The idea of a customer success strategy originated with Software-as-a-Service businesses. Because the industry was new, SaaS companies relied on customer feedback to help them hone their offerings. Rather than waiting for customers to provide reviews or comments, the businesses reached out and asked for them. No matter your industry, your business can benefit from implementing a customer success program.
Customer Success Strategies
What’s a good customer success strategy? It’s one that does the following:
Always asks questions: The customer-focused business owner takes the initiative to approach each new client, building rapport, asking questions, and assessing needs. When the customer responds, the business owner listens, resisting the temptation to cut in and pitch products. The customer in this scenario feels valued. Why? Because the business owner isn’t just selling; they’re solving the customer’s problem.
Educates customers and builds value: Even when it’s time to bring up products or services, the customer-focused business owner doesn’t hard-sell. Instead, they educate the customer, building value in the company’s offerings. They even encourage the customer to ask questions or voice concerns. As a result, the customer starts to trust the business owner.
Solicits feedback from customers: The customer-focused business owner is proactive after the sale, reaching out to the purchaser to make sure they’re satisfied and to see if they need anything. They don’t shy away from complaints or negative feedback.
Customer Success Vs. Customer Service
Maybe your business already has a customer service department that you feel can keep customers happy. Customer service isn’t customer success, though. Customer service is reactive, taking place after an issue or question arises. Customer success is proactive. By establishing an open line of communication upfront, you preempt problems that otherwise end up with customer service.
The Goals of a Customer Success Approach
Before implementing any new program, you should always figure out what results you hope to see. In this case, a good customer success strategy is one that boosts customer retention and increases referrals.
Consider two furniture stores. You need some new furniture for your home, so you patronize both stores. The first store sells you a bedroom set. You like it, but you don’t interact much with the business owner or staff. No one reaches out to make sure you’re satisfied. And when a minor issue arises, you have to track down customer service for help.
At the second store, the owner and staff make it all about you from the beginning. Before they sell you anything or even make a recommendation, they ask questions to assess your needs and take time to educate you on your options. After the sale, they call to make sure you’re happy.
Ask yourself which of these two businesses you’re more likely to return to. There’s no question it’s the second one, right? The reason that store is more likely to win you over as a repeat customer is that it has a strong customer success strategy, whereas the first store doesn’t.
Also, you’re more likely to sing the second store’s praises to your friends and family. When a company makes its customers feel valued, its referral business skyrockets.
Customer service is good, but customer success is better. Implementing a customer-first business model helps boost your reputation and revenue.