How often have we run into a Customer Success Management scenario where the point of contact has left, the Customer Success Manager that was handling the account has moved to another opportunity, or thing simply didn’t go according to plan when the customer first came onboard?
Now we need to try and get things moving in the right direction for our customers again. Here are some practical tips you can put into play today to try and reset or rebuild the partnership.
Lead with Empathy
Whether this person has just been put into this position and isn’t aware of why they use your solution in the first place or has been given a new point of contact (you) at your organization – keep in mind that some changes, seemingly big or small to you, can have a major impact on your customers and how they do their jobs.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the situation. Folks in Customer Success Management will often try and skate around the issue which only leads to wasted time and a frustrated customer. Instead, let them know that the change is impacting them and that you’re truly there to help.
Showing them that you understand their position and how it impacts their day isn’t enough, however, without acting.
Do your Research
A quick way you can act now is by conducing your research on the organization or even the individual that has come into the role. One of the frustrations I heard most from customers when they got a new point of contact as their Customer Success Management partner and advocate was that they felt they needed to start over from square one again.
If they’re new to the role then take time out of your day to do your research via LinkedIn, Google, maybe even the job posting for the position that they filled. If you’re taking over for another colleague, then use the resources that you have at your fingertips via your Customer Success Software, CRM, and other avenues to get a solid overview of what your customer’s journey has looked like so far, what they’re looking to achieve, and how they’ve been collaborating with your organization thus far to get to their goals.
By acknowledging that you’ve done your research and showing so in your communications, you’ll be able to build trust with the customer again quickly and at least find a shot at resetting the partnership with your customer. Part of your research should be asking them if anything has changed from what you’re showing and what they’re looking to achieve now. If they aren’t using your SaaS solution, find out why they’ve decided their day is better off without it. You might uncover quite a bit about their needs. Now it’s time to come up with a plan to continue their success (or get it back on track).
Come with a Plan
Don’t let your research be a stopping point. Your customers are relying on you to be their advocate and guide in this journey. Let the customer know that you’ll be coming up with a plan to make sure they’re meeting their goals, making their lives easier if you can, and helping them look like total rock starts to the folks they had to internally sell the solution to in the first place.
It’s not enough to think about a plan and discuss it. You need to put the plan into action and mutually agree on the steps that are going to get them to their ultimate goals. If you want to put together a fancy PowerPoint then that’s great, but at least put something in writing to show what the plan looks like even if it’s in an email. Of course, none of this is worth anything if you don’t deliver on what they need. Customer Success Management is about finding ways to get your customer to their goals and a plan without execution won’t get you there.
Deliver, deliver, deliver
I’ve seen it before in Customer Success Management. We do a great job of gaining trust, doing our research, and putting a plan together only to let it flop after all that work. The fastest way to lose trust is to say you’ll do something and never deliver on it.
Create tasks and check-ins to regularly track progress – even if these are for you to individually jump in and make sure you haven’t missed something. Never promise something that can’t be turned into a fulfilled promise and always set proper expectations for your customers. Lastly, always call to add value and never to simply check in.
Don’t be afraid to ask for additional help if you need it – even if that help comes from Marketing or Executive Management. Your customer’s success should be a top priority across the board and for good reason too – those ripples from customer success can be felt across the entire organization.
By taking a just a few extra minutes and truly trying to sit in your customer’s seat – you’ll find that they’re more willing to have a discussion with you. You’ll be a consultant and partner instead of a sales or support entity to your customers. Ultimately, these tips will help you reestablish your relationship with your customer, show that their needs and goals are your top priority, and that your company is the best partner for what they’re looking to achieve.
Customer Success Around the Web
- How to Prepare for a Customer Success Interview: Congrats! You applied for a Customer Success position and are now preparing for your first interview. Whether this is your first time interviewing for Customer Success, or you’re an old pro, there are a few things that you should do to prep yourself for success. Maranda Ann Dziekonski, VP of Customer Operations at HelloSign, gives some practical tips on LinkedIn.
- Customer Success is Your Company’s Success: Neha Sampat, CEO and Co-founder of Built.io, discusses how to ensure your customer is successful. Read on over at Inc.com.
- What’s the Purpose of Your Customer Success Program?: What would be possible for your customer success team if they knew exactly how to proceed in every situation? What if they always knew just what to do, or where to focus their energy? Would this change your day-to-day operations? Or the way your team worked together and managed their problems? Nils Vinje goes on to talk about setting up a functional customer success team properly.
Word to the Wise
Sitecore’s CEO talks on CMSWire about how they have a ‘Fanatical’ Customer Focus – adding to the long list of CEOs that understand how important Customer Success is to the growth of the organization.
“But what I’ll begin to add immediately is an emphasis internally on having a fanatical focus on customer success. Our measures of success will include a sharp focus not just on customer success, but on customer delight. We want our customers to be more than just satisfied. We want them to be wildly successful and happy working with us and using our solutions.” – Mark Frost, CEO of Sitecore