If you’re new in business, an entrepreneur or solopreneur, and you’re trying to grow your customer base, you probably already know how vital customer success is for that.
And if you know that, I’m sure you understand how customer success fails can break your business.
One of the worst things that could happen is facing the harsh reality of a customer picking out a competitor’s product over yours, especially when this happens because you failed to provide a memorable customer experience.
Customer success is an effective and affordable way to keep customers happy while keeping your business successful and fruitful.
The Importance of Customer Success
Unlike customer support that is the problem-solving core of an organization, customer success is what “feeds” the customer with more desire to engage and prolong their experience with your brand.
In its very essence, customer success tactics keep customers happy and turn them into repeaters. That way, your brand is all set with a customer loyalty base, and your customers are ready and willing to promote your products, boosting your growth through customer retention rates.
However, customer success is not always easy to score, and some fails could’ve been prevented with a little careful planning. Let’s see what those are about.
You Take the “Sales-Y” Approach With Your Email Campaigns
Customer success is all about keeping customers interested and turning them into repeaters. After all, repeaters are more valuable than new customers, as it’s more affordable to have them. After all, Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is getting higher:
On the other hand, repeaters can help you with more than most of your marketing endeavors.
Taking the “sales-y” approach is the most surefire way to lose customers, and it’s a very common mistake. In all reality, businesses that are more interested in sales than customer success are not business-centric. And since the business model is H2H (Human to Human) nowadays, this can only mean that a business that is not customer-centric will crash and burn.
As you can see above, the third reason people unsubscribe from your email list is the plethora of “sales-y” emails.
This can prove to be fatal, not just because high unsubscribe rates mean no stream of steady, happy customers.
High unsubscribe rates can lead to people marking your emails as spam or junk. This can, in turn, harm your email marketing and all your efforts by destroying your deliverability rates. In the end, it’s better to read the room:
- What is it that your customers really need? Is the type of product you’re promoting relevant to their current needs?
- How’s your content? Is it too spammy? Do you write in all caps? This could harm your rates as well.
- Who received your email? Have these people interacted with you in the past 30 days? Cleaning up your email list always pays off.
To remedy this situation:
- Be customer-centric rather than sales-centric.
- Listen to your customers and what they need.
- Use social listening tools and assessment tools, and make sure you use every detail when crafting your email campaigns.
Every company has sales targets, sure, but in the end, your customers – especially your repeaters – are those who will dictate things like the content of your emails, the trends that you need to follow, and the products that will sell best.
You’re Not Sure What Your Goals Are
Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are responsible for regulating the functions tied to customer success and the customer experience as a whole.
Sometimes, CSMs miss sight of their goals and how customer retention is one of the most important metrics to track. Creating actionable customer retention strategies is vital to a business, but sometimes there is not enough dedication. This translates as customer success plans that focus on goals rather than the customers themselves, much like the email marketing example above.
Creating a customer success plan that brings more revenue to the brand is the end goal, but this cannot happen when a brand cares about numbers more than it cares about how it can reach those numbers. And understanding the customer journey is essential to achieving the targets and milestones of each month, quarter, or year.
CSMs should carefully study the sales funnel and make sure they understand the customer journey every time they come up with a new customer success strategy. This will help them keep track of their goals and have the time to plan anew, should their approach prove to be ineffective in the long run.
When aiming for customer success, it’s easy to lose sight of the goal, especially when you hit your targets each time. And the goal should always be a customer-centric approach that will lead to happy repeaters.
Pro Tip: When you’re unsure how a protocol, rule, or strategy keeps the customer happy, ask “Why”. Why would you, as a customer, follow a specific policy, and why would it make you come back to your brand? If you can’t find an answer, it might be time to ditch the rule.
You Attract the Wrong Crowd
This is for the brands and companies that use the customer-first approach but can’t seem to understand what they’re doing wrong.
Sometimes, creating with the customer in mind is not enough. This stems from the fact that sometimes the customers a company has are not the customers it needs. But what does that mean?
Let’s assume that you’ve got a subscriber-based platform. This means that your growth is based on a monthly fee. Now, let’s hypothesize that your platform also carries a free version that offers all the necessary features but with little twists. Maybe there are many ads, or some much-needed features are provided only to your premium subscribers.
If your platform is useful and covers all the customer’s primary needs in its basic, free version, then it’s doubtful that a customer will pay for the premium version. Now, if the platform’s customer base consists of these types of customers, then there’s no value in this “relationship”.
Customers that are not interested in being nurtured and staying longer for more benefits are of no use to the brand. So, make a solid, conscious effort to create your customer personas beforehand.
Your personas will pinpoint the type of crowd you want to attract and help you work towards that goal from the very beginning rather than when the damage is already done.
Study your competitors’ audience and see what you bring to the table that could be better or more fitting for it. Then, study your goals and your personas. Finally, create customer segments and determine the ones that would work for you in the long run. You need customers who will drive value to your brand through purchases and referrals and act as brand ambassadors.
Creating a customer-centric approach and focusing your customer success efforts on non-qualified customers is simply a waste of time and resources.
Not Following up on Your Customers
Customer success is a proactive tactic, as I said in the beginning. This means that to create a successful customer success strategy, you’ll need to think forward and prevent things that could result in dissatisfied customers.
Receiving no news from a customer is bad news, according to the quote above. The fact that your previous buyers never complained about something doesn’t mean that they won’t churn. One of the fatal flaws of a customer success strategy is the lack of proactivity and following up.
Keeping an open dialogue with your customers is the best online pr strategy, seeing as you’re allowing them to talk to you directly about their experience as customers. This shows the customers that you value them and their opinion and creates the circumstances for excellent customer success.
Not to mention that it can help you prevent problems, seeing as your customers will be more than willing to inform you about what you can do better next time they collaborate with your brand.
Customer success is there to prevent the mistake from happening. So, what you need to do is be there before customers are faced with an issue. Study all the points in your funnel carefully, find and fix the problematic ones, and always ask for customer feedback.
By following up, either through email or using live chat, you can lower customer complaints and better understand the customer’s journey.
Not to mention the high Net Promoter Score (NPS) you can get from customers that will introduce your product and services to their friends and family.
Not Uncovering Your Brand’s Core Issues
It’s easy for a brand to confuse the outcomes with the issues – especially when the said outcome is an issue in and of itself.
Customer churn, for example, is not a core issue. Rather, it’s one of the outcomes of problems rooted deep into your customer success efforts.
CSMs are forever trying to keep the numbers of metrics like customer churn or lost revenue low. However, this is impossible without addressing the core issues of a brand or a service first.
Uncovering the culprit and pinpointing the underlying cause of high customer churn and low customer satisfaction rates can be a hassle, but it’s the only solution.
This means that CSMs will need to find what procedures work, what protocols have failed, and what’s causing unwanted friction. It could be something as big as your website not loading correctly or as small as your content calendar being too bland.
Your first move should be to ask your teams and see whether they can point out any loopholes or points you need to fix. Perhaps your team needs better training, and poor customer interactions lead customers away from your product. Sometimes it can be as simple as that.
Some other times, there can be a more complex issue, like product updates or too complex protocols for purchasing or using your product or service. Whatever the culprit is, create a procedure that will work as an override switch to help customers understand your product and why it can benefit them.
Customer success can be a real goldmine, provided you use it correctly. It can guarantee repeaters and lower your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), or, if poorly executed and not in tandem with your customer support, it can drive customers away.
You can avoid the latter by taking your time to recognize the points of friction, adopting customer-centric policies, and making sure that you attract the right crowd.
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Téa Liarokapi is a content writer working for email marketing software company Moosend and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas and cats to play with.