While usage isn’t the only indicator of customer success – it is a fact that if they do not utilize the solution fully, then they are much less likely to renew with your company. This past month, we reached out to CSMs at SaaS companies to ask what their biggest struggle as a CSM was. Top answer? Getting my customer to adopt my solution.
As Customer Success professionals, our job is to do what is in the best interest of the client so that they reach their desired outcome and make the most out of their current investment with our solution. Sometimes it can even feel like you’re getting a bit of push back when trying to show them a better or easier way to do things.
Here are just a few ways that you can help your customers adopt your solution:
Put their needs first
We all want our clients to love our solution. The important thing to remember is why they invested in your solution and organization in the first place. Are the feature sets that they’re already using within your solution part of their journey to their desired outcome? Do they truly need to use more to get to where they need to be?
If they do, then it is our duty to introduce this to them but keep in mind that you need to lay the path out for them. Help them see the vision of how it could help their specific organization reach their desired outcome. Don’t be afraid to reach out and be an “inconvenience” – you have something of value and want to help. If you’re confident that this solution will truly help your client then it should be a very easy conversation to have and your customer will thank you.
One way you can do this is by putting together a short-list of ideas for how they can utilize those specific features that are specific to their organization or industry. By delivering this, you’ll show them that you not only are thinking about them but you were willing to put some skin in the game as well.
Make it easy to use
This one should be a given, however, there are so many dated applications that simply feel clunky and slow. Think about the last time you went to send an email that took even just a few seconds to process. It was a bit frustrating because it hindered your workflow.
Your customers feel the same way about using your solution. To make it easier to adopt, make sure it’s easier to use in the first place. From past experiences, I’ve found that if your customer goes to utilize the solution and finds it too hard to use – they are much more likely to set it aside and never come back to it. You may have done the work to show them the value all to end up where you started.
The best thing you can do is keep an open feedback loop with product management to ensure your customer’s voice is being heard. If you don’t already have a formal way of submitting their ideas along for making the product easier then I would highly recommend setting one up. Customers sometimes come up with some of the best ideas for future improvement.
The value of resources to help your customers learn how they truly want to learn is entirely powerful. Some folks will thrive with a 20-page PDF that explains step-by-step how to utilize the solution and others will have a much easier time with a video tutorial that they can follow along with. Some may even require more intimate one-on-one training with you or your team to get it nailed down.
We shouldn’t strive to offer one or the other in this scenario. We should instead do our best to offer them a choice if possible so that we can cater to our customer’s needs and truly help them adopt the solution that they’ve invested in. This will save you a lot of time down the line.
If you’re not sure what your customer prefers then don’t hesitate to ask them – even if you’ve already provided the link to all the resources. This sort of communication (especially early on) can help you avoid unnecessary frustrations and issues down the line and hopefully help them reach their goals much more quickly than if you hadn’t taken the time to ask.
Don’t force it
Remember that while they did indeed invest in your solution – it doesn’t always mean that they need every single feature set to achieve their desired outcome. From time to time, there are customers that simply purchased for a few portions of your total solution and that’s totally OK if it helps get them to their goals.
The more you try and force the features that don’t align with their goals on them the more likely they are to avoid you in the future and be left with a nagging feeling. Instead, focus on celebrating your customer’s wins and turning them into advocates.
It’s important to remember that every single customer purchased your solution for a specific desired outcome. It is our role in customer success to help uncover what that outcome truly is, how we can get them there quickly, and what specific feature sets will help do so.
Customer Success Around the Web
- Fight Churn by Tracking Red Flag Metrics: Typically, customer success programs own the churn rate. It’s the job of a SaaS organization’s customer success managers (CSMs) to keep that number as low as possible. Your actual churn rate is irrelevant because you should always be working to lower it. Zero churn isn’t your floor. Negative churn is possible. Read on here about how you can fight churn by tracking red flag metrics over at Glide Consulting.
- 5 SaaS Startups Using Customer Success Content to Educate Current Customers: Somewhere along the line, we lost the idea to “Give the people what they want!” As marketers and as startup founders, that idea has always been our guiding star. But along the way, that simple message tends to get diluted, becoming “Give the people what we think they want,” or even worse, “Give the people what will make us the most money.” What happens all too easily is that the people don’t get what they want, or get what they want at first, then find themselves saddled with a version of your SaaS that doesn’t deliver what they need at all. Read on at INTURACT to see what 5 SaaS Startups are doing to help educate their customers.
- 5 Customer Success Post-Sales Pitfalls: In order to make sure your CSMs are prepared, take a look at these common post-sales pitfalls, strategies for success, and best practices at every point of the post-sales customer lifecycle to ensure critical issues don’t slip through the cracks. Read more over at Business 2 Community here.
Word to the Wise
Talking about customer success without talking about love for our customers and how we can help them grow is like driving a car with no tires. Check out how Videoconferencing vendor Lifesize transformed from a product to software-as -a-service and how they’re helping their customers succeed on diginomica.
“We had to redesign the entire company. Customer support was like a complaints department. [A customer-centric approach] was not in anyone’s DNA at the company in any way. We had to shift the attitude and culture of the company to think with the end user in mind first.” – Amy Downs, Chief Customer Success Officer at Lifesize