Many of today’s businesses are focused upon customer experience (CX), but only around 22% say that their efforts are exceeding customers’ expectations.
Customer experience encompasses everything from the first time someone hears about a business right through until their final interaction with the organisation. This means there are plenty of opportunities for negative experiences to occur and we all know how even the smallest negative incident can have a huge impact on customer experience.
Customer service and support go some way toward alleviating the impact of these occurrences but these functions tend to be provided after-the-fact. Neither customer service nor customer support tend to be focused upon preventing issues so it’s perhaps not surprising to hear that so few organisations report that their efforts are actually exceeding customers’ expectations.
Customer success is becoming increasingly recognized as a solution to this CX challenge. Customer success is focused upon the needs of customers and the successful outcomes that customers are aiming to achieve. Customer success takes a proactive approach toward enabling customers to get the maximum value from supplied products or services.
Customer Success Drives Business Growth
Historically, sales and marketing have been the channels used to grow a business. In fact not too long ago business success was all about sales, but marketing evolved to capture the attention of prospective customers much earlier in the customer journey.
But customer behaviour and expectations are continuing to change. These days people are bombarded with countless options to choose from, making it necessary for vendors to become ever more creative in order to attract positive attention and win new business.
Today’s forward-thinking businesses are paying a lot more attention to retaining their existing customers. It’s well known that it can cost around 5 to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to hang on to an existing one. This fact alone should be enough to demonstrate the value of adopting a customer success based approach.
Although historically, sales and marketing were the channels driving business growth, future success and growth is likely to be based upon customer retention, reducing customer churn and developing a successful, loyal customer base who are keen brand advocates.
How to Drive Customer Success
Forward thinking enterprises recognize that the best way to develop the value their businesses derive from customers is to continuously develop the value of what they provide to their customers. To achieve this they know that they need to deeply understand their customers’ business priorities, their goals and what their customers recognize as valuable. By helping customers derive maximum value from their products and services and developing valuable, ongoing relationships, customer churn is minimized.
Wise businesses create ongoing value by working with their customers to clearly understand their business objectives and priorities early in the customer relationship. They work collaboratively to help define strategies that will bring about the desired success, making full and effective use of the provided products and services. These valuable relationships are optimal for subsequent cross-selling or upselling of additional products and services which support further success.
Historically, companies will traditionally assign account managers to high-value accounts. But customers who are spending far less would still have the same high expectations of the products or services they have purchased. Focusing on customer success means nurturing and supporting all customers to achieve their desired outcomes, regardless of how much they have spent. A small account today can develop into a much more significant account over time, with the right support and nurturing.
Customer-centric organisations understand every phase of the buyer journey, recognizing that customer expectations and needs change as they progress along the path. What they require when first adopting a product or service differs from what they are likely to need after having used the product or service for a period of time. By doing the required research to find out what will delight customers at every stage of their journey and then fulfilling those needs in a timely manner, never too late nor too soon, customer success is fully supported.
Goals of Customer Success
A primary goal of adopting a customer success based business approach is to maximise the customer lifetime value. By reducing customer churn and increasing customer retention the expensive costs involved in attracting new business are minimised. Marketing, upselling and cross-selling to existing, retained customers is far more productive than targeting unknown prospects. Also, focusing on customer success drives high levels of customer satisfaction – and highly satisfied, successful customers become powerful and influential advocates who, through word-of-mouth, will encourage others to become new customers.
Give Customer Thermometer a trial and find out how your customers feel! You will quickly see how easily implemented, simple surveys deliver great response rates that will improve your customer experience.