At the core of Customer Success our job is to make sure those that have invested and trusted in us reach their desired outcome. Unfortunately, we can find ourselves fighting fires some days more than doing any actual proactive outreach to customers.
But what if we could get ahead of some of at least some of those fires and save tons of stress and time? Here are some critical alerts that your team needs to stay ahead and how you can respond to them.
When Your Point of Contact Leaves
There’s nothing that can put a stop to the progress you’ve made with a customer faster than your champion or main point of contact leaving the organization. If you’re managing quite a few customers – you may also find yourself reaching at pivotal moments during the journey out only to discover they’ve left weeks or months ago.
I’ve talked about what to do when your point of contact leaves the organization before. To avoid a bit of stress, some awkward conversations, and risking your customer’s momentum – putting their end results at stake – make sure your Customer Success Team is getting an alert right away when there’s even the possibility that your main point of contact has left the organization.
Elements such as not logging in for a few days, zero reads or engagement with your communications, and a drastic drop in usage are all telltale signs that your point of contact may have left.
New Client Logins
There’s a reason that every time you get greeted within a minute of walking into a store you love in the mall or at the front desk of your favorite hotel. It makes you feel welcomed, that you’re important, and it just makes you feel good about being there. Have you noticed that they sometimes also check in on you to ensure you’re having a good experience so far? It makes you feel special and valued as a customer.
The same is true for your customers. Preset progress meetings are critical to your customers success and the same is true for automated next-step emails for product adoption. That said, there’s no replacement for a true, timely, and meaningful one-to-one discussion with a customer letting them know that you’re paying attention to them.
Do yourself a favor and set an alert for the first time a new customer logs in. Give them a call even if it’s a few hours later or the next day to make sure everything went smoothly, that they don’t have any questions, and just to let them know that you’re happy to help and just a phone call away. It will help you establish a feeling of care and trust right off the bat.
Net Promoter Scores
At the core of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) your customer is telling you how likely they are to recommend your product or service, how loyal they are to your brand, and can be used to help glean their overall satisfaction with you and your team. Positive or negative, there’s always opportunity that come from the net promoter scores that your customer gives you.
If the score is positive, it could be a great opportunity to engage them later for a case study, to serve as a reference for a new customer, or to approach with an expansion opportunity as long as it aligns with their goals.
If the score is negative, be sure to ask why they rated you that way, what you can do in an ideal world to make better on the issue, and always make sure you follow through with any promises you make.
Drops in Usage
If you see a drop in usage, especially in specific feature sets or surrounding a new launch, then it’s important to identify those issues early on.
This could indicate to you or the team that the value for a new feature has not been well received after the initial usage, that there is something prohibiting your customers from utilizing the solution as intended, or for a specific customer or user that they are running into training issues. It’s also possible that their needs and priorities have changed and they didn’t let you know.
While a small dip in usage with your solution isn’t often a big deal – it can be an early indicator of issues or even potential churn. Set alerts for a moderate drop in usage to at least let you know to keep an eye on customers and to dig in deeper on why their usage has changed.
Alerts don’t always have to be indicators of something negative happening with your customers. We talked about how you can celebrate your customer’s success. Alerts on new milestones they’ve hit, KPIs they’ve blown out of the water, or when they end up overcoming a break in momentum to now being on track to hitting their goals are all appropriate points to get in touch.
By segmenting based on usage and measurement statistics to identify these important celebratory milestones – you’ll be able to bring visibility to the impact that your solution is having on the journey to your customer’s desired outcome.
There are many alerts and other automation opportunities to help you and your customer success team decrease the amount of fires you must fight and increase the amount of proactive outreach you can facilitate. It’s a great opportunity during the summer months when folks tend to be out of town to get with your team, identify what alerts would make the most impact for your team or customers, and get them in place before that next fire starts.
Customer Success Around the Web
- Customer Success: Who Should Handle Upsells? One of the great Customer Success questions – regardless of how many answers are given or by whom – that refuses to ever actually be answered is who should handle upsells… sales or Customer Success. Read on to hear how Lincoln Murphy attempts to definitively answer this question.
- Net Promoter Score: More Than Just a Number: On the surface, NPS is all about a number. How many advocates are speaking up on your behalf? How many detractors are speaking against you? There’s no arguing the importance of these metrics. But if you’re thoughtful in building out your program, NPS surveys become an opportunity to engage more thoughtfully with your customers, uncover sales opportunities, and gain unique perspectives on your product, in addition to getting an understanding of your advocacy landscape. Read on over at the SmartSheet blog.
- How Using Marketing Data Can Improve Customer Retention: In too many businesses, information exists in silos. Marketing departments seek to gather as much data as possible to convert members of your target audience into leads. Sales department repeat the process to convince leads that becoming a customer is a great idea. Then, the process starts anew in customer service. The BigContacts blog explores how marketing data can help improve customer retention.
Word to the Wise
Scott Bajtos, Chief Customer Officer at VMWare, participated in an interview with The Wall Street Journal where he explains among other important elements what it will take to make the new initiative successful:
“Building a great CS organization depends 100 percent on creating the best employee experience, selecting the highest caliber team, and giving team members the tools and skillsets they need to deliver a world-class customer experience. These principles apply whether you’re a marketing or IT leader.”
-Scott Bajtos, CCO, VMWare