While the concept of being customer-centric isn’t new, there’s been a heightened focus recently on prioritizing the customer within SaaS organizations as a way to help reduce customer churn. The idea is to create a positive customer experience not only during the sales process but also post-sale. If a company puts a focus on their customers’ success, they can provide value and differentiate themselves from their competitors who do not embrace the same model.
Companies that prioritize their customers’ success are 60% more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer (source).
On the flip side there can be some stark consequences company-wide when the customer is not a priority. Here are four unwanted outcomes that should be avoided.
Customers Become Costly
Unhappy customers are expensive to both serve and support. If processes and a team aren’t put into place to on-board, train and guide customers properly throughout their lifecycle stages, then you are going to pay for it later down the road. Besides the upfront cost of having to pull staff to serve as essentially a firefighting team, there are other associated costs. A typical way to try and put a band-aid on unsuccessful customers is to offer them more products and services for free so they don’t leave. You can see how the tolls keep getting higher and higher.
Missed Growth Opportunities
If you ignore customer success, it doesn’t just sit and wait – it will actively and negatively impact your current business and growth potential. Without a team dedicated to making sure your customers are getting the most out your products and services you are going to be in the dark on so many things, especially growth opportunities. If you are relying on support calls and renewal discussions alone to uncover these cross-sell or upsell opportunities, chances are high you are leaving a lot on the table.
Heightened Employee Stress
Unsuccessful customers are not only a drag on growth and a waste of resources as previously mentioned but they also hurt employee morale. If no department in the organization steps up to take ownership of making sure your customers are receiving value in a proactive way, then they are perpetually going to treated like a hot-potato. This kind of setup will cause friction on all sides, coming from your customers, but also amongst your own internal teams. If you’re customers aren’t happy, then it only makes sense that sentiment will also transfer to your employees.
Increased Customer Churn
So, what happens after you haven’t been able to bring a new customer onboard and get them set up for success and deliver value? You guessed it – they are going to stop doing business with your company. There is a direct relationship between customer lifetime value and the ability to grow your business. It is much more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain existing customers. If you are losing customers there’s no way around it, your bottom line is going to suffer.
What Can Be Done?
If you are experiencing any of these negative consequences within your organization, you aren’t alone. Or even if you’ve somehow managed to do pretty well without focusing on customer success, now is the time to get ahead of these concerns.
Here’s three steps you can take to get on the track for prioritizing your customers and their success.
1.Change the Mindset
The first step to prioritizing your customer is to change how your organization thinks about customer success. Customer success isn’t just about customer service, it’s more proactive than that. Another thing to understand is that it’s not just about if the customer is happy or not. A customer could “be happy” with you but still be at risk of not renewing. It’s up to the company to make the customer see value in your product and service and help them realize that success, that they themselves might have even known was possible.
2. Map Out Your Customer’s Journey
If you are looking to improve on your interactions and touchpoints with your customers it’s important to first look at the current customer experience. You can do this by mapping out their journey from buying, onboarding, deploying, training, adopting, growing, and ultimately renewal and continued success. As you map out this journey it will highlight areas for improvement in your communication and engagement with your customers. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about how you would want the process to go.
3. Make the Investment
Customer success groups are rapidly growing in businesses around the world, and for good reason. For a long time – to be successful businesses have had to build exceptional sales team, and have exceptional marketing teams to help build growth. But today companies can no longer take their current customers for granted because the cost of losing them, is as stated above, too costly. Customer success is the new growth engine for 2018, and it’s here to stay. So, get ahead and your competition and state making an investment in both headcount and technology to support this new model.