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What is customer success?

Customer success means being one step ahead of customers and their issues. Follow these customer success management tips to build strong client relationships.

Customers expect more than they used to from product and service providers. However, you have to understand what customer success is to learn how to keep them.

To a customer, success means that your product or service helps them meet their goals. In the process, you’re happy, too, because you’re going to make a profit because of their satisfaction.

To a business, customer success involves ensuring that the people who buy your products can use what you’re offering. This calls for systematic anticipation of their needs before you promote your offerings to them.

Finally, customer success means that you've won them over by preventing product shortages, theft or damage, and other issues. You have also earned their loyalty when you make sure you take time to understand what it is they really want from you instead of just guessing.

Top customer success priorities include: onboarding, the product and customer experience.

What does customer success mean to a business?

Achieving customer satisfaction requires a relationship-based customer strategy. This means you will ask your customers what they feel is best rather than imposing your ideas upon them.

That doesn’t mean what you’re offering isn’t helpful to anyone. However, you need to make sure it benefits the people seeking help right now. If you can accomplish that, then you’re on the way to achieving customer success.

Why customer success is important for business

Customer success solidifies the correlation between the solutions that you’re offering and the results they provide customers. Anticipating your buyers’ needs will help you understand what outcomes your customers care about the most and improve your customer relationship.

It also helps you maintain brand consistency, offering no surprises. In other words, knowing how to reach your customers and give them what they need will not cause panic in them. They will also trust you to provide what they expect from you and nothing different.

Customer success addresses customer needs before problems arise while customer support solves product-related issues as they happen.

What's the difference between customer success vs. customer support?

At their heart, customer success and customer support focus on customer experience and satisfaction, but how and when they do it differ.

Customer success helps you stay ahead of the questions and concerns that your clients have. It also increases the chance that you will meet your customer’s needs before they even realize it.

Customer support also provides you with a way to show your customers that you care. However, support usually demands that you deal with issues as they come up.

If you set yourself up for customer success, some issues may not ever happen in the first place. That places you one step ahead of your competitors, who may have the skill to handle problems that arise but don’t know how to prevent them in the first place.

Customer success management

Customer success management requires establishing your priorities. Hint: The customer always comes first.

1. Get customer feedback

Not much provides you with as much power to achieve customer success as when you get customer feedback. Encourage customers to speak their minds (or text their opinions to you) as often as possible.

Welcome them to share their opinions on surveys too. When they do, it reveals the next step in the customer's journey with you. You will know exactly what to offer them next when this happens—or you’ll at least have a better idea than before you requested feedback from them.

When requesting customer feedback, encourage them to provide as much information as possible about all aspects of your business. It may not be easy to do this because it can sometimes discourage you to feel like you’ve failed them in some way. However, asking them how you are doing will open up your eyes to how your customer success teams can improve your customer relationships.

2. Establish a customer journey builder

When you establish a customer journey builder, it eliminates the guesswork about what to do next for them. However, it’s time-consuming to set up and observe each customer service individually.

At the same time, you don’t want to compromise on service quality when observing customer behavior. So how exactly do you follow your customers throughout every past, present, and future purchase and anticipate your needs without burning yourself out in the process?

Building a customer journey doesn’t have to take hours, days, or weeks. You can automate this process, and it may only take you a couple of hours or less.

An automated customer journey builder will help you engage with your customers in real-time. However, you don’t have to be always present. You can send them automated emails, for instance, or send them one-time upgrade offers after they make a purchase.

3. Engage your customers

Engaging with your customers is one of the most important actions you can take. If you’re not constantly feeding them the information they want and need, they could end up bored.

When you engage your customers, it makes them feel important. However, your resolve to interact with them requires more than just setting up automated posts.

That’s a great start, but scheduling social media posts works best when you also offer smart recommendations. Your customers can get smart recommendations after they’ve taken a certain action, such as liking or sharing a post.

Otherwise, perhaps your customers commented on an item or they conducted a search on social media pages. These actions will trigger an ad based on their location when entering a certain zip code or seeking information related to a certain topic.

Whatever it takes, offering smart recommendations is a way to engage your customers and keep the conversation going. You can keep them active on your pages as new offers appear to them even when you’re not online.

Keys for a customer success strategy: solid customer success team; strong onboarding program; educated leads and customers; customer loyalty programs; and savvy tech use.

Tips on strategizing for customer success

A customer success manager has a lot on their plate between directing their teams and seeing that the customer is satisfied. Here are some tips to help with customer account management and achieving customer satisfaction.

Build a solid customer success team

Customer success managers can hardly succeed without a solid customer success team. They must also get to know the people working for them and encourage them to reach their potential.

If all workers grasp your team’s mission, it will make achieving customer success easy. The process of building a solid customer success team might require you to make some cuts.

Don’t keep people around that don’t fit in with your primary business objective. You can’t afford to lose customers, so don’t keep people on your team who don't match your mindset and energy.

Avoid raising your customer churn (loss of customer rate) when replacing people you laid off. There are people who are on board with what you want to achieve and are not just looking for a paycheck, for instance. They also must agree with your objectives and have similar passions as you.

Establish a strong onboarding program

A strong onboarding program usually has a variety of team members on it with different strengths. For instance, some of your team members might be more creative, but others are better at executing messages covering sensitive topics.

You might also have team members who are more organized than others. At the same time, others may accomplish routine tasks much more quickly than other people.

Educate your leads and customers

If your customer has registered to your site but hasn’t made a purchase yet, educate them. Let them know as much about the product or service they showed interest in as soon as possible. Then, remind them that a particular offering they saw is still available and provide a trial or discount.

You can also invite them to join your informational newsletter. When you do this, it provides them with the chance to continue learning about your product or service until they’re ready to buy.

Providing regular education to your leads and customers also builds brand retention. If you make them remember you, that’s your best chance at client success.

Instill customer loyalty programs

One of the simplest customer success resources to implement is a loyalty program. Offer them points they can use for future purchases or let them choose free items, for instance.

When you install a loyalty program, however, make customers understand why they need the loyalty discount freebie you’re offering to them. That’s important, or you could find them not redeeming the loyalty points or coupons you gave them.

Use tech to your advantage

Technology does wonders for implementing customer success programs. They can get to know your brand, products, and services inside a customer app, for instance. You may catch people who prefer to go online rather than make phone calls or visit in person.

You can also rely on customer success software to help you. From onboarding to project management, there is a customer success solution out there to help with your specific needs.

Make it easy for your customers to succeed

Don’t make the process of engaging with your customers and helping them succeed too complicated. When you do, they can tell that you’re trying too hard.

Improving your customer success rate doesn’t mean you have to change everything about the way you sell. For instance, you don’t need to start a physical store even if you don’t want to.

If you do want to, that’s great. If you don’t, don’t open a store because someone told you that you must do this in order to improve your customer success rate. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, then continue the online selling that you’re doing.

In the process, find out how to improve customer relationships based on what meets their needs and not yours. Learning how taking the first step toward customer success can win your clients over for life.

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