When I joined the ESG team earlier this year, I was excited, to say the least. I entered Customer Success with a unique perspective, bringing a sales and renewal background to the table. I was eager to help Customer Success as a Service spread like wildfire! But, before I could do that responsibly, I had a lot to learn about the world of Customer Success.
If I’m being honest, I had some preconceived notions of the ‘post-sales’ universe to unlearn from some of my own experiences around the relationship between sales and CS. Digging in to understand the goals that our customers have and the work that our teams do every day to help them accomplish those was eye-opening.
The concept of ‘keeping customers happy’ sounds like one of the most logical moves to make, yet it is so much harder than it sounds. From my time working in renewals, I’ve experienced moments when it felt impossible for a business to stay proactive and keep all their clients 100% satisfied. I have genuinely doubted whether it could be done.
After working in Customer Success for the past few months, I now see that an effective, proactive Customer Success practice is not only a possibility, but a reality in so many organizations. So, I wanted to share my experience and the key concepts that I’ve learned, in the hopes that it will help others who are considering a career in Customer Success or are new to the industry.
Advocacy is key
Advocacy from current customers is one of the most effective avenues to win even more business. I know, I know, my sales instincts are showing with this one, but really. When one client is extremely happy with your product or service, they are likely to tell colleagues and friends about how amazing you are. And since 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising, that becomes a pretty big deal. But of course, in order to create those customer advocates, you must first stay ahead of the customer’s needs and enable them to achieve their desired outcomes.
Customer Success drives revenue
With what feels like all of the business world living in the subscription economy, earning a large lump sum on an initial sale is now practically extinct. So, the necessity to keep customers engaged and satisfied is now more important than ever. By focusing on your customers’ success, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Net Retention become critical metrics.
For example, if you can keep a customer for, let’s say, ten years, you will have steady (and hopefully growing) revenue coming in as your business relationship continues to evolve to meet their needs. It just makes sense to focus on and maximize the revenue that already exists within your client base, rather than always hunting for new business, which is more costly in the long run (five to 25 times more costly, to be specific). If you invest in Customer Success now, it will pay dividends later.
As I’ve gained a deeper understanding of what it really means to have a truly proactive, effective Customer Success practice, the value hit me right away. Why it matters, what it means for your bottom line, how it helps the business continue to grow. I had a serious ‘aha’ moment when I realized that when done right, Customer Success will have a positive impact across your entire business. Not just from a financial perspective, but to members of other departments and teams as well.
Think about it, when your customers become advocates, that supports the brand awareness initiatives of your marketing department and the revenue goals of your sales team. Proactively preventing customer issues and escalations will ease the load of your support team. Listening to and socializing actionable feature and functionality feedback internally will help to guide your product roadmap. The firehose of data that comes out of CS can be utilized in so many powerful ways!
These three key takeaways are just scratching the surface of all I’ve learned about the value and importance of Customer Success since entering this industry. I have learned so much over the past few months and am so happy to be living in the CS world. I can’t wait to keep talking to more Customer Success professionals, and to learn more!