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What is Customer Success and how can it help your business grow?

Thinking about Customer Success goes far beyond making sure that a purchase is completed or a contract is signed. Learn more about it!

Customer success - illustration of a frontal view of a smiling man; to the right, a small circle with a pile of cash; to the left, a small circle with a trophy.

Those who are up to date with the marketing universe know that how you interact with customers has changed a lot over the last few years. 

Due to digital transformation and the fact that more and more power is in the hands of the customer when it comes to decision-making, thinking about your customers’ success is crucial for the health of your business.

But what is Customer Success about anyway? Is it the same as “customer support”? Are there ways of evaluating the level of customer satisfaction objectively? Keep reading and check out the answers to these questions!

What is Customer Success? 

If you’ve heard of customer success, you might think it’s about providing quality customer support, but it’s much more than that.

When we talk about customer success, we’re talking about the best result that a customer can have with the product or service they have purchased. This super positive experience also includes good service, but makes the most of all customer interactions with the brand.

Customer success ensures that the customer’s expectations with the product are met and that everything is transparent to them. Nothing is worse than when you buy something and you don’t know how to use it or you feel disappointed.

Customer success works precisely to offer customers the best experience with the brand, from their first contact to post-sales service.

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What’s the difference between Customer Success and Support? 

As we discussed above, customer success and support are different things. Here we’ll explain some of the main differences between them!

When it comes to a company’s customer support, it generally relies on a customer contacting the company with questions or to resolve a problem.

In the case of customer success, the roles are reversed. The objective is to provide the customer with all the necessary information they need to know everything about the product and the brand. This means analyzing if the user is following the correct path for their product or service, and if results are being achieved. 

Even so, support is a fundamental point within customer success, as it contributes to help the user and identify flaws in the experience with the product that was purchased.

What types of Customer Success strategies are there?

There are essentially two types of customer success strategies:

Onboarding and Ongoing

There are two types of customer success strategies:

  • Onboarding: Here, efforts are made for the customers in the implementation phase, who are being welcomed by the Success team. This step is critical, after all, “first impressions count”, right?
  • Ongoing: In the ongoing phase, customers have already been welcomed, but actions are needed for the relationship to continually add value. Being disappointed later is sometimes worse than having a bad first impression.

This segmentation of your customer portfolio is the first step towards creating a customer success culture.

Think of a romantic relationship. For example, when you’re trying to impress someone you like, you promise them the world. After you start dating, however, you can’t stop caring and putting effort into your partner’s happiness.

Otherwise, the relationship might fail and, on top of that, your ex might be disappointed enough to badmouth you to everyone. This is terrible for your reputation with future love interests, isn’t it?

What is Customer Success responsible for?

Is the concept clear? Great! Now, let’s understand the duties of Customer Success analysts and managers.

Mind the company’s values 

The Success team needs to mind  — and internalize — the company’s values. This way, they’re able to take better care of those who will be in direct contact with the customers.

For example, when putting together the sales or marketing team, analysts and managers may interfere. This is the case when any of the professionals aren’t exactly what was promised to the customers when proposing a solution for their pain.

This is especially important so that all processes are in line, as we’ll see next. Having strong and well-defined pillars are, therefore, essential so that the interactions are always consistent.

Having truly consistent processes

As we said earlier, the processes need to be in line — all of them! From written content to a sales call, a planning meeting, or the packaging in which the product is delivered to customers, all need to be guided by the business’ values.

Success analysts and managers keep an eye on these issues, especially because this care prevents customers from having a bad experience due to confusing procedures, different tones of voice, or unbalance in the journey.

Consider how annoying it is if the brand treats its customers as kings when selling and afterward, completely disappears from the face of the Earth. Customers might feel – and rightly so – that they’re merely a number and will never do business with your company again.

Keep track of the customer’s journey 

The Customer Success team is also responsible for monitoring satisfaction during the entire journey. To do so, the key is to put the customer first. You’ve probably heard that the “customer is always right“.

Well then, for the Success analysts, this motto guides all initiatives of this strategy.

Therefore, the processes might need to be customized to meet the specific demands of each customer.

In the Customer Success culture, there’s no such thing as “it’s impossible to please everyone”, or “a customer is just a customer”. Analysts and managers value each one as if they were the business’s most important or only customer.

Following up on the customer’s experience 

Performing monitoring during the customer’s experience with the product helps keep them close and understand if they are satisfied with their purchase.

Following up is also when the opportunity arises to show that you care and are open to answering questions, clarifying information, and helping through support. 

Having a closer attention to detail after a sale is also a way to explore and connect through various digital channels, thus strengthening people’s relationship with the brand. 

Monitoring satisfaction indicators

A big role of customer success is to analyze satisfaction indicators, which, as the name suggests, is the focus in this area of business.

There are metrics that make up this step and, through qualitative and quantitative responses, let you know how happy people are with the product they acquired. 

With the data that you’ll read about later, you’ll be able to observe different points that can help and contribute to general results for the brand before, during, and after sales. 

Identify sales opportunities

Sales are what give life to a business.

It’s fundamental to observe and know how to find good opportunities that move customers to making a purchase. In the same way that it is good to know the main sales opportunities, it’s great to know when this opportunity really generates results. 

Recover lost customers

Recovering customers is also a key part of customer success!

It’s the job of the customer success team to go after customers that canceled a subscription, gave up on buying the brand’s products, or simply didn’t have a good experience and forgot about the company.

This is when contact is reestablished and the rate of lost customers decreases.

How to evaluate Customer Success

You’re probably still wondering how to evaluate customer success. Since it is a little more abstract, it can be hard to visualize an objective response, but there are series of metrics that can let you know how your customer success is doing. 

Here are some of the most known methods to evaluate a business’ satisfaction data.

Net promoter score (NPS)

Net promoter score is a well-known metric to evaluate the level of satisfaction with a product.

Have you ever seen a question on a site or email along the lines of “from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend brand X to your friends?” This is basically how NPS is evaluated, a data point which quantifies, between 0 and 10, how positive the average customer’s experience is and how likely they are to share it with others.

Churn rate

Churn rate is the cancellation rate of a purchase or subscription. 

If this metric is increasing, it’s not a good sign, especially if the number of sales and subscriptions doesn’t increase proportionally.

This is a good way to check what might be causing customer dissatisfaction (the product, communication, support) and help outline strategies for the brand. 

Customer effort score (CES)

Another result based on a satisfaction scale. Here, customers respond to the company’s ability to solve their problems, mainly relating to support and customer service.

Therefore, both prior contact and service must be effective in order to keep customers happy and confident that they have made a good choice.

Customer retention cost (CRC)

As marketing strategies evolve in the business, it is natural for the cost to acquire a new customer to drop. This drop is also a sign that it is easier to convey authority, trust, security, and proof that there is a happier and more loyal customer base.

If the cost is high, stop to observe what can be improved within the strategy of capturing and converting new customers.

Feedback culture

There’s nothing better than receiving honest feedback that brings clarity to the team!

Keeping in touch with your customers is also a way to get more feedback about your business. An example of this is Netflix, which always receives messages from subscribers about the content they have watched, about the series they want to be released… there is an exchange and this is what feedback culture seeks to achieve.

It’s also essential to talk about feedback within the team itself. This helps to find internal issues that need to be resolved, which should be equally valued.

How to ensure customer success? 

Customer success requires an analytic eye and a lot of proactivity!

Through customer success tools, it’s totally possible to transform the vision that people have about your brand and your product. Much more than keeping someone satisfied, this method will involve the user more actively within the business and keep them connected to this universe.

It’s necessary to integrate customers before, during, and after the sale to maintain a loyal customer base that supports and recommends the brand to other potential buyers.

To help with the mission of ensuring success and working on the loyalty of these customers, we made a complete article on how to provide after-sales services!

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This post was originally written in May 2019 and was updated to include more complete and accurate information.