What is Customer Success Management?
Customer Success at a SaaS company is all about getting customers up and running quickly with the in’s and out’s of your product.In order to accomplish this goal, Customer Success Management teams need to be excellent at skills used across functions like upselling
, feature rollout
, and CRM expertise
Based on conversations with dozens of SaaS companies, we've identified the four key skills that Customer Success Management teams need to keep customers successful.
Skill #1: Keeping calm and being supportive
It's a fact - to succeed as a startup, you must provide support to your customers.
It's also a fact that some of the work can be stressful - like answering their questions and responding to their feedback.
Instead, view the support aspect of your work as making sure customers are in the know about product changes. This also means making sure your product team is in the know on how your customers are feeling.
These changes can be communicated via email, info sessions, interactive walkthroughs - whatever works for you and your customers - just make sure it's consistent.
Yes - this means your team needs to provide support after onboarding too.
Try using a survey after onboarding so you know where you need to invest your time and attention. You can then compare your survey data on onboarding success over time.
Skill #2: Building trust with customers
Build trust with customers and create value by being responsive to the needs of new users. The best way to do this is to adopt a “One Team, One Dream” mentality - yes, this means your support team AND your new users are working together as a team to execute a positive onboarding process.
Remember - your company's onboarding and training processes will reflect on your company and your product. Be sure to take the time to establish an open line of communication between new users and your onboarding team to avoid any dropped balls.
Proactive communication from your onboarding team also helps customers become more comfortable expressing areas of improvement. Consider regular check-ins with new customers to revisit concerns they may have had earlier to avoid them becoming larger frustrations later if unattended.
In user onboarding, there will always be areas of improvement in your new user experience, and that there will always be some confusion with some users.
What's most important for establishing trust with your customers, is once you found the gaps, is to help your teams learn and adopt smoother and more customer-centric processes going forward.
When onboarding, don't fall into the trap of setting your expectations too high. If you've onboarded a lot of customers, you might feel confident in your training program. However, it helps to remain receptive to users' needs and flexible when changing your product's features or functionality.
Establish milestones with your new users to avoid an overwhelming training process, and take extra time with customers while teaching essential features of your service.
Often teams are eager to onboard customers as quickly as possible, but don't let training schedules creep ahead of new user understanding. Be sure to create slack in your schedule for unknowns that may come up.It's important the expectations are clear for customers so that it is easy for them to remain engaged and active with all features of your service.
Every new user will enter their training with a different level of knowledge and ability. Customize milestones that match the learning pace of your user to make sure they feel empowered to address their problems.
What defines a great user experience? Think about some of the best products you use today.
Great product experiences start with two things: (1) a clear call to action; and, (2) a simple path to success.
In order to create a clear call to action and a simple path to success, you'll need to make sure whichever team does customer onboarding, Customer Success or otherwise, has clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
If you're not sure where to start in defining your roles and responsibilities, you can begin by asking yourselves these questions: As a user, what's the first thing I need to do when I sign up? As a user, how do I get support when I have an issue? Today, who is responsible for these processes?
To make sure your team can support the experience you've designed, run a capacity planning exercise with your Customer Success Management function. Measure your total capacity for work hours, time how long processes take, and estimate using data how often you expect this process to happen.
If your ideal user experience can't happen in the product today, there are tons of free SaaS tools and browser-based extensions
to help you design the best user experience possible.
When onboarding new users, consider tools for making walkthroughs to help facilitate positive new user experiences by removing friction around finding new features. You can learn more here
about how Driveway is helping Customer Success teams train their customers using simple, fast, and easy walkthroughs.