Celebrating Customer Successes, Speaking your Customer’s Language, and Getting Ahead of Fires
Do you remember the last time you were recognized for your efforts at work? It probably made you feel good knowing that your hard work, creativity, or absolute genius didn’t go unnoticed. As a Customer Success Manager, you can make someone feel the same way!
When you highlight a win with a customer, you’re not only recognizing them but you’re showing them that they have arrived at their desired outcome or are on the right path for doing so. It can also be used to create advocates for your brand, drive referrals, and get you in front of executives that you otherwise wouldn’t have been in contact with.
So how should you go about doing this? Here are a few ways that you can highlight your customer’s successes:
The Quarterly Business Review
The Quarterly Business Review is a powerful tool when used appropriately and positioned to help add value to your customers. During this meeting, make sure that you’re able to carve out a section to review their current desired outcomes (yes, these change) and make sure you’ve got a solid understanding for how you’ll help them get there over the next quarter and beyond.
Use this also as an opportunity to highlight some customer wins against their last quarter’s desired outcomes to show progress. Customer Success software will allow you to easily show the changes over time, potential bumps in the road, and usage comparative to others within the same vertical. As a bonus, quarterly business reviews sometimes have executives or directors on the call so you’re penetrating the account and showing value that otherwise may have gone unreported or unnoticed.
The Big Deal
We all love to see our customers win big. It gives your customer the obvious satisfaction of reaching their desired outcome and looking like a Rockstar internally.
Unfortunately, they may not have realized that they even reached this success yet. Make sure that you’re setting triggers to get alerted as soon as this happens so that you can make a big deal about it. Give your client a call so that you can add inflection and excitement to the situation. Every time I see this done everyone leaves the call feeling great and itching to learn how they can replicate the success – opening the door for further discussions about adoption, renewal, and more.
What about when your customer doesn’t exactly win big but is noticeably on the right path to meeting their desired outcomes?
This is a great opportunity to maintain velocity. We know that, like most things, practice makes perfect. The idea on this one is to engage with your client and highlight how certain actions they’re taking are helping them take those steps down the path to their goals. It’s imperative on this one that you also give recommendations for how they can continue to see these types of results within their existing investment so that they can reach their destination quickly with even better results. This lets your customer know that you care enough to pay attention to the small details and truly want to see them succeed.
The Glowing Recommendation
Who doesn’t love seeing a recommendation come across for their work? This is one where you can truly add some visibility and kudos for your point of contact.
Once your customer has achieved their desired outcome with your solution – take a moment to reflect on how that person was instrumental in getting to that point. It doesn’t necessarily have to be focused on your core solution either. From there, write a professional kudos email to their supervisor and request their email so that you can send it along personally (if you don’t already have it.) I’ve seen some folks get some pushback here so sending the note along to them and allowing them to forward it along is perfectly acceptable. It will still have a similar impact.
This makes your point of contact look amazing, it highlights that your organization is a good fit for achieving their desired outcomes, and gives you a soft introduction to another contact within the organization that you’re serving if you don’t already have it.
The Bottom Line
Anytime you have an opportunity to point to the return on investment (ROI) that your customer has achieved with your solution – then do it.
Make it a point to help your customers understand the connection between your product or service and the ROI they’ve achieved. They’ve put faith in you to help them achieve their goals and invested in your solution to do so. By highlighting the return, you can also make your point of contact’s life much easier when it’s time to ask for the dollars for renewal.
The Quick Touch
Nothing super fancy about this one. Some days any role from marketing to support can feel like an absolute grind. Others, we feel like no matter what we do we can’t seem to get it right and would like to hit reset on the way our day is going.
Your customers likely feel this way some days too. A quick note, especially during the first few days or weeks, about how they’re already seeing results – even small ones – can make a significant impact on their mood and their day. Just let them know you were thinking about them and thought they’d like to see that new lead that came in that may have missed or an opportunity for them to produce results today that you wanted to make sure they got. I used to do this with HARO for my clients all the time.
Bonus: This can also be used to get them reengaged with your solution if they’re not already using it.
This is newer concept with the arrival of marketing automation and customer success software. When used properly this can make a world of difference – especially if you have more than just a few accounts.
Find a few stepping points or milestones that you find that almost every client reaches that propels them forward into a new way of using your software.
Then, take a step back and figure out whether you want this to be a personal email from you, an email from the organization, or an in-app message once they hit that milestone that immediately highlights their accomplishment. Some examples of this are the first time they set up an integration (along with next steps for setting up more), run a report for the first time, or use another feature in an advanced way.
Take a few of these and give them a shot. Not all of them are going to relevant for every single customer, however, if used in the proper way you’ll see a quick strengthening of relationships and new engaging conversations with your customers. Ultimately, the idea here is to focus more on your customer than to make it about your own solution.
Customer Success Around the Web
- Now You’re Talking My Language: In business, we often make the mistake that believing everyone understands what we’re trying to say and do–including our customers. I very often talk to my client’s clients, and I hear my clients being described in much more positive and impactful ways than they describe themselves! Sometimes, it’s like they’re talking two different languages. Read on about how Noah Fleming and his experiences have led him to find a way to communication that resonates with clients.
- Get Ahead of Those Fires with Deep Work Time: In customer success (and any discipline, really), there’s plenty of “shallow work.” There are emails to answer, phone calls to return, paperwork to complete, meetings to attend, etc. A whirlwind of multitasking and a cleared to-do list can be satisfying, but if none of those items added value to your job, what was the point? You need time away from distractions and shallow work to get ahead of your problems. Continue reading about how Nils Vinje recommends getting ahead with deep and distraction free work.
- 33 of the Best Productivity Tools for CSMs: In this guide, we’re sharing the tools that our community of Customer Success pros recommend and use. These tools will enable you to shave minutes, or in some cases hours, off your day, freeing up valuable time. Time that you can spend with customers. Ready to get some time back? This set of 30+ tools will help you stay sane and on top of things while you help your customers to achieve Success. Todd Eby goes on to give you an awesome list of productivity tools here.
Word to the Wise
Customer Success is all about the customer. So why isn’t our organization focused there as well? Hugh Blane asks 3 Questions to Transform Your Thinking and Your Performance on IndustryWeek.
“What if the core value inside our organization was to ensure dramatic customer success? What if we ruthlessly eliminated anything and everything that did not enable customer success?” – Hugh Blane, Claris Consulting