Do you know the cheapest (and arguably most effective) way to grow a company?
It’s not “growth hacking” or some secret marketing tactic.
It’s retention and Word-of-mouth.
And while your product plays a huge role in retention, the most immediate way to improve it is through Customer Success.
Everyone in SaaS (software-as-a-service) is starting to realizes this but not many know what it looks like in practice – let alone how to do implement it for their own organization.
Which is exactly what inspired us to sit down with Sue Farrance, thought leader and Head of Customer Success at Signable to get her take on customer success and share some of the most actionable ways to make your customers more successful.
1. Only working with the right customers
Many potential customers are not going to be a good long-term fit for your solution.
This is a tough pill to swallow.
Especially when you’re really pushing for that next revenue milestone.
Many marketers are guilty of the land-grab mentality, where they will take on any and every customer they can.
This is a sure way to kill your customer success rate and cost your company more than these customers’ worth.
Having a consistent approach to prospecting and being transparent about which customers are & aren’t a good fit for your solution will help drive a higher customer success rate.
Even if that means passing up potential sales.
2. Measure and measure again
How happy are your customers right now?
If a quantitative answer (ie: NPS) hasn’t popped into your head already, you’re doing something wrong.Measuring your customer's success is a pre-requisite to improving it Click To Tweet
With all the incredible software on the market today, there’s absolutely no reason NOT to be measuring NPS.
Especially with tools like Promoter, it’s easier than ever to collect feedback, benchmark your current metrics and start improving them.
When you’re a bigger company or have a good tracking system in place, you should be segmenting NPS based on customer stage, size, etc. SaaStr and the Promoter.io blog are great resources for more on NPS.
3. Cook it into the culture
The best sales company ingrain sales into the company culture.
I’ve seen some go as far as requiring every single employee to make bi-monthly sales call.
Well so is their crazy increase in sales every quarter. They’ve baked into their culture and are reaping the rewards.
But could you image what the companies who prioritize customer success look like?
They look like this:
(Hint: this is Slack’s record-breaking growth to $100M ARR)
While customer success doesn’t guarantee this type of explosive growth, you can bet it sure did contribute to it.
You may be thinking “that has nothing to do with their growth”.
Take a look at their CMO (Chief MARKETING Officer) talk about their commitment to customer success and growing through word-of-mouth.
Bill said it best himself (4:15):'The goal is not for them to buy from us, its to recommend us' @bmacaitis Click To Tweet
Which creates their unwavering priority of customer success which goes far beyond just the customer success or marketing departments.
This is a relatively new concept, but companies like Box, Slack, Signable and a few others have been capitalizing on this opportunity to embed Customer success in their company’s DNA.
In practice, this looks like all team members answering support tickets, emails and thinking of the customer first.
Even if the engineers stumble over their words, it starts to align everyone’s operational decisions with one goal in mind – making the customer successful.
4. Be human
In the works of all of this B2B/enterprise marketing talk, it’s easy to forget that we’re really just working with other human beings.
Humans that have good days, bad days, families at home and Tuesday night soccer practices.
What inspired me most about Sue and Signable, is their incredible level of empathy and their relationship between them and some of their customers.
During our conversation, Sue recited the dialog from one of their select few customer complaints. It stemmed from a user who was having a bad day and lacked their usual level of patience.
Not only did they quickly resolve it with their empathetic approach, but that went on to be one of their best customers after realizing the user was just having an off day.
Some of their other customers have gone as far as spinning up a live chat just to see what’s new with Sue and the team.
Do your customers do that?
Try building deep relationships with your customers and perhaps they just might! Even if it this falls into the list of “unscalable” things to do.
5. Prioritize it
There are hundreds of excuses to make when it comes to not investing in CS.
“We don’t have time”, “Not enough money”, “We’re too small”, etc.
But the truth is, there is only one reason you aren’t already investing in CS:
Because it’s not a priority.
And when I say prioritizing, I literally mean pushing for your customer’s success over anything else.
For example, each new customer Signable gains, they personally call them around month one and explicitly ask: “How can we improve?”
And it works like magic.
Not only do they collect incredible insight and ways to improve the product, but it shows the customer they actually care.
And when most companies are calling to ask “Would you like to buy this upgrade?”.
This genuine approach does their business wonders in the short and long term.
So make the effort to prioritize customer success and you’ll soon begin to realize what all the hype is about.
6. Leverage this one secret ingredient
If there was one “hack” to customer success, it would be this.
In B2B, you’re often times selling to other sales/marketing people.
Which makes it’s very difficult to get away with any sales/marketing tactics unnoticed – both good or bad.
So perhaps you should stop those spammy sales emails and grab their attention by doing something good.
Signable does this by ensuring customers are on the right plan at the right time. If a customer is paying for a high-level plan they don’t need or are underusing the product – they will reach out and offer a downgrade to save them money.
This may sound like nails on the chalkboard to most sales folks, but I can guarantee the company on the receiving end will be your newest evangelists and life-long customers.
Sue appoints transparent and honest communication to one of their biggest CS drivers and we couldn’t agree more.
Customer success is not a trend.
It’s the future.
And those first to truly capitalize on it (and have a great product) will be likely the leaders of their industry.Customers are the key to everything. If you can't keep them, you don't have a real business @naggingsue Click To Tweet
So if you’re not already investing in customer success, hopefully, these 6 pillars are a great place to start.
Because the only thing keeping your customers from jumping to that new competitor coming next quarter is their experience and relationship they have with you.
Big thanks to Sue for taking the time to share her insights! She and the folks at Signable are leading the pack on CS. Check out their blog for more!