Customer success management helps the customer to be more successful on the market through the sale of a service or a product. Discover here what this is all about and how this rather new sales discipline is different from customer support.
What is customer success?
Customer success management is part of the customer experience (CX) and goes well beyond customer support. While conventional customer management takes over when a customer has a question or complaint, customer success management is proactive. It supports customers in optimally leveraging a purchased product or service so that the sale achieves measurable added value, achieves goals and makes the company more successful.
Initially, customer success management gained significance in the software industry; particularly SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) companies used it to support their customers. But in other B2B industries, too, where products and services requiring a high amount of explanation are the rule and not the exception, companies are increasingly hiring customer success managers.
Recommendations and years-long loyalty: why customer success is so important
The relevance of this rather new sales discipline is understandable: those who help customers face a challenge, before it ever develops into a serious problem and could lead to a complaint, raises their customers’ satisfaction to a new level. The likelihood that these customers will remain true to the company increases. And this has a positive effect on the number of recommendations. According to a survey from Temkin Group, the chances that loyal customers will recommend the seller to others increases fourfold.
And in the customer service benchmark survey from Pidas (German), nearly all those questioned agree that a strong customer-centric approach is important for their business. Just under three-fourths are of the opinion that the relevance of CX will continue to increase and be essential for remaining competitive.
A promising customer success strategy
Successful customer success management requires resources, mainly an after-sales consultant, in other words a customer success manager. This person must be familiar with the product or service sold in-depth so that they can provide solutions to all possible problems. This first contact for the customer should either create a basis for trust during the purchasing process or, at the latest, directly after the sales closure.
If not yet done, the employee should define concrete figures together with the customer against which the success of a product or service sold can be measured, as well as develop a joint strategy for achieving the goals. The more work the employee takes over from the customer, the better. This especially goes for the integration of the solution sold. During this process, questions always normally pop up. Fast and competent help which goes beyond simple documents is indispensable in this phase. Webinars, demonstrations or trainings are good tools in this case for optimising the onboarding process.
Determine upsell opportunities and prevent customer bounce
Over the course of the relationship to the customer, it is important to actively follow up on how the customer is coming along with the product or solution, and to identify potential for improvement. The so-called Net Promoter Score can help to structure customer satisfaction.
Dealing with customer complaints (German) is one of the most important tasks of the customer success manager. It requires the ability to be compassionate and communicative. Important is that the interests of the customer are also represented in internal meetings and that the manager acts quasi as the “solicitor of the customer”. Should a customer dissolve a relationship anyway, it is helpful to find out the reasons for this, to at least be able to react even more appropriately to other customers in this respect and thus to prevent a strong fluctuation.
If the customer, in turn, is satisfied, the customer success manager can try to amaze the customer with upsell and cross-sell offers which promise even greater success.