Has the product been developed? – Check
Has the product been marketed well? – Check
Do we have customers? – Yes, we do!
Are they using the product? – I don’t know ????
Who is taking care of the bugs after sale? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Churns? Win back???
Well, that is exactly how the concept of Customer Success (CS) came into existence. A mature CS team not only takes care of relationship management, but also Onboarding (OB) the customer and Expansion of each account, if possible. Let’s look at these as per timeline.
Soon after the ownership of an account gets transferred to the CS team, it is time to get a few questions answered and set clear expectations apart from collecting basic details like SPOC (Single Point of Contact), customer’s background, SPOC’s technical ability. Questions asked often revolve around the Customer’s requirement, reason behind choosing the product etc. Understanding the Tech Environment (other products used within the company) is also required to figure out if any integration will be required and to spot competition. This can happen over a period of time and all this, put together, will give the CS executive an idea of how to onboard the customer, how often they will need assistance and how long should the OB period last. This is how an OB team works. To get a more granular view, you can split your customers into categories such as Active Customers (the ones who respond), Passive Customers (ones that have either refused or do not connect with the executive at all).
Having said this, now comes the next question: How do you decide that the OB has been completed? In other words, how to make sure that the customer is healthy enough and is regularly using the product? The answer to this lies with your Development Operations Team, commonly known as DevOps. DevOps tools can be used to monitor customer activity based on various metrics. For example, for a product that does ticketing, you can check if the average number of tickets raised per time period matches or closely follows the number mentioned during OB. These metrics often vary based on the product/solution offered and can only be determined by the GTM and other related teams in a company.
Throughout the customer lifecycle, a CS executive must act more like a consultant than just an executive to make sure that the customer sees value in what they are paying for. Commonly known as Relationship Management, this is made sure by engaging with the customer from time to time via calls, business reviews, thought leadership seminars, product webinars, local events and so on. Adding to it, in a worst-case scenario, Relationship Management is the key to understanding churn reasons, if not preventing them but companies can take advantage of it as well since this will help the product grow by understanding what customers want.
That is my understanding of Customer Success. Suggestions and comments are always welcome!