Why Startups Need a Customer Success Department

Katya Chubuk
23.01.20181,074 views Write the first comment
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If you don’t care about your clients, your competitors will certainly do. To avoid this, SaaS companies should have Customer Success Department.

In this post, we’d like to share our experience of building Customer Success and tell why this department is essential for both clients and company.

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It all started with Alex. 

Борода

 

Previously he took a position of Customer Support Manager at Ringostat. However, he wasn’t just a corporate stooge, he really did his best and had a super responsible approach to the working. When he managed the project, clients didn’t have any chances to experience misunderstanding and challenges with call analytics.

Alex has always checked that his clients clearly understood how to work with our service. To make sure that customers will be successful, he not only supported them but taught, too. Regularly he consulted customers and wrote detailed explanations and comments.
It turned out that Customer Success operational model unintentionally was a part of the way Alex did his business.

The transformative power of CS was relevant for our company, so we decided to create a special department dedicated to this direction. Alex became the first Customer Success Manager and later headed the department.

Our experience has shown that building a Customer Success Department has to be one of the driving purposes.

We’ll lay out the reasons for this conclusion.

  1. Sales Managers introduce the service to the customers. But they don’t have time to consult them during the whole process of using.
  2. Proper Customer Support can be a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, it resolves only existing issues while Customer Success Department prevents them. Sometimes clients don’t understand that something goes wrong. The goal of Customer Success Department is to see that in time and help rectify mistakes.

Why Customer Success is Essential

That are the benefits from the company’s perspective:

  • many worldwide companies practice it and get benefits (for example, Salesforce and Evernote);
  • this method has a positive impact on the customer lifetime value and number of the payments for our service;
  • it helps build long-term and trusting relationships with clients.

Let’s look at it on the flip side.

Thanks to Customer Success, your clients:

  • achieve the desired outcome ;
  • enjoy service;
  • learn all product features.

How to Build Customer Success Workflow

80% of Customer Success Manager’s responsibilities are about communication. So it’s not the best position for silent introverts.

Managers communicate with clients through phone, email, Skype, and Intercom. The last one collects all the customer inquiries from different channels including a website chat.

Customer Success managers work with all clients no matter what is their tariff plan.

The working process for each project is organized on this basis. 

Scheme

The first stage: onboarding

Introduction to service

The main goal of introduction is to show service capabilities and value to customers. It begins right after project set up.

Sales Manager summarizes goals and tasks for a new project according to customer’s expectations and sends him an email. Also, he specifies the contacts of Customer Success Manager. The cooperation between CSM and clients starts from this moment.

At the beginning, CSM analyzes the project, its settings, client’s website and checks out described tasks. Then he prepares recommendations and instructions on how to achieve desired goals.

After signing up a new user begins to receive the email chain every day during a 14-day free trial.

Here’s the example of this email.

photo_2018-01-23_18-00-31

Actually, onboarding is the most important stage in the working with clients. It’s the basis of customer loyalty.

Just look at this data:

  1. without onboarding —  55% of users paid for the service after a free trial and 48% of users paid for the second month, too.
  2. with onboarding —  66% of users paid for the service after a free trial and 50% of them paid for the 2nd month.

 

Observing the project

Actually, this process is iterative. Customer Success Manager always sees how the projects get phone calls and prevents issues with the call tracking script.

When there’s enough data, CSM makes the report on call analytics with explanations of different indicators and metrics. Thanks to this, a user may get a better understanding of how to independently analyze calls. Before the end of the free trial, a manager contacts the client to learn about his impressions of service.

During the whole onboarding process, Customer Success Manager is always ready to communicate and receive new tasks from a client. He shares the digest of useful posts with a customer and helps set up goals.

While Customer Success department plays a significant role, the customer’s behavior isn’t less important. The more active the client is and more questions he asks, the faster he achieves desired goals.

The second stage: Active Existence

By the end of the 1st month of using Ringostat, customers are already familiar with their personal accounts. During 2nd and 3rd months users usually actively dive into product opportunities and begin improving their business processes (website and sales process) according to received data.

Their changes can have an impact to call tracking, too. That’s why after 2 months of active existence we propose to make an audit of client’s project to make sure that call analytics works properly and executes client’s tasks.

After 3 months of active existence, clients can conclude which ad campaigns perform well and produce results and which waste marketing budget. Actually, not all clients can independently evaluate it. So Alex and his team provide assistance on the measurement of advertising effectiveness. They make a basic audit of results in terms of phone calls and check the availability of typical mistakes.

The Metrics

Working with customers is just a part of the responsibilities of CS department. Another part is analyzing the metrics important for our company. We went with Planhat and Satismeter as main platforms for tracking following metrics:

  • Lifetime (LT) is a term of customer’s interaction with the service. Lifetime Value is the value a customer contributes to your business over their entire lifetime at your company. Simply the sum of the gross profit from all historic purchases for an individual customer. By knowing this metric, we can predict customer acquisition costs.
  • Churn Rate is a percentage of customers stopped subscribing to a service.
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score) is a metric that displays customer loyalty. We gauge it by sending the questionnaire to our clients in Satismeter. Thus, we understand if a customer intends to prolong the cooperation with us.
  • CHS (Customer Health Score) —  the platform calculates the most important metrics that directly lead to the project’s success. One of these metrics in our niche is the number of missed calls. If the company misses many calls, Planhat reduces health score.

Customer Health Score includes the most important metrics company chooses. If a manager identifies that CHS is too low, he analyzes the reasons and recommends to clients how to improve it.

Have a look at the example of Customer Health Score below: 

CHS

 

Customer Success platforms have a great advantage: they automatically track the changes.

When the negative dynamic of the project is identified,  Customer Success manager gets a notification.

Reducing the number of phone calls or a big percentage of missed calls are the metrics of the bad customer health. Actually, the customer may not even know that he has problems until Customer Success Manager informs him.

How to create a team

Customer Success expert is a person which combines the skills of Sales Manager, marketer and Customer Support Specialist. Therefore, a perfect Customer Success Manager should have the previous experience of work in sales and customer support. Thanks to the multitasking, managers of CS department have the deepest understanding of the service at the company. 

Also, the best candidates for CSM position are people who always want more. They are perfectionists. One more important skill is a capability to simply explain complicated things. CS manager must write instructions easy for understanding.

Education

Newbies must complete orientation programme and learn in detail about product opportunities. After that, they deeply dive into web analytics basics.

New managers usually start with small projects and simple settings and support customers under Alex’s control.

Education in Customer Support is a quite intensive process. Every day managers face up with new issues and tasks. To begin the working without Alex’s help, CRS has to pass a specific exam.

 

Conclusion

If you want to stand out amongst the competition, consider creating a Customer Success Department.

This method will help you satisfy both company and customers. The clients will enjoy using the service and continue to work with you. You will get more payments that may help your company be stable and achieve its goals.

This way you can make your customers want to prolong the subscription 😉

Remember that customer success is your success.  

borat

 

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