Customer Success for Services Companies

Up until now, Customer Success (CS) strategies have primarily lived in the software and technology fields. As a leading provider of Customer Success software, we’re always looking for new ways that Customer Success strategies can be integrated into any company’s existing customer relationship systems.

In this article, we’ll examine the different ways that service-based companies such as marketing agencies, along with product-based businesses can utilize the scientific theories and ideas of Customer Success to keep their clients happy, while also fostering the growth of their customers to increase profits in the long run.

 

The Theories Behind Customer Success

For those new to the Customer Success world, here is a quick overview of CS:

The primary goal of implementing a Customer Success software system is to ensure the long-term success of the customer. Traditionally, salespeople were instructed to manage accounts simply to keep the customer, and nothing more. With innovations in Key Account Management systems like Kapta, the goal is now to ensure that the client is more profitable with the ability to thrive in the long-run.

If the client is profitable, the service provider is profitable. Customer Success entails going out of your way to ensure that the client is happy while providing them with a quality service that sets them up for long-term success.

 

The CS Process for SaaS Vendors

 The structure of Customer Success varies from company to company, but traditionally it follows these steps:

  1. Customer Success is Launched – typically within an hour after a free-trial of software is secured or payment is made. It’s vital to be “on the ball” in a sense and to be proactive in your approach.
  2. Requirements Gathering – A salesperson will contact the client, preferably by phone, and have a brief conversation to determine which problems the client is trying to solve. These issues are collected and saved in a file with the account.
  3. Finding the Decision-Makers – the decision-maker for the company won’t always be the person that purchases the software. Finding the key decision-makers of the client’s organization will help the software spread throughout the company which equals more sales and a stronger connection.
  4. What Are They Doing Now? – Referencing the problems identified in step two, it’s important to know how the client is currently solving their problems to determine how your company can be of help to them.
  5. Help them Learn the Software – this involves sending any training material to them so they can get the most out of the software, additionally scheduling webinar training if possible.
  6. Keep in Touch – checking-in with the client regularly from the start of the relationship will ensure that 1) they are getting the most out of the software and 2) let them know that you care about them and it adds a personal touch.
  7. Survey – typically, SaaS companies will send an NPS survey to evaluate their satisfaction with the service so far and any issues that need to be corrected. It also keeps the door open for future contact.

 

Using These Steps in Your Service-Based Company

A lot of these steps may seem exclusive to SaaS companies, but they can easily be transferred over to just about any company that wants to implement a Customer Success platform in their sales and account management processes.

 

Step One:

Instead of contacting them after they’ve purchase software, here you would reach out after you’ve landed a new client in your marketing agency or other service company. As soon as they have started working with you, you want to be in contact with them immediately.

 

Step Two:

Not much has changed from the traditional SaaS approach in this stage. Here you’ll talk to the client and determine the problems they need help with. They may need to increase their social media engagement, boost their website’s SEO, etc. It’s all about identifying their needs and proposing your company’s solutions.

 

Step Three:

Finding the decision-makers may be easier as a service-based company because your clients may very well be small businesses simply looking to bring in more customers and more times than not, your initial contact may be the decision-maker. This will vary from client to client, so adjust your techniques accordingly.

 

Step Four:

This is identical to any company whether providing services or products. Identifying the customer’s needs is the root of the selling process and determining how your product or services can individually solve their problems will seal the deal for your clients.

 

Step 5:

While you are not selling them a software tool, there is still information that you can give your client. If you are selling a product, provide them with the manual or suggested uses packet. If it’s a service, for example, a marketing agency, provide them with case studies from your most successful projects with real, tangible facts to show how good you are at what you do.

 

Step 6:

This will be the same for all companies as staying in touch with your new clients is essential to building a healthy and long-lasting relationship with them.

 

Step 7:

Finally, you should provide them with some form of a follow-up to see how they are enjoying your service or product and keeping the door open for the future.

 

Automate the Customer Success Process

While a personal touch is nice, wherever you can automate your processes, you should. Kapta features tools for Customer Success including Templates to help streamline the account planning process for your company. Kapta also offers organizational tools, so every client and the key decision-makers are kept in order along with any notes about the specific account.

The goal isn’t to replace your account managers; instead, the goal is to make the process more seamless and efficient so your account managers can spend more time communicating with clients and building a relationship instead of trapped in spreadsheets all day, trying to stay organized.

 

Conclusion

Putting customer’s success as priority number one pays off in the long-run and implementing a CS system into your enterprise will help your company and clients achieve long-term success. Feel free to read some of our other articles on our website and download a free trial of Kapta today.

 

Customer Success for Non-SaaS Companies: 3 Big Reasons to Hop on Board

Did you know that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator? Because search capabilities and social media have made today’s consumers more informed and educated about their options than ever before, it is imperative that businesses focus on more than just delivering customer service or support.

SaaS companies have realized this truth and are embracing Customer Success as a way to engage and connect with their clients and to ensure that clients excel alongside their brands. Strong success programs are helping to reduce churn rates, grow revenue, and build customer loyalty.

These same tactics can be used by any company. Every B2B company should begin leveraging Customer Success for sustained business growth.

The Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Success

Non-SaaS companies focus on providing excellent customer service or support in response to a problem the customer is experiencing. This is a reactive approach. Customer Success, on the other hand, is a proactive approach. Customer Success goes beyond solving problems—the goal here is to help ensure each customer not only understands the product they’re buying, but also achieves the results they’re hoping for.

Notice the difference? When this is carried out correctly, customers will enjoy their experience with your brand and will happily tell others.

There are some key reasons why non-SaaS companies should create Customer Success programs to engage their customers and help them generate results.

  1. Improves Customer Loyalty

When you take the time to prepare your customers with conversations and content geared to their success, they will love you for it. According to Capterra, “You’re 14 times more likely to sell to an existing happy customer than sell to a new customer.” Customer Success significantly increases loyalty as you develop real relationships that breed trust and faith in your brand.

Additionally, when your company delivers on its marketing promises and truly understands what success means to your customers, those customers often respond by promoting you to their social networks via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and word of mouth. They become advocates of your brand, helping to generate new business for you.

  1. Saves You Money and Grows Revenue

Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Plus, every sale to an existing customer is less expensive than the previous one, meaning more profit to your business.

Repeat clients also tend to spend more money with your company, adding products and services over time to further meet their needs. Fifty percent of consumers use a company more frequently after a positive customer experience and 86% are actually willing to pay up to 25% more. Creating these positive experiences is at the heart of a great Customer Success program.

  1. Boosts Your Customer Acquisition Strategy

A successful customer acquisition plan includes attracting ideal prospects to your company, converting these leads into buying customers, and finally, delighting your customers so they become loyal, raving fans of your brand.

If you neglect the delight phase of customer acquisition, you won’t reap all the benefits this strategy has to offer. Wowing your customers bolsters your marketing impact. By proactively engaging with your customers, understanding what their common issues are, and being keenly aware of your customers’ goals, you can publish relevant content that continues to offer solutions but also meets the subtler demands of your target audience.

 

Lincoln Murphy, founder of Sixteen Ventures and advocate of Customer Success, states:

“Customer Success is about more than delivering service or support. It’s about having real-time visibility into the issues customers are facing and finding smarter ways to manage those issues.”

Customer Success is not exclusive to SaaS companies. Begin implementing a Customer Success program to position your business for long-term growth, and you will see your own success increase as you add value for your customers.

 

 

Top 15 Customer Success Writers to Follow on Twitter

One of the best ways to improve your skills as a Key Account Manager is by following the top experts in your industry. The knowledge and resources they share can be an invaluable asset and keep you on top of the latest trends in Customer Success.

Your role of customer success is critical to the growth of your company. The better you get at ensuring your customers love your product, use it to its fullest potential, and benefit from it, the more your company succeeds in retaining lifelong customers of your brand. You can get there more quickly by following the blog and social media content of thought leaders and influencers in the key account and customer success industries.

Wondering where to look first? Here are 15 of the best customer success writers to follow on Twitter. Learn from the best and discover what’s working now to enrich customers’ experiences and strengthen the ties between customers and brands.

  1. Lincoln MurphyFounder of Sixteen Ventures

Lincoln shares growth and Customer Success strategies regularly. Over 400 SaaS companies have accelerated their growth due to his expertise in customer acquisition, retention, account expansion, and advocacy.

  1. Jaime SteinCustomer Success Executive at Hootsuite

Employed by one of the most popular social media management companies, Jaime builds relationships with influential organizations to help strengthen their social media campaigns and reach targeted audiences.

  1. Perry MonacoCustomer Success Manager at LinkedIn

In addition to managing a team of CS Managers, Perry also shares content via talks on Customer Success and social media marketing. Follow him to check out his next engagement!

  1. Tomasz TunguzVenture capitalist at Redpoint Ventures

Tom is a true believer and enthusiast of Customer Success. He shares how it’s a key element to every SaaS startup’s growth in a brilliant blog post here.

  1. Ellie WilkinsonSr. Customer Success Team Manager at Moz

Ellie is a master at cultivating customer relationships with Moz through proactive outreach, personalized trainings, and providing relevant resources to complement the customer’s journey.

  1. Todd SheiveSr. Customer Success Manager at Adobe

At Adobe, Todd works with clients to understand their omni-channel marketing goals while offering solutions and strategies to help them achieve real success.

  1. Margot da CunhaCustomer Success Manager at Wistia

As a content marketing and Customer Success Specialist, Margot is super qualified in this area, consistently sharing useful articles that CS managers can glean helpful tips from.

  1. Lou SturmManager of Customer Engagement at Unbounce

Once holding the role of Manager of Customer Success with Unbounce, Lou has immense experience in helping customers succeed in their journey.

  1. David LightCustomer Success Manager at Autodesk

David works with prominent clients at Autodesk to identify business challenges, share strategic implementation plans, offer technology solutions, and help with account development.

  1. Petr PinkasCustomer Success at Feedly

Working for one of the best content curation platforms on the web, Petr shares a plethora of amazing articles in the area of Content Success. His Twitter feed can be your one-stop source for obtaining the freshest content available in this space.

  1. Tia FomenoffCustomer Success & Social Media Specialist

Her previous experience as a Customer Success Manager for Buffer and Unbounce makes Tia a resourceful gal that Customer Success managers should follow.

  1. Dana NivCustomer Success Manager at Oktopost

Dana writes marketing and Customer Success posts for Oktopost’s blog, mainly targeting B2B brands.

  1. Ed Powers – Founder of SE Partners

Ed is a self-confessed “process geek” and runs a Customer Success consulting company based in Colorado.

  1. Carolyn KoppraschChief Happiness Officer at Buffer

Carolyn leads the charge for the Customer Success team at Buffer. She offers her thoughts and experiences through content on her personal blog.

  1. Mike EwingCustomer Success Strategy & Operations Manager at HubSpot

Check out Mike’s Twitter feed and you will find golden resources for Customer Success managers to utilize. He also delivers amazing content on his personal blog for eCommerce professionals to improve their strategy and results.

So there you have it; 15 Customer Success writers to follow on Twitter to build your network and resource base. What Customer Success writers do you follow that aren’t listed? We’d love to hear about them. Drop their name and Twitter handle in the comments below!