If your company is exploring the idea of implementing a dedicated Customer Success (CS) platform, the question of where to start can be daunting. Today’s Customer Success tools have an abundance of features with wide-ranging benefits, which can streamline efficiencies by centralizing customer data, serving up proactive insights, formalizing customer health scoring and leveraging automation. These tools have a profound impact on freeing up team member time.
With so many tools at your disposal, it can be challenging to determine how to best leverage a Customer Success platform and hit the ground running. That being said, if you apply the right tactics, supercharging your CS efforts can be a simple process. Take comfort in the fact that every CS team must start somewhere!
Curious where your team should begin? Check out these tips from some of ChurnZero’s CS Power Users and learn why ChurnZero and CS teams create a robust combination!
- Streamlining Onboarding
- Staying Organized
- Uncovering User Insights
- Applying Automated Alerts
- Accurately Organizing Customers
On Streamlining Onboarding
-Jeremy Jeffers, VP of Customer Success, Untappd
Prior to deploying a Customer Success platform, many companies find their CS operations comprised of an endless web of spreadsheets and unorganized documentation. A system like this, which typically lacks automation, requires frequent manual updates. The approach that may have worked for managing a small number of customer accounts can prove an obstacle as your company scales. This imperfect approach creates the potential for tasks to slip through the cracks as your client volume grows.
Automating the onboarding journey provides one way to ensure every customer starts on the right foot. Consider how tools like ‘Journeys’ and ‘Plays’ can help drive users to their ‘a-ha moment.’ Powerful automation can take human error out of the onboarding equation while still allowing for a personal touch.
Journeys are maps of key portions of the customer life cycle (like onboarding, renewals and advocacy.) They enable you to identify key process milestones, set timeline expectations and recognize your client’s achievements. The real-time insights from Journeys allow you to monitor and adjust your customer’s trajectory as they continue down the path to a successful implementation.
Plays allow your team to automatically engage with clients based on specific factors, enabling account management that is more proactive, timely and impactful for the client. Factors like usage, account health or their position in the customer journey, enable Plays to target customer contacts with the right messaging at the right time. Rather than waiting to notice a customer in need, Plays automatically assign tasks and deliver emails based on your client’s position in their onboarding process. If you’re new to customer success automation, here are a few Plays to try:
- Onboarding Milestones: Track milestones and engage customers if they go off track.
- Trial Guidance: As a new trial begins, engage and guide the user through the trial period.
- Power User Recognition: Recognize and thank users or accounts that are particularly engaged.
– Drew Jordan, Business Development, Gravyty
The consistency afforded by automating your CS onboarding process can uncover common trends and bottlenecks and provides insight into what works and what doesn’t. By supplementing these insights with usage data, you can correct any inefficiencies in your existing process. This allows you to optimize your onboarding experience for your next client and beyond.
As a customer success practitioner, tasks, to-dos and other obligations are a regular part of your life. In fact, much of your schedule is at the mercy of the accounts you manage!
Regardless of how chaotic your schedule is, it’s important to have a consistent way to begin and end your workday. It is easier said than done to stay on top of the latest needs, challenges and achievements of your book of business. This is especially the case for teams with high account-to-CSM ratios.
An effective CS home base is not only essential for your success, but for the success of your customers.
“The command center has been extremely helpful to keep track of tasks and pending tasks. When you’re an account manager with a lot of clients, it can be difficult to manage projects and campaigns. The command center helps prevent any tasks slipping through the cracks.”
– Samuel Park, Senior Strategist, SureFire Local
ChurnZero’s Command Center brings together everything you need to manage your daily to-do list. It displays your customers into a single comprehensive view, that lets you efficiently navigate your schedule. The goal of the Command Center is to easily assess what you need to do and what you have done throughout the day. When using this versatile tool, be sure to leverage:
- My Calendar: Integrate your Google or Office 365 calendar to sync your customer meetings. This gives you a quick view of your important upcoming events.
- My To-Dos: Quickly process your upcoming customer to-dos with checklists of open tasks and messages for review.
- My ChurnScore Changes: Easily organize and review customers who experienced changes in their health score. You can review the causes of these changes and immediately take action directly from your dashboard.
- My Segments: Review the customer segments that are most critical to your daily functions.
Rather than working out of a fragmented workspace made up of many tools, ChurnZero’s Command Center brings together all your essential data in one place. It provides one-click access to everything you need to organize your day. When joined with ChurnZero’s native integrations, the Command Center provides a single source of truth for all your customer information.
“It’s been great to be able to see aggregate data within ChurnZero in a way we weren’t able to before. Previously we would have to keep a million spreadsheets of data and do so much manual work, but ChurnZero solves that for us in so many ways.”
-Joy Bennett, Manager of Client Services, ConsumerAffairs
By collecting and organizing data from your existing systems (like your help desk, CRM or similar sources), your team will never be more than a few clicks away from their most important account information. Best of all, the Command Center eliminates the need to manually compile fragmented data, like pulling multiple internal reports.
Protip: The Command Center provides a critical foundation for leading one-on-ones and even team-wide meetings. It allows quick ease of comparison of account information for your entire CS team, while simultaneously highlighting important account changes and deadlines.
It’s easy to just collect as much data as possible on your customers, and while this may seem like a strong approach, it shouldn’t be the end goal. An approach of “data gluttony” can leave you frustrated and overwhelmed, with no results to show for it. What’s important is collecting data that will help you truly understand your customer and their needs and goals. These are insights that your team can act on. Step back and ask yourself, “what questions do I want my data to answer?”
“In a SaaS company it is vitally important to know how and when my customers are using the platform in order to take advantage of a patterns… [one can] see an upsell opportunity or save a customer from churning by seeing a decline in usage.”
-Pedro Vittes, Director of Business Development, GoCanvas
When determining what data your team needs to collect, consider the questions you are trying to answer. Are you trying to identify signs of slipping health? Or perhaps upsell opportunities? Regardless just remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for CS metrics. Here are a few metrics that matter when guiding your clients down their desired path.
Consider making use of data like:
- Features adoption
- Daily logins
- User activity
- New accounts added
- Customer – CSM relationship
- Support ticket volume and resolution data
We often think of leveraging customer data as just an internal benefit, but it can also provide advantageous insights for your customers.
“ChurnZero provides us with insight to customers that we normally wouldn’t have. We also are able to share this information, such as more detailed usage, with customers, which they find helpful, but we do too.”
- Allison Varn, Director of Account Management, CJIS Group.
The same data can identify gaps in product usage and flag areas for client improvement. For instance, tracking certain customer user behaviors, like the number of logins or total usage time, may signal a need for additional customer training. Likewise, the same data can reveal that specific product features aren’t being utilized by the customer. This could mean that your customer isn’t realizing the full value of your product.
This same customer data can prove valuable for both your product and development teams, especially when your team is creating a product roadmap.
– Tina Miranda, Client Success Manager, ConsumerAffairs
Customer Success teams contend with a long customer lifecycle that is time-intensive, beginning from the onboarding process through renewal and advocacy. This makes maintaining a pulse on a large book of business difficult, especially when your clients are at different points of the customer journey.
By establishing triggers, you can automate alerts and easily stay up to date on the latest account developments.
“Take advantage of the trigger email alerts! I’ve been able to promptly address potential client “fires” with the client before the client brought them up to me. This positioned me as a knowledgeable ally and resource that they can come to for assistance.”
-Daniel Feldman, Major Accounts Manager, Cision
Take a step back and consider what types of situations (triggers) can impact your customer relationships. These are great starting points when you’re getting started with Automated Alerts:
- Signs of Declining Health
- Has engagement dropped? Are customers exporting large amounts of data from your product? Are their NPS responses poor?
- Signs of Avoidable Churn
- Has a payment failed? Is a credit card on file nearing its expiration?
Just remember – not all alerts need to be negative. Some of the most powerful alerts signal opportunity:
- Expansion and Retention Opportunities
- Is a license limit being approached? Is renewal coming up?
- Recognition Opportunities
- Is a certain user particularly active and engaged? Has an account hit a certain onboarding milestone?
Real-time alerts can help your team stay on top of critical customer actions and prevent anything from slipping through the cracks. They can also be delivered through a variety of channels – within ChurnZero, via email or text message, and most recently, Slack!
– Tiffany Lucas, Client Success Manager, PlayMaker Health
Protip: Since all alerts aren’t created equally, you may choose to configure your alerts based on priority. When creating an alert use the ‘additional filter’ function to narrow down the alerts you receive. For example, you may choose to only activate onboarding alerts for clients with a tenure of less than 90 days. Also consider how configuring your Alert delivery methods. While alerts within ChurnZero are the default, your most important alerts may be better suited for SMS or Slack notifications.
CSMs know that not all customers are created equally. In the world of B2B SaaS, not all accounts can be treated the same way. Since Customer Success is all about driving value and outcomes for specific customers – a tailored approach is a must. This is where the power of Segmentation can come into play.
– David Casal Del Castillo, Customer Success Manager, ProntoForms
Segmentation should be your first step when organizing your customers into groups. Besides helping identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities, a strong segmentation strategy can identify customer risk and larger customer trends or patterns. It also provides an efficient way to orchestrate automated tasks, especially when dealing with high and low touch accounts. Logical account segmentation is a key to scaling your entire business.
Your approach to segmentation can take many forms. It may include customer demographics (revenue, size or industry) or even usage statistics (support tickets, license utilization or activities). How to best segment your customers comes down to your product and usage characteristics. Above all ensure that your metrics are as customer centric as possible. These customer-oriented segments are often the most fruitful.
The gains realized by better organizing your customers can be significant. Overtime you will collect enough data to create even deeper segments, revealing additional insights. From there you’ll be able to tailor your customer journey in a manner that fosters retention and drives additional opportunity.
Protip: Don’t know where to start? Check out this guide on constructing your Customer Segments
Your Team + ChurnZero: A Perfect Match
What to learn more about the features and tools that our customers love most? Check out our reviews on G2 Crowd– where we lead G2’s Momentum Report for Customer Success Software.
Ready to learn more about what makes ChurnZero the perfect match for growing Customer Success Teams? Request a demo here.
Customer Success Around the Web
- 5 Ways Customer Success Teams Can Drive Customer Acquisition – Learn the key ways CS teams can help drive acquisition for sales and marketing.
- Why Your SaaS Churn Metrics Are Probably Wrong– Discover the three mistakes businesses make when calculating customer churn.
- Increase Customer Success with Equivalent Metrics– See how equivalent metrics can drive desired user behavior and increase success.