Customer success is the area of your business focused on fulfilling customer’s needs by providing them with the support they require to use your product or service to its fullest potential.
This support can take many forms:
- live or asynchronous communication delivered by your customer success team
- the development of robust help documentation and self-serve resources
- strategic interactions that aim to decrease churn and improve retention
The objective of customer success is to remove any friction associated with using your product. It goes beyond answering product questions and troubleshooting issues. It extends to seeking opportunities to positively impact customer experience.
Customer Success Employee Titles
In the context of SaaS teams, many companies have taken on their own variations to describe team members who work within customer success. Here are a few:
- customer success
- customer experience
- customer support
- customer champion
- customer solutions
- customer happiness
- happiness hero
- happiness engineer
Note: “Customer service” is used less often to describe customer success roles in technology companies. Additionally, “user experience” denotes “UX” which describes team members who are a part of a design or product team, not customer success.
Setting up Customer Success
1. Develop your Documentation
It’s hard to scale customer success, particularly when you fail to provide your users with the documentation they could use to self-serve. Build a strong resource section on your website and anticipate user concerns in a detailed FAQ. Then, empower customers to use them. Creating helpful resources will decrease time spent answering basic feature questions and reduce the overall demands on your customer success team. Remember, live demos and videos can be particularly helpful for showcasing a product to users.
2. Set Your Parameters
Set the parameters of your customer success based on the nature of your business. Ask yourself key questions and answer them based on the capacity of your team and the level of support you aim to provide. Here are just a few to consider:
- Will you provide support to all users or only paid users?
- Will you commit to responding to users within 15 minutes or 24 hours?
- Will you respond to people who seek support over social media?
- Will you invest in multilingual customer support for international users?
Take the time to assess your business and your customers to determine the scope of customer success at your company. Communicate those expectations to your customer success team. Then, manage expectations by ensuring that your parameters are crystal clear to your users.
3. Pick Your Tools
Carefully weigh your options when considering which tools you’ll implement in providing your customers with the support they need. Customer messaging platforms like Intercom and customer loyalty tracking software like Promoter.io are tools we personally use to level up. Do your research and compare everything from price points to integrations. We’ve written about the customer success tools we use at Baremetrics.
4. Measure Customer Success
There are quite a few metrics that are indicative of a high customer success level at your company. Here are several to consider concurrently:
- Retention Rate and Churn Rate
- Expansion Revenue
- NPS and Customer Satisfaction
Note: Metrics such as response time, queries/day, or queries/agent should be monitored. However, what these metrics look like will be highly personalized and dependent on your business. It’s up to you to define “success” is this area.
5. Monitor and Optimize
Customer success metrics like NPS and churn rate are fluid and change constantly based on evolving circumstances. The role of the customer success team is to monitor these metrics and ensure that metrics like NPS stay above a pre-defined threshold. This is done by ensuring consistent service and establishing a strong rapport with both your promoters and detractors. Typically, embrace promoters who offer valuable insights into what your business is doing right and engage with detractors to identify where your service is failing so corrective measures can be taken appropriately.
Build a Culture of Customer Success
Members of your customer success team are the face of the company. They’re the direct link between your business and your users. Consequently, it’s important to consider emotional intelligence, problem solving skills, and technical capabilities when recruiting. We’ve written on hiring for your customer success team!
Despite the high visibility of your customer success team, they are not fully responsible for customer success. Whether you have a dedicated 60-person customer success team or 2-person customer happiness duo, customer success should be a company-wide effort. The ability for your product to successfully fulfill your users’ needs should be front of mind when engineering a fix for a pesky bug, designing a new feature, or sending out a marketing e-mail. Providing customers with value is a long-term strategy to which every person in a company should be invested.