How to Define Customer Success for Your Business

Forming an effective customer success management strategy

1058_blog_graphics-02Take a peek at your staff and count how many of them have jobs involving customer satisfaction. Chances are, you’ll have to count every single person in the company.

Sales reps prime customers, customer service reps massage them, and dev teams build products to wow them. Your devotion to your customers may seem crystal clear, since your customer team is so big.

That said, you still could be facing a huge customer disconnect. Consider this: More than 75% of business owners in our study said they put customer preferences first. But in that same study, 81% of consumers said businesses care more about making a profit.

So most companies thought they were doing a good job of focusing on customers, but those same customers felt overlooked and neglected. Eliminate that communication breakdown with something new—by defining customer success metrics for your business.

How do you define customer success, anyway?

Traditional marketing models define a successful customer as someone who buys a product and doesn’t complain. But a true customer success definition involves knowing what consumers want, even when they don’t complain.

Rather than simply looking at the big stuff in the customer journey, such as  one person’s order history or complaint record, a success model focuses on that person’s thoughts, both before and after every step. What did that person think? What worked? What didn’t?

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Why customer success management really matters

While your customer service team is reactive in dealing with individual customer orders and complaints, your customer success management team should be proactive, understanding and solving individual problems that could crop up during the customer journey.

Surprises become common when you break that journey down. For example, if your business provides cell phone coverage, you might define success as a strong signal that goes from your headquarters to your towers with no customer complaints.

Yet some customers might rate you on the clarity of their calls. If one user can’t hear what her mother is saying over the phone, she might consider your company a failure, which she may never complain about openly. It’s an irritant that she’ll live with—until the day she chooses another company.

Understand her satisfaction and you’ll retain customers just like her. And there could be hundreds more of them out there.

A customer success strategy

Customer success can’t be defined globally, as it’s all about one person’s movement through a very individual series of steps. Every company—and every client of that company—will have a different customer success definition.

Net Promoter® Score (NPS) surveys provide those individual customer success insights. Send out an NPS survey at key customer touchpoints, including:

  • After a purchase
  • During a website visit
  • After a customer service call
  • After a sales call

You’ll get one number that tells you whether your customer is a promoter or a detractor. Try using open-ended questions like, "Do you have any other questions, comments or concerns to share?" to pull together an action plan.

Let your customer success team interface with your client-facing staff, and push your whole organisation to shift based on key feedback. Then, run those surveys again (preferably with the same customers), and watch the numbers move!

Want to go the extra mile? Personalize the customer experience by leveraging survey results. For example, if you’re using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to send surveys to customers and match their feedback to their information, you can easily see where a customer is in the journey–and reach out to them to improve their experience.

If a customer is really, really angry on a survey, follow up with a call to chat about the issue and focus on solutions. On the other hand, if you see nothing but love in the numbers, consider asking for a testimonial.

When you use customer satisfaction surveys to understand what your customers go through when they interact with your company, you reduce the churn and up the love.