How to Create Your First Customer Success Team
Tips for Creating an Effective Customer Success Team
Helping your customers achieve success positions your business for success both by helping you retain existing customers and providing you with potential referrals that can lead to more business. Keeping existing customers, in a business landscape in which customer loyalty can be hard to come by, can be just as important as finding new ones.
Customer success teams are a relatively new innovation. Their creation was spurred, at least initially, by the adoption of the SaaS (Software as a Service) business model among several prominent technology firms. As a result, best practices for building these teams are still being developed. However, with the SaaS approach gaining momentum, more and more companies, even those that don’t use the SaaS model, are turning to customer success teams. These teams focus on working proactively with customers after they have been onboarded, helping them to optimize their use of the company’s products.
The use of customer success teams is designed to help firms scale their businesses by enabling them to simultaneously retain existing customers while launching marketing campaigns to attract new ones. Customer success managers (CSMs) have thus become hot commodities in the employment market, as companies look to hire individuals with the skillsets necessary to help build and run customer success teams. The following tips provide insights into various steps you can take when creating your customer success team.
Create a positive work environment
Your objective should be to establish an environment in which your team members exude positivity in every customer interaction. While your customers won’t always be positive, if your customer success team is, you substantially increase the odds that a given interaction will have a positive outcome.
If the work environment is a positive one, it makes it easier to train your customer success team to focus on delivering superior service. They should be encouraged to take a proactive approach to dealing with any issues raised by a customer. If they can’t solve a problem, they should be able to transfer the customer to another rep who will be able to do so.
Some policies that can be used in creating a positive work environment include:
- Hold regular training sessions: Train your team to be proactive when addressing customer needs, using examples that help them understand what you are looking for in this regard.
- Acknowledge excellence: Be quick to offer kudos to team members who demonstrate their skill and dedication in providing superior customer service.
- Emphasize collaboration: Keeping customer satisfaction high is a team effort. Stress that team members should work closely with one another to make sure the customer experience is as pleasant as possible.
- Stress proactive engagement: Your customer success team should be trained to reach out to customers with suggestions designed to enable them to succeed with the help of your company’s products already in mind. These can include things such as product optimization tips, techniques for measuring the impact of your product on the company’s business, and plans for growing their business via the use of your company’s products.
Exceed customer Expectations
Your customer success team is charged with the objectives of making the customer feel glad that they purchased your product, and to keep buying more of it or pay to retain it if it is a service. A good customer service team can also inspire customers to upgrade their purchases of a company’s products or services.
To inspire this behavior, your team should focus on exceeding customers’ expectations. This entails a high level of focus on quality on the part of each of your customer success managers. They should be prepared to go above and beyond the average level of customer service to satisfy a customer.
Building a relationship based on adding value to the customer experience is a primary function of the customer success team. In doing so, they create a dynamic whereby your customers will want to do business with your company not just because of the quality of its products or services, but also due to the excellent service provided by your customer success team.
Utilize Effective Tools
A customer success team needs to be able to clearly demonstrate the value of your company’s products to its customers. A variety of management software tools are available for this purpose. You can use these tools to offer your customers reports that demonstrate the value added by your product.
Such tools can also be used to outline future goals the product can help a customer achieve. A key area to focus on is enabling more productive use of your product. Your customer success team should offer consultations designed to enable customers to apply your products more effectively.
Hire Based on Character, not Just on a Resume
While your customer success team should certainly look for qualified individuals with experience in the field if they are available, when making hiring decisions you should focus on a person’s character as much, or more, as their resume. Facilitating customer success requires a person with a mixture of product knowledge and a positive, go-getter personality. Hiring CSMs with just one of these qualifications is not likely to result in optimal results.
To learn more about a potential hire’s character, ask questions in the interview process designed to help you determine if their personality makes them a good fit for the team. Explain what you are looking for in this regard to your human resources people so they can take this into account when evaluating applicants.
Take a Customer-Centric Approach
Don’t let your customer service team let distraction due to internal team or company matters, confusion about aims and objectives, or other issues deflect it from focusing on customer success. Other issues should always come second to focusing on helping customers use your company’s product successfully.
For instance, if your team is in a training session and a customer makes an urgent request, postponing the session or detailing team members to leave the session to help the customer rather than having the customer wait until the session is over would be the customer-centric way to handle the situation. Another example of a customer-centric approach is to be proactive about offering your customers growth planning assistance where your CSMs will draw up a plan outlining how a company can use your product to improve its prospects for growth.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps scale your businesses by enabling you to simultaneously retain existing customers while launching marketing campaigns to attract new ones. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…