Customer Success has quickly moved from being just another buzzword to an enabler of business success especially in the SaaS ecosystem. Customer success expert Lincoln Murphy defines the term as “…simply ensuring that your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company”. Seems quite straightforward.
However, given the changing dynamics of a constantly evolving marketplace where the customer is spoilt for choice, customer success is the great differentiator for business success. SaaS companies know that the cost to acquire a new customer is several times higher than retaining the existing ones. Reducing churn and increasing product adoption and expansion, thus, falls under the jurisdiction of Customer Success teams. And the main job of the Customer Success Manager is to make sure that the customer can reach their ‘desired outcomes’ in the shortest time frame.
Clearly, the Customer Success manager has a huge responsibility to shoulder. In this blog, we take a look at things that keep customer success managers awake at night.
When customer success is just one department
Customer Success for SaaS products is not just one department. It is a company approach. It is extremely essential to have all the contributors to customer success aligned and working with one another in a collaborative manner. Silos have to be eliminated to provide an elevated customer experience. However, when organizations do not eliminate silos, the customer success team cannot gain a 360-degree view of the customer. Mitigating that challenge can be hard as all the endpoints that connect the customer-related operations are disconnected. Without an interconnected network, it becomes hard to create a smooth customer journey and deliver relevant product experiences to the customer. This consequently impacts the customer’s success.
When personalization becomes a challenge
Creating personalized experiences is a norm today. It is no different when it comes to customer success as well. For the customer success manager, it becomes essential to create highly personalized customer journeys across the multiple touch points and departments. They need the tools to follow the customer journey from discovery to success and have a plan for every stage of this journey to ensure that this journey is optimized.
Personalization is one way to ensure that every interaction with the customer becomes contextual and relevant simply because the world is driven by this now. Customer success managers, thus, need to ensure that the customers can seamlessly move across this journey, from onboarding to reaching that ‘aha’ moment, smoothly, without interruptions and without any information gaps in a highly personalized manner. Any impediments to this will be a cause of concern to the customer success manager.
The decentralized data chasm
You can only manage what you can measure. In order to do this, having a central data repository that connects all the interaction touchpoints becomes essential for the customer success manager. In order to create highly engaging customer journeys, customer success managers need access to all user data – demographic, behavioral, and event data both internal and from third parties to trigger real-time personalized experiences. They also need access to analytics data to accurately identify how the customer is using the product, provide real-time answers to their questions, enable dynamic segmentation to drive usage and identify pain points across mobile and web. Only then they can improve the product further to meet their product success goals. Data cannot reside in silos and demands more interoperability to generate deeper insights. The absence of this can lead to many sleepless nights that would go in wondering why the users are not connecting with the product.
Poor customer engagement
Amongst the things that can strike fear in the heart of the customer success manager, poor customer engagement perhaps will top the list. However, the reason why we mention this last has a reason.
Poor customer engagement in the SaaS product ecosystem is usually a result of poor or average product experiences. All the points mentioned above are the contributors to the factors that determine a good or a poor customer experience. If a customer does not complete the onboarding process, does not use the product, drops off the product while using it repeatedly, does not answer or open the surveys or marketing information sent to their inboxes are genuine causes of concern. However, this primarily happens when the customer success manager does not have a unified view of the customer and the cannot deliver contextual information. Another factor responsible for poor engagement is the inability to deliver these experiences in-product to make usage frictionless. It would be far more beneficial to send them product updates, upgrades or marketing information that is relevant to the customer when he/she is using the product. The objective of the customer success manager is to foster customer enablement. And this can only be achieved when the customer can access contextual information, training material, product information etc. when the customer needs it and where work happens.
We have moved beyond the age where asking the customer what he/she wants would yield good results. We are in the age when the customer expects you to know what they want before even they realize it. The job of the customer success manager means identifying the explicit and implied needs by understanding user behavior to enable the customer to reach that ‘wow’ moment in the shortest timeframe possible. The task is not easy but can be easily managed by simply enabling the in-product extension.
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