Customer Success as the basis for a long-term relationship with your customer

3 min read
Apr 29, 2024 10:24:13 AM

For a long time, providing service equaled handling complaints. That can be done better, smarter especially. By investing not only in Customer Support, but especially in Customer Success.


Ask yourself how your company has organized this. Is service at your company primarily seen as a defense wall against demanding customers with difficult questions and are employees mainly concerned with putting out fires? That model usually turns out not to last long in practice. It is much more effective to expand this department with employees who have only one goal in mind: happy customers. Companies that invest seriously in this will soon reap the benefits.

Customer support versus customer success

First, let's zoom in on the difference between Customer Support and Customer Success. Support is the department where customer questions come in. This can be by phone, but also through email, chat or social media. As a company, you want to have this well organized so that customers don't have to spend 30 minutes on hold or see their message get lost in your crowded mailbox. Whereas Customer Support waits for a customer to report in, the colleagues from Customer Success actively seek contact with that customer. By offering them help even before they ask a question. By showing them features they did not know existed. By surprising them with new technology, tips and commercial opportunities.

Making existing customers happy

We see Customer Success especially in SAAS companies as a separate service component. There, more and more executives are already experiencing the benefits and it is now an important part of their growth strategy. In the manufacturing industry, on the other hand, this phenomenon is still relatively unknown and hardly ever occurs. A missed opportunity, if you ask me. Because you can bring in so many new customers at the front end, if the back door is wide open, then every euro invested will have been for nothing. Keep in mind that 5% customer retention can reduce your operating profit by 25 to 95%(!).. All the more reason to invest in Customer Success, one of the most proven methods to make existing customers really happy. It sends a clear signal: let's work together to achieve your goals.

Tackle problems in time

Where Customer Support sees problems coming, Customer Success tries to kill them early on. That is worth a lot. Often still, companies find out late that a customer is less satisfied with the product and service they provide. Let me give an example from my own practice. As part of our own Customer Success Strategy, we started using the Net Promoter Score, the well-known management tool used tomeasure customer loyalty, with Webs in 2020. That we scored 35% is something to be quite proud of(on average it's only 14%). At the same time, there was a handful of companies where we didn't get higher than an 8. I sat down with those clients to find out why. At one company we changed consultants. Not because of the qualities of my colleague, but because it was simply not a good match. By spotting this early on, you prevent such a client from closing the door after a year, thanking you for your services and looking elsewhere.

Data as a source of Customer Success

Convinced? Finally, let me offer a few concrete tips to help you get serious about Customer Success. Data, as is often the case, plays an important role. After all, you need insights to chart the right course. For example, what is your customer retention? What about customer lifetime value? If you are already using the right tools, these data are on your screen with just a few mouse clicks. They form the basis of your goals. Customer retention from 60 to 80%, for example. Or the customer lifetime value from one and a half to two years.

Then formulate your ideal customer profile (ICP), customers who ideally fit the solution and service you offer. Engage with them and identify their pain, needs and ambitions. This information is worth its weight in gold. After all, it will help you to actively seek out customers from now on and see if there are further service opportunities. What did I just write again? Oh yes, working together to achieve your customer's goals. Companies that succeed in this are proven to be more successful.


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