Customer success - the basics
Whenever you download a free application for personal use from the internet or buy a full-featured software suite for your company, you are asked to rate your experience. For a vendor, user feedback has a large value – it's used for customer success purposes.
Customer success became companies' third highly valued growth tool – after sales and marketing functions. Being customer focused, it's closely tied to customers' satisfaction. That gives customer success team amazing opportunities to use real feedback in order to expand, upgrade and renew a product or service. Bottom line is keeping the customer satisfied with your service, which leads to retaining customers for long-term and, consequently, a higher customer lifetime value.
The difference between Customer Service and Customer Success
Customer Success Manager has a key role in outreach aimed at sales growth and should primarily be focused on making a relationship between a vendor and a customer work. While a Customer service is focused on the reactive approach and usually is a sole department within a company, customer success team is among many who depend on a cross-team effort and proactive approach.
While customer support is focused on problem areas in general and quick solving of particular problems, customer success targets opportunity, planning and ensuring the value of a service or product for a significant period of time. Either or both will make your company customer-centric, allowing for growth, upgrades and upsell of a product/service.
CSM represents customer advocacy from one side and a VIP for a company – bringing, processing and resolving end-user difficulties. CSM has a duty to respond to any red flags, bugs, issues, and difficulties of existing customers during any part of their customer journey. Renewals, upgrades, and expansion are a product of successful CS operation.
CSM has a highly important role in a software world. As SaaS company starts to grow, customer-centric methods should grow with it, together with a well thought-out customer success strategy. Customer success is a process, whether a company is a startup or an enterprise. Many startups encounter high customer churn rates before they raise a red flag and start building customer success into their policies.
According to Lincoln Murphy, customer success consultant and keynote speaker, the foundation of customer success is a success potential. Customers that have success potential are said to be good fit customers. Achieving the desired outcome is based on 6 success potential inputs:
- Technical fit - technology customer uses to get a value from the product
- Functional fit - features, and functionality required for a customer to be successful
- Resource fit - lack of resources - money, time, energy, etc. represent a bad fit
- Competence fit – customer's level of expertise or his willingness to acquire it
- Experience fit – lack of appropriate experience
- Cultural fit - beliefs, morals, attitudes, etc. that don't a fit with our culture
Murphy's philosophy is simple - "Customer success is a simple concept - don't overthink it. It's in everyone's interest that customer success should be recognized globally as something that any type of business in any region of the world can leverage to thrive. "