Maheen Memon is the Director of Customer Success at Nulogy. Throughout her career in Customer Success, she’s had the opportunity to try a couple of things and has picked up some life-saving best practices along the way.
We invited Maheen to the Amity office to present at one of our monthly Customer Success events. Maheen dropped 8 nuggets of wisdom on us and we couldn’t not share them with you.
Tip #1: Customer Success Managers are the window to the customer’s soul
Weak relationship building accounts for 16% of customer churn. Customer Success Managers have a real opportunity to make your company more than a simple vendor, but rather, a business partner. Establishing a strong relationship, from both a personal and a business standpoint, can help you gain access to strategic information which will help you be a better ally.
- Demonstrate capability and effectiveness in order to develop trust.
- Show dedication to the customer’s successes, as well as their concerns.
- Engage with your customers on various channels to develop a culture of responsiveness.
Tip #2: First impressions matter
Poor onboarding results in 23% of customer churn. You’ll want to start off the right foot with high-level engagement from the first day of the relationship. The partnership should be nurtured as soon as a new customer is onboarded with your organization.
- As a CSM, get involved in the sales cycle. This gives you a headstart and additional insights into the customer’s goals.
- Create a handoff playbook during which the assigned CSM is identified as the single point of contact.
Tip #3: Write a success plan and stick to it
Once the initial goals of the relationship are established, keep your efforts focused and aligned. Following a success plan is the best way to mitigate churn risk in as much as it gives you a goal line to measure yourself against. It’s also a great way to guide your customers through implementation to the first time to value.
- Define implementation “success” criteria and constantly remind your customer of why they bought your solution in the first place.
- In order to do that, build a 30-60-90 plan post-implementation and make sure to remind the customer of the “success criteria” at the 90-day mark.
- Follow through with your customers and hold them accountable for their success plan goals.
Tip #4: CSMs aren’t order-takers, we are success planners
Taking orders traps CSMs into a reactive mode of interaction with the customer. Success only happens if Customer Success proactively guides customers, which can’t be done if they’re constantly responding to inbound requests. There is a real need for Customer Success to work beyond the “current issue” and look at the customer relationship holistically in the long term. This can be done by connecting the dots and having the right conversations, with the right stakeholders, and at the appropriate level in the organization.
- Partner with the customer’s senior leadership to communicate your organization’s value.
- Communicate your product roadmap regularly.
- Identify win-win situations.
Tip #5: CSMs are money makers, do not forget this!
If you’re already into Customer Success, you know that it’s 50% easier to sell to existing customers compared to new prospects. Moreover, renewals and upsells account for 70-95% of actual revenue. CSMs directly impact the top line growth of your organization, yet, they’re often treated as a cost-center.
- Tie CSMs compensation to upsells, cross-sells, and renewals.
- Set boundaries with your customer - do not become an extension of support, as this diverts attention from the growth conversations.
- Co-own the customer conversations about growth opportunities with the sales team.
- Make sure CSMs have a seat at the table for strategic planning around revenue and sales.
Tip #6: Being the voice of the customer is a Customer Success thing, and don’t let anyone steal it
Everyone in the organization wants to be the voice of the customer, whether that’s Professional Services, Support, Product, or Sales. Simply put, Sales knows the client until their sign the dotted line, Support knows the customer until the ticket is closed, and Product knows the customers you put them in touch with. But Customer Success is the only team accountable for the overall success of your customer, 24/7/365.
- Get involved in product planning.
- Involve customers in beta releases and allow them to work with Product directly.
- Ensure that Professional Services and Sales do not cut deals with the client directly, without you brokering them.
- Find effective methods to share customer feedback internally.
- If it makes sense, create a customer advisory board to get alignment with your product strategy.
Tip #7: Customer Success is central to your organization’s brand
Customer experience is driven by Customer Success, as a result, align your organization’s marketing initiatives and other external-facing content with the team’s efforts. A great product brand can make customers feel like they are part of something bigger than just a SaaS application, which increases chances of loyalty and renewal.
- Hide your organization’s dirty laundry to keep a cohesive and united front.
- Build a strong relationship with your Marketing team.
- Promote industry events to your customers.
- Share organization updates on a regular basis.
- Align your brand with what matters to your customers.
- Follow your customers on social media and cheer them up on their successes.
Tip #8: Not all customers are equal
This means you should organize your team to meet their specific needs.
Every customer has different needs, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Of course, you can’t write a brand new playbook for each account, but effective segmentation allows your organization to scale up. Behaviours vary from segment to segment, which means communication, analytics, and overall management needs to change accordingly.
- Identify your customer base, their needs, and segment accordingly.
- Monitor key success metrics by segment.
- Decide whether your tools and templates need to be differentiated by segment.
- Automate certain parts of your approach to maximize your CSM value.
- Certain segments require high touch model vs. low touch model. Build your customer engagement strategy after defining the customer segment.
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