Main distinguishes 15 steps entrepreneurs and executives can take to start with customer success management. In this article (part two from our series on CSM, the first can be found here), we highlight three of these steps.
First things first. In a nutshell, customer success management stands for: pro-actively listening to and talking with your customers, so they really get to understand how your company’s products or services work and where the added value lies in their day-to-day operations. Moreover, your customers’ feedback can help you finetune the product and make it ever more valuable to them.
This description points out quite clearly how broad a discipline CSM is. When a customer has made a purchase, it is possible to undertake any number of actions to help him or her to better understand and make better use of the product. But engaging with (potential) customers can also happen in the marketing, onboarding and offboarding phases.
Because of CSM being such a vast domain, focus is key. Which was a good reason for Main Capital Partners (after analysing customer success methodology and numerous cases from companies it has studied and invested in) to come up with a list of 15 steps on how to do this. It has plotted these along the customer journey.
A good start is half the battle: make sure the onboarding goes well. The bigger the customer, the more personal and in-depth the onboarding should be. Think about, for example, kick-off meetings and (online) user training.
Primary goal when onboarding customers is to make them feel comfortable with the product or service right from the start and to check what expectations they have. Secondly, it is about setting goals that can or should be achieved and thirdly, about helping customers to use the product in the right way. Also important: monitor this process. Collect usage data. When things are not working out, you want to know as soon as possible, so there is still time to support the customer pro-actively and specifically.
In the last paragraph, we mentioned how onboarding is also about setting goals. Customer success management in the end is all about helping customers achieve those goals. How to do this? An important step in maximizing value creation right from the beginning, is the so-called early check-in. After a couple of weeks, get back in touch with your customer. Get to know how the usage has been so far, and again, offer a helping hand on how to improve this usage. In a later stage, key is to – again – monitor usage statistics, but also to measure customer satisfaction – for example through NPS-scores. When satisfaction levels drop below a certain level, engage with your customers what the issue is: are they not achieving their goals? Are they having difficulty with the software? Have their goals changed? Knowing your customers’ needs, will then help to take appropriate action.
This step is often forgotten, but customers that have left, are not necessarily gone forever. Winning a customer back, starts during offboarding. Re-connecting with old customers becomes a lot easier when you know why he or she has left. Next, is to perform ex-customer segmentation. Which former customers are important? Formulate an action plan. Make use of the reasons the customer gave for leaving. Finally, it is always a good idea to create a time line internally for these action points.
Do you want to know more about implementing CSM in your organisation? Download the whitepaper ‘How to implement Customer Success Management’, including all 15 steps from the Main Capital Partners guidelines and interviews with CSM experts from successful software companies.