Customer Success: Expectations vs. Reality

Customers are at the heart of every business. Whether it’s a supplier who ships materials to other companies, or a retailer who sells directly to the public. The people who use your services or buy your products, are what keeps you in business. However, not every business owner understands the importance of nurturing and developing customers. To encourage them to become loyal to your company and even future brand ambassadors. 

You may want to set up a customer success team with an expectation of “It will work!” But in many cases, the reality is quite different. 

Loyalty

Building a base of loyal customers is essential for growth and continued success. You want to have customers that will return to you instead of your competitors and not want to shop around for “the best deal.” 

There are numerous reasons why loyal customers are prefered. Firstly, you don’t have to work as hard or spend as much time and money on returning customers as you do trying to persuade new ones to sign up. Secondly, returning customers clearly love your products and are more inclined to give positive reviews and word of mouth. 

You might think that your customer success team is only needed when you want a customer to renew… However, this process needs to start as soon after they are signed up by Sales. By keeping your customers in contact with customer success, they can help clients with problems and make them feel valued. 

Complaints

Although you might expect that most of your complaints will go through your complaints team, there will be a selection that will be picked up by customer success. In most cases, it will be easier for the success team to deal with the issues that customers have, as they can offer help and advice. 

However, this also means that your customer success team needs to have the tools and the training to deal with such situations. This includes, having employees that have experience dealing with complaints effectively.

Targets

Most companies have their sales and marketing teams on targets, so they can get a certain amount of leads or sales which offer compensation if achieved. However, not many businesses will do the same for their customer success teams, as they see the sale as the end result. 

In reality, the quality of the leads and sales coming through, might not be good enough to keep those customers with your business. By setting certain goals with your customer success team, you can try to turn these customers into those that will re-sign. 

This is a better way of achieving success. Because you are helping the customer achieve their goals for your product and steering them towards resigning. 

Customer Data

Customer data is vital to know where to steer your company and what products to develop. Much of this data will come from external surveys and marketing. But you shouldn’t underestimate the data collected from your customer success team. 

Because they are always working to give your customers what they need, they will know a lot about them and what their ultimate use will be for your products. You need to be encouraging your success teams to be collecting this data and using surveys to find out what feedback your customers have. This data can be more important than any other, because it will measure what success is for your company and allow you to replicate it.

Onboarding

It can be easy to forget that while you will know everything about your products, your customers will not. Even with comprehensive guides, some customers may want to use your product for something it was never intended for. 

Customer success teams can be a great tool to use in this situation. Instead of seeing them as reactive and a way to get customers to re-sign, you should instead make them the “one-stop-shop” for your customer’s needs. 

Make the team pro-active and intervene, when your customers need them to help teach them, how to use your products. This will lead to more customers resigning than anything else. 

By removing the preconceptions you may have towards your customer success team, you can create a powerful tool that can help customers succeed and give you valuable insight into what they expect.

By Dan Wheatley, Co-Founder

CEO/Co-Founder of Straight Talk Consulting, a business consultancy that gets our hands dirty. We work with organisations to achieve product market fit before transitioning into scalable and repeatable growth