Let’s be honest. If it were possible to just make one sale, stop there and have a “forever customer,” everyone would be a Customer Success (CS) pro. That isn’t quite our reality though.
The CS reality is a lot more complex, nuanced and ultimately scientific. It requires relationship building, thoroughly understanding customer needs, advocating for their wants, and helping every customer — not just the largest — flourish in ways they never could alone.
Simply put: CS helps customers have the very best product experience possible.
But CS organizations can’t do it alone. Unlocking a proverbial holy grail of enhanced product adoption, increased renewals, thriving upsells and product advocacy requires collaboration with other business units, especially Education Services (ES). However, much of the time we find these organizations and teams operating in silos – ultimately creating a disjointed customer experience.
We can hardly fault CS teams for losing their way in a young industry strapped for resources just as much as it is experience. What we can do though is shine a light on how ES can positively impact CS strategy. That said, before we go any further, take just a moment for some quick self-reflection. Have you ever found yourself doing one or both of the following, — a.k.a. the first roadblocks to embracing ES:
In our experience, engaging customers with proper training can be a game-changer. Yes, there must be a foundation of quality product design and thorough onboarding, but customer education goes beyond how a product works to revealing how customers can reach outcomes faster. And that’s a revelation that must remain present throughout the customer journey.
Still doubtful? Know that for a properly educated and trained customer, there is a:
Ok, now are you ready to step out of your silo into the ES light? Well, patience, young grasshopper. Don’t become a cautionary tale.
There is no hard and fast instruction manual for understanding where to insert education in the customer lifecycle. We see a lot of CS teams stall out in its integration, and worse yet, they go back to their old ineffective ways.
Building on that last point, when CS teams outsource to the right CS partner, they experience significant return on investment. Overall cost savings mitigate expenses. And working with a partner experienced in ES and CS eliminates sometimes-insurmountable learning curves.
Discover more about hitting the ground running with ES integration into your CS strategy by downloading our white paper, “Turning Knowing into Growing: Integrating Education Services for More Powerful Customer Success.”
If this sounds familiar, you’re likely one of the many budget-strapped Customer Success (CS) leaders we talk to every day. Folks who know that to improve their bottom lines they need higher touch engagement with their customers — but don’t have the resources to make that a reality.
While attending this year’s Gainsight Pulse Conference, the significance of human-touch was made clear across the board. One case study showed that even just a minor increase in human-touch engagement resulted in increased customer software subscription renewals. Confirming what we already know: Following a strong CS model unequivocally delivers increased renewals, increased revenue from aforementioned renewals, and decreased customer churn.
We see two options:
The first option is great if a CS team has the money to bring on new hires, the track record to convince decision-makers to expand the team, a pool of qualified applicants to pull from, the resources to onboard new hires, and a proven CS model to ensure ROI.
Unfortunately, that scenario tends to better describe a CSM’s fever dream than reality. The sad truth is most companies we come across run into hurdle after hurdle when trying to extend their internal CS teams.
That’s where the cavalry, more commonly known as virtual Customer Success Managers (vCSM), comes in. vCSMs help CS teams to scale their proven, human-centric strategy across larger or lower-value tiers without the expense and stress of hiring internal resources. vCSMs provide the critical human touch that augments tech touch and bottom-tier neglect described in our blog post, 3 Customer Success Best Practices to Scale People & Automation.
A successful vCSM solution flips the “do more with less” philosophy on its head. It answers the call to reduce cost and streamline operations while delivering bigger bottom lines — a demand that typically pressurizes organizations to do more with less and a stress that automation alleviates but does not solve alone.
If you’ve been following our white papers, you know we believe most companies follow the 80/20 Rule. In short, it’s the idea that most CS teams focus on their biggest customers, typically because of limited resources. Those customers tend to make up the top 20 percent of their customer base. The other 80 percent falls in the coverage gap — a place of no return where customers experience low-touch engagement if any engagement at all.
The added bonus of vCSMs focusing on low- and middle-tier customers is that existing CSMs can stay focused on key accounts and initiatives.
In short, Customer Success as a Service (CSaaS) drives better customer experience, which unlocks more sustainable growth for you and your customers. An idea illustrated in practice by SaaS Capital, which has found that businesses prioritizing Customer Success can see a 40 percent increase in revenue and 50 percent faster growth.
Take a more in-depth look at how the right CS partner can help you have your cake and eat it too when you have champagne-level needs on a juice box-level budget in our latest white paper, Building a Business Case for More Customer Success Resources.