If you think just having your customer support or customer service team in place to field inevitable issues from customers is enough to distinguish your business from the pack, you might want to reconsider. In the modern business era, where ideas like value realization and customer satisfaction are more important than ever before, your business is going to need to do a little bit more to show off your unique value proposition and retain clients.
This is because, at their core, customer support and customer service efforts depend on customers getting frustrated, then picking up the phone or hopping online to find some kind of resolution to their problem. This is a necessary function, to be sure, but relying on a reactive approach by itself is not going to win you any favors with customers.
On a deeper level, relying merely on customer support signals to those very same customers that you’re content with the experience that you’re providing them being “decent enough” and not interested in making the adjustments that can make your CX truly stand out from the rest.
It’s a too-little-too-late solution that waits for problems to happen and then tries to correct them. Even with a successful resolution, there’s still a bit of damage that has been done to the customer-business relationship. A far more effective approach is to stay proactive about customer needs and solutions. This is where customer success comes into play.
How Customer Success Changes The Game
We know that customer support, on its own, is often implemented as a way to put out fires as they occur and hope that clients aren’t so irate at the end of the process that they abandon your brand. To reiterate, it’s a necessary function for any business, but the customer success strategy goes beyond this paradigm to become both strategic and proactive.
For starters, the customer success approach seeks to understand the customer at a deep level, then accommodate their preferences and anticipate their needs before issues arrive. You might already know a bit about the importance of taking customer feedback? In a way, you can consider customer success a high-level integration of feedback into the interactions between your business and your clientele, among other things.
If they’re worth their salt, your customer success team will put forth serious effort in understanding what each of your valued customers wants to get out of your offerings, and they’ll be on the lookout for potential issues that could disrupt your clients desired outcomes. In the process of strategizing for maximum customer satisfaction, your team will ask questions like:
- What is the nature of your current customer experience?
- How can you improve your current customer experience?
- Is your current customer communication protocol adequate?
- Do you have the right informational content to aid customers?
- How do your customers consume information?
- How do they prefer to communicate?
- How often should you reach out for feedback about the customer experience?
In answering these questions, your CS team will aid in fine-tuning your processes to better fit the expectations of your customers. Your customer success team will also take a prominent role in onboarding new clients — something that’s not typically within the purview of a customer support or customer service team — and help customers hit the ground running, so to speak.
If you weren’t already aware, user onboarding plays a huge part in the customer experience and the customer’s perception of your brand. It’s in the user onboarding phase that you’re able to show off the real value that your product or service has, and when you’re able to execute properly, onboarding is where many customers have the realization that what you’re offering differs significantly from the competition. Your CS team can aid that process in five ways:
- First and foremost, customer success will “set the tone” for what your business is about, and leave a powerful impression about the way you interact with clients.
- Secondly, your customer success team will use the onboarding process as a way to showcase the value proposition of your offerings from the get-go. Just this small step can do a great deal to positively influence what customers feel like they’re getting from your products and services, and hopefully spark a long-term relationship.
- Much of the onboarding process will be dedicated to training your new users on how to use your product/service. The CS team will help make sure that learning goes smoothly and any questions that customers have get answered promptly.
- In addition to answering questions, your CS team will also be fielding feedback from customers about your business offerings and how they might be improved to better conform to client expectations in the future.
- Lastly, your CS team will be using the entire onboarding experience to provide proactive solutions to clients. With their deep understanding of your customers, they’ll be able to anticipate challenges before they occur and cut them off at the proverbial pass.
It’s important to note that your CS team isn’t just dealing with customer issues on their own either. A properly-integrated customer success team communicates with your entire organization to convey client expectations and feedback, ultimately allowing you to refine your tactics everywhere to help deliver a superior experience and win potential consumers over.
Crafting Your Customer Success Team
Customer success is a must for businesses that want to take their value offerings to the next level. It’s not feasible, however, without the right people in place to make your CS team.
There’s a wealth of advice out there on how to go about structuring said team and hiring potential candidates, but above all else, make sure you’re getting people with the right mentality for customer success. What you’re looking for are individuals who know how to cultivate relationships and communicate with ease. What’s more, they should also be comfortable with the fact that their job is a long haul — not a race to an imaginary finish line.
Once you have the right team and right strategy, however, you’ll be setting your business up for a new kind of success that puts customer needs at the forefront and delivers on value in ways you may have never considered before. It might seem daunting at first, but in the modern landscape, where customers have more choice than ever before, it’s imperative that you optimize your approach to keep your clients coming back.