Some SaaS vendors still assume that Customer support is exactly the same as it was in the traditional sector – only with lesser demand, and thus requiring a considerably smaller staff. This misconception is based on the fact that support services are typically needed when problems arise from breaks or interruptions in service. This concept is seriously flawed and can result in extensive losses for the business due to a number of reasons, including overlooked revenues, misutilization of human resources, and lower customer retention rates.
So, if the old model of customer support is not ideal for today’s consumer needs, what is?
The first step is to redefine the role of customer support. The second step is to correctly align your organization’s structure with metrics for gaining maximum Customer Success.
This is where we need to look into the developing role of Customer Success Managers.
Understanding the Role of Customer Success Managers
A customer success manager has a vital role in a company’s support department. He or she serves as a team manager consisting of the business’s support agents to ensure that the customers are completely satisfied and are taking maximum advantage of the company’s products. This position involves a number of important tasks, including managing and monitoring customer accounts through their entire life cycle, as well as monitoring customer support agents.
A customer success manager is required to formulate and implement certain strategies and policies to enhance customer satisfaction rates and to increase retention. In order to achieve this, they have to assess the needs of the customers on an ongoing basis.
Since it is the responsibility of the customer success manager to ensure that a company’s customers are happy, they often evaluate customers’ experiences to check the level of satisfaction their customers are having with the company’s products and services.
Cloud Companies and Customer Success Managers: An Ideal Blend
It is true that the role of customer success manager can be utilized in a wide variety of industries to ensure customer retention, and to transform customers into business advocates. The majority of companies that have started to adopt the recently developed position of Customer Success Managers are B2B and B2C companies, the most prominent being the software vendor (SaaS). There are several reasons for this.
To begin with, cloud companies and software vendors cannot afford to provide support to their customers in the traditional way. This is because just a few support calls can significantly reduce their profit margin (even wipe it out) which they get from monthly subscriptions. Things tend to take a turn for the worse when a customer leaves, thereby turning a potentially profitable deal into a downright loss for the software vendor. This new concept of ‘customer success’ has empowered the vendor to provide maximum value to the customer – something which was left completely to the customer before this.
Because of this, Customer Success Managers have gained, and are still gaining, immense popularity in the software industry.
Onboarding and the Role of Customer Success Managers
The importance of user onboarding must not be underestimated. This is where the transition from the company’s sales team to the service team occurs. In order to be successful, this transition process has to be as smooth and efficient as possible, and the user (customer) must receive services as quickly as possible. This is, without a doubt, the most important process involved in creating a customer experience. How well you execute this process will set the standard of your customer experience.
As they say, the first impression is a lasting impression, and this couldn’t be any truer for the onboarding process – you build trust through your onboarding process.
In order to fully appreciate what role the Customer Success Manager plays in the onboarding process, it is essential to first understand the customer engagement process itself. The following image shows the typical cycle involved in getting customers onboard, starting from Sales to Service Delivery.
As soon as the contract is executed, many software vendors assign a Customer Success Manager to ensure that the customer takes maximum advantage of the company’s products and services. Here the customer success manager is responsible for managing the relationship with the customer.
The overall quality of the onboarding process has a significant direct impact on the challenges faced by the Customer Success team. This quality will determine the long term customer retention rate.
Five crucial factors that Customer Success Mangers must pay attention to in the onboarding process are:
- The handoff of customers from the sales team to the service delivery team is smooth and without any hiccups
- The onboarding process has a clear end
- Clearly document the details of the handoff
- There’s ample collaboration between the two teams
- Move players between the two teams, as needed
By keeping a close eye on these factors, Customer Success Managers ensure that the business’s clients receive the best customer experience, which is critical for increasing retention rates.
Top 5 Onboarding Tips to Maximize Customer Satisfaction
When it comes to getting new users onboard, there is no room for mistakes. Any slight error from your side and you’re very likely to lose them for good. In general, make things as easy as 1-2-3 for your customers.
The following top 5 onboarding tips by the very best Customer Success Managers will ensure that you take all the right steps when it comes to welcoming your customers onboard!
- Make Everything Easy Right from the Start
- Your Call to Action Must Be Convincing
- Don’t Waste Their Time
- Welcome Them Appropriately
- Streamline Your Process
This is very important and must never be taken lightly. Life is already complicated enough for the majority of people, and you won’t be doing them any favors by further complicating things for them. Everything, from your website/app design to the signup process to where they start using your service, should be as easy as possible.
Regardless of which industry you belong to, there will be some intense competition for you. How would you get customers to try YOUR product or service over others? This is why your call to action must be persuasive and strong enough to grab the attention of your potential customers.
This tagline must also be placed such that it is prominent and every visitor should be able to see it clearly.
Long sign up forms are a big no-no. Now, the idea is to get them onboard as quickly as possible without having to fill in tons of information – if you really have to get the information, you can ask them later (progressive profiling, such as that offered by Facebook and many other websites).
The majority of people will simply take their problems to some other provider if they see you are wasting their time. Avoid this at all costs.
How would you feel if you went into a store and no one paid any attention to you? Disgruntled, to say the least!
Always make sure you are welcoming your visitors in the friendliest manner to make them feel right at home! Personalized welcome emails are one way of getting them onboard quicker and help them feel more comfortable with you.
Make sure that each and every process that leads up to your onboarding process is streamlined to avoid the creation of any bottlenecks. Your sales team should be efficient in generating leads and following up with them, and your contract should be simple enough to encourage users to sign up. The rest, is the responsibility of your onboarding team, and the service delivery teams, including the Customer Success Manager who will ensure that customers get what they were promised.
The developing role of Customer Success Managers is very promising and is being adopted by many companies at unprecedented rates. The need for a new way to offer support to customers has been the main catalyst in this development. Customer Success Managers have proven their value to organizations by increasing customer retention rates, which is probably the most important aspect in determining the success rate of companies.
What do you know about Customer Success Managers? Does your company have Customer Success Managers? If so, what kind of improvements have you noticed? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!