This is a guest blog post by LiveAgent.
What makes a successful business? Most people would say a great product or an aggressive marketing and sales strategy. Even though this is partly true, the reality is that happy customers make successful businesses. The better the service, and the more customer-centric your business is, the more likely it is to succeed.
Why? Because customer retention is tightly correlated with customer satisfaction and customer service. As such, Customer Success and Support teams need to work together closely to keep customers happy and coming back for more.
The Difference Between Customer Support and Customer Success Teams
Even though Customer Support and Success teams share a common goal (customer satisfaction and retention), their roles are very different.
Customer Support teams are reactive and focus on resolving customer’s issues. Their primary focus is to drive customer satisfaction.
On the other hand, Customer Success teams are proactive and focus on long term strategies, such as understanding and supporting your customers’ desired business outcomes. In essence, Customer Success teams ensure that your customers are getting the most out of your product, and recognize it’s value.
5 Best Practices for Improving Customer Retention
1.) Build a Great Infrastructure
Having a great infrastructure is the first step to keeping your customers happy and loyal. By giving your Customer Support and Success team members access to the same productivity tools, you’re ensuring that they have a complete overview of your client’s activities and information, resulting in quicker, higher quality service.
So what does good infrastructure consist of? Simply put, good infrastructure should save you time and effort through automation. It should also be easily accessible by all team members, and allow you to track, store, and view relevant information about your customers.
There are tons of tools that can be used for this. However, our suggestion is to invest in help desk software. Advanced help desk systems, such as LiveAgent , have a built-in CRM, tons of automation features, data analysis, and reporting dashboards, and can be easily accessed by all team members in a secure way.
In addition to that, help desk systems streamline all customer communication channels, making it nearly impossible to neglect any customer query.
2.) Consistent Feedback Loop
It’s essential for Customer Success and Support teams to work together as a united front. Because Customer Support teams are generally dealing with customer issues, it’s their job to relay the feedback they receive to Customer Success teams. If they don’t, this valuable feedback will be lost, which can impact your business negatively.
For example, imagine you’re selling software, and a customer is saying that they’re consistently experiencing outages with your product, resulting in lost data. If this information isn’t relayed to your Customer Success team, fixed, and prevented in the future, the customer is likely to churn. As such Customer Success and Support teams must work together very closely to improve customer retention.
A great way to collect feedback and improve retention is by creating surveys (NPS, CSAT, CES), customer interviews (long-form, face to face), or by monitoring online review portals. After feedback is collected, customer success and support teams should come together to analyze the findings and create actionable insights to improve customer satisfaction.
The goal is to bridge the gap between customer expectations and reality in terms of your support, and product.
3.) Educate Your Customers
Educating your customers about your product is key. If your customers don’t know how to use your product, how can they achieve their business goals? Take some time to onboard new customers, create pilot projects with your Customer Success Managers, and provide training with your Customer Support team.
There are plenty of ways to go about educating your customers. Think webinars, release notes, blog posts, or knowledge bases with how-to-articles, FAQs, and forums. The sky’s the limit. Remember, the more comfortable your customers are with your product, the more they can achieve. And if they’re consistently meeting or exceeding their business goals thanks to your product, they’re unlikely to churn. In fact, they’re more likely to recommend your product to others and have a higher
4.) Recognize & Share Patterns
Both Customer Success and Support teams need to recognize patterns about their client’s usage. Monitoring and analyzing these patterns will help you determine whether your clients are meeting their business goals using your product.
If you don’t keep a close eye on these metrics, customers are more likely to churn. Thus, it’s important to make use of tools such as help desk software or relationship management tools to monitor usage and trends.
Regardless of the trends being positive (increased activity) or negative (decreasing number of logins) both Customer Support and Success teams need access to this data in order to take appropriate actions.
For example, if user activity has increased over the past few weeks, it could mean that the client has an important deadline coming up, and will need extra support. On the other hand, if the clients are seemingly using your service less and less, it could mean that the product is starting to lose value for them. In this instance, Customer Success Managers could set up meetings to go over new features and propose new success metrics and projects.
Overall, it’s important for Customer Support and Success teams to monitor these patterns, share them with each other, and take appropriate action.
5.) Smooth Handoffs
There’s nothing worse than contacting Customer Support and being ‘passed around’ from one agent to another. Even though Customer Success and Support teams have different roles in every organization or business, the customers don’t necessarily know that. So, if a customer contacts Support, but the issue is clearly in the Success team’s ‘jurisdiction’, they need to be handed off to the other team smoothly.
If no explanation is provided for the handoff, customers can become frustrated and churn. Make sure you always let your customers know why you can’t help them, why the other team will be more equipped to help them, who they can expect to hear from, and when.
Furthermore, to ensure there’s no confusion about which department owns each issue, have clear internal rules/guidelines for who owns communication on what topics and how each team feeds into the other when the customer opens a conversation with an incorrect team.
The Bottom Line
The ultimate goal of Customer Success and Support teams is to satisfy customers, reduce churn, and increase retention, and customer lifetime values. To do so, both teams need to work together closely to monitor client behaviors to ensure they’re consistently meeting their business goals and getting value from your product. If not, both Customer Support and Success teams need to come together to take action and re-engage the customer.
Customer Success Around the Web
- How to Measure Customer Satisfaction in 8 Simple Steps– Learn how to track customer satisfaction and what to do with that data.
- Rearchitecting Customer Success with VirtualCSM Model– Understand how has CSM effectiveness been impacted in a all virtual world.
- Customer Success is a Team Sport– Learn how and why to partner with other departments as often as you can – success is a team sport after all!
Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.