Back at the end of 2015, I shared 3 posts on creating your customer success strategy, and as we reach the mid-point of the year, I thought it would be a good time to check in to see how things are progressing. For those who missed the posts and would like to read up on how to build a customer success strategy, here you go: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Pause form the hectic day job, find a space in your diary and take time to reflect. What bold ambitions did you set for this year? What goals did you aim to achieve for your customer success function? How far have you got, and what is getting in the way of them? Let’s revisit the three headlines briefly.
Acquire: Building a united front with your sales colleagues is the most important area to start with, step into the pre-sales tasks, and driving a more focused customer desired outcome that you can measure and report back on to the customer is really important. How are you resourced for achieving this? Do you have the right mix of people engagement soft-skills and project management? Are your metrics in place and reportable? Are you gaining traction in the pre-sales cycle to influence the client?
Retention: Once you’ve successfully got the on-boarding flow working, fixing the low hanging fruit (product, process and communication), you can really focus on the adoption of the product. Helping your customer break old habits to form new habits with your product will increase your retention. What changes have you made to the process to facilitate on-boarding and adoption? How much feedback (objective and subjective) have you provided to your product teams to make things easier for the customer? What formal feedback mechanisms have you put in place with the customers to keep them informed and engaged as your product and service evolves?
For those on monthly subscriptions, the urgency is much greater, but for those on annual subscriptions, you still have time (JUST) to positive influence the customer before they enter their product review cycle. Take action swiftly and decisively, communicate with your teams openly and engage customer before the summer break as to how their users are achieving value from your product.
Monetise – As previously mentioned, Monetise can be split into two strands, Advocacy & Growth. On the Advocacy front, can you track how many customers have become fans, feeding your customer reference funnel? Is your customer success team measured and rewarded on how many of their customers enter the customer reference funnel? Whichever customer engagement measure you use – NPS, CES, satisfaction, utilisation / penetration, have you seen an increase based on the actions you’ve taken? If not, what changes or additional actions will you take to address any shortfall.
On the Growth front, how much progress have you made in creating a cross-sell and up-sell pipeline? Even if for beta / early life products, have you achieved an increased propensity amongst your customer base for discovering new offering? Can you measure the potential revenue contribution?
Overall, now is a great time to take a good, hard look at your progress to date. Celebrate the success with your team, re-calibrate expectations with your boss and double down on the effort in your core areas where you missed the mark to really make 2016 the year of customer success for your business. Good luck!