimated. Imagine you are lost in the desert, with no GPS, no cell, no map. Wandering through miles of hot and sandy wilderness (yes --deserts can be classified as wilderness, I googled it), just hoping that you were heading towards civilization and not deeper into the desert. Imagine your Product Team operating without customer feedback, or your Sales Team operating without a customer profile. This is the same as wandering directionless through the desert.
Do keep your customer at the forefront of your business
As you grow and scale, add more teams, more functions, and more complexity, the customer can seem further and further away. There is no magic bean you can plant to grow customer connection, so you have to be very deliberate about how to keep your teams in touch. Start a voice of the customer program, talk to your customers, be in touch with what success looks and feels like, and evolve to continue to meet those needs alongside them. Customers are more than numbers, more than a metric, they are the lifeline that powers your organization.
As with any goals, if you write them down you are more likely to achieve them. Some studies say that writing new year’s resolutions down increases the likelihood of success by as much as 40%. Here is where I should tell you to start off 2018 strong, go write those goals down and get hopping. But instead, I’ll say, make these small changes throughout 2018 and realize amazing results at the end of the year.
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