How Customer Success Software Helps CSMs
Customer Success is taking on increased importance for B2B software companies. It combines elements of account management, customer relationship management (CRM), onboarding, training, implementation, and support in order to help customers successfully adopt and use a product in the long term. Customer success software plays a critical role in enhancing call center metrics, sales results, customer education initiatives, and marketing analytics, as well as overall financial results.
In their study, “SaaS and the Rule of 40: Keys to the critical value creation metric”, McKinsey explains:
“Many slower-growing SaaS companies underinvest in customer success, customer care, and professional services because the overwhelming focus is on gaining new customers and because existing SaaS customers generally don’t pay extra for post-sales support. So the additional effort in courting them seems unprofitable. But neglecting existing customers ends up adding costs in the long run, resulting in more churn, lower cross- and up-sell, and more pressure on sales teams just to stay level. By looking at customer success and related efforts as an investment in growth rather than as a cost center, companies can protect their installed base and gain scale and efficiency.”
The right technology makes it possible for companies, especially Customer Success Managers (CSMs), to accurately measure a customer’s journey through a product, from how the product is sold to how and when they gain value from it.
Customer success software solutions are an invaluable tool for companies looking to build long-term relationships with customers, create new products, and identify new revenue streams.
Types of Customer Success Software
Previously, customers bought software on multi-year license agreements that required heavy implementation. Once the contract was signed, it was complicated and expensive to switch providers. In today’s subscription economy, many B2B software companies have self-service billing options, and customers are able to try many different options before signing up.
With fewer human touchpoints and ever-decreasing transition costs, Customer Success has evolved as a practice to help companies proactively manage the health and retention of their customer base. These are some of the most common tools CSMs are using to improve their processes:
Customer Success Analytics
In their study “Introducing customer success 2.0: The new growth engine”, experts at McKinsey agree that customer success analytics should assess and predict customer risks and implement activities to increase client satisfaction:
“The pace of innovation is quickening, with leading companies deploying increasingly advanced analytical techniques across even richer data. In addition to predicting churn, they use advanced analytics to identify products and services that might accelerate value capture. Some companies are also using advanced analytics to determine which teams should undertake specific activities at different points along the customer journey. For instance, they may use data-based triggers to determine when to engage with customers by offering helpful services, such as a custom training program or diagnostics.”
The statements above emphasize the importance of analytics-driven customer success software. These solutions provide a comprehensive view of customer activity by tracking revenue, support contacts, and product usage. You can measure customer health accurately with the correct data and drive change with these indicators.
In addition to identifying trends and predicting future product performance, CSMs can examine customer attributes and actions with advanced variables such as time to value (TTV) for newly onboarded customers, monthly recurring revenue (MRR), lifetime value (LTV), customer acquisition cost (CAC), or average revenue per user/account (ARPU/A).
Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo, for example, are customer relationship management solutions that have built-in analytics.
Customer Communications Platforms
Companies can now reach out to their customers via many different channels. For example, Marketo, ExactTarget, and HubSpot offer customized onboarding and lifecycle emails. But email isn’t the only accessible method for connecting with customers anymore.
Companies like Intercom provide in-app customer messaging, while SnapEngage and Olark offer live chat directly in the customer’s browser.
Customer Support Tools
As opposed to communication platforms, which offer a proactive way to help and inform customers, support typically takes place in a reactive manner to answer questions and solve problems customers may have.
Specific customer support software such as Zendesk or Jira includes solutions for documentation management, ticketing, and community forums, among other functions.
Customer Training Software
Customer training is a structured process for onboarding and educating customers. Courses can be self-paced, virtual live, or in-classroom with advanced platforms and offer a great complement to support, communications, and analytics solutions.
Using a learning management system (LMS) designed specifically for customer education can assist your company with creating, delivering, and tracking customer training in a more efficient way. You can streamline your company’s education process by using a cloud-based platform, which can assist you in onboarding new customers and retaining existing ones. These are all key goals in any customer success strategy.
Improving Customer Success with Customer Education
Despite their advantages, most types of customer success software aren’t specifically designed for customer education, which is a crucial customer success component. Depending on your goals, you may have to implement more than one customer success software. You should determine which solutions best suit your business needs and then integrate them seamlessly so they deliver consistent service to your customers.
In today’s world, customers have more options and information at their fingertips than ever before. It is no longer optional to provide your customers with a great experience. It is now a requirement for your business. An education program designed to cultivate meaningful, long-term relationships with your customers can be one of the most effective ways to help them succeed.
Implementing Education Programs to Boost Customer Success
The right customer education platform can make all of the difference to your customer success software mix.
To begin with, when you provide self-service, on-demand online training, you can increase support to more customers while ensuring faster, more uniform onboarding procedures. When you give the right content to your users, when they need it, you can help build a long-term relationship with them and ensure that they are equipped to use your product on a long-term basis.
On the other hand, as your customer base grows, your support team is likely to receive a larger volume of tickets and repetitive inquiries, which will ultimately overburden them and lengthen the period of time it takes them to respond. As a result of implementing an updated customer education program, CSMs and support will receive fewer inbound tickets, allowing them to handle other issues more quickly and with fewer resources.
Skilljar can help you improve customer success by focusing on customer training. We are a leading, purpose-built education platform that is designed specifically with external learners in mind. We provide you with all the tools you need on our enterprise-grade platform to onboard, engage, and retain customers. Skilljar integrates with all of the leading customer success software and offers a variety of functionalities to assist you in engaging your customers and partners.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2022.