Customer Success provides a solid foundation for a company to grow and scale with customers for life. In today’s competitive market, SaaS providers fully depend on upsells, referrals and renewals year after year. Most SaaS companies put all of their focus and effort into developing their product(s) and acquiring new customers and logos. The problem with this strategy, and why so many SaaS companies are becoming increasingly stressed about customer churn, is customer acquisition is just the beginning of a long-term service engagement with your customers. The services your Customer Success Managers (CSMs) provide as well as the quality and focus of their interactions with customers, can deliver unbeatable value and have a greater impact on your customers’ success than your product(s). You could have the best product in the world with all the bells and whistles, but it won’t give you a competitive advantage or loyal customers if the quality of your customer engagement is lacking or focused on the wrong things.
To start, there are three key focus areas for improving the quality and results of your customer success efforts and interactions as a CSM. First and foremost, you must understand, educate and reinforce with your customers (and most likely with your internal C-suite and colleagues) that Customer Success is not a short-term focus on your product’s features, functionality, and benefits. Customer Success is a proactively managed, long-term relationship strategy with your customers.
If your CS team is focused on your product rather than helping your customers overcome real and potential obstacles to using your product, then you’re not helping your customers be successful in a significant and valuable way. And they won’t be your customers for long, which brings us to the second key focus area.
The second key focus area is you need to remember that getting to “Go Live” is just a milestone. It’s not the end goal. Getting to Go Live is a small piece of a very large puzzle, so don’t get stuck there with your customers as a CSM. Let your IT team have conversations with your customers about the requirements and getting to Go Live. Your focus must be larger, broader, and more strategic than that. You need to be focused on what success looks like for your customers after Go Live and how you can and will facilitate their success in the short-term, medium-term, and long-term. Your customers’ success is your number one priority and focus, which brings us to the third key focus area.
Third, as a CSM, you are not there to troubleshoot and answer technical questions for your customers. You are not there to write “one-way, one-size-fits-all” communications about the benefits of your products. And you are not there to provide system training. Let your Customer Support, Communications, and Training teams provide that value for your customers.
Your purpose, as a CSM, is not to provide technical value. Your purpose is to provide business value by being your customers’ trusted advisor throughout their relationship with your company. For example, as their trusted advisor, you need to ask your customers about what their long-term goals are, where they are struggling, what’s changing in their environment, what’s their organizational structure/hierarchy, what do they value, recognize and reward, what are their processes and performance expectations just to name a few important questions. Have you ever asked your customers these questions? If not, why not?
This is all key information that you need to know as a CSM to understand how ready, willing, and able your customers are to successfully incorporate your product into their unique and most likely complex environment and daily routines. Would you know what actions to take or recommend based on your customers’ answers to these questions? If not, you’re not alone. Most CSMs are not focused on these key questions and focus areas, and as a result, they are missing key opportunities to accelerate their customers’ adoption, value, and success.