A proven Customer Success Strategy is one that yields significant Results where outcome-based customer interactions proactively drive the customer experience and ultimately increase customer lifetime value (CLV).
These five steps are essential building blocks to establish and continuously improve the customer success strategy of your company:
Create a FORMAL CHARTER to establish the essential necessity of Customer Success for your company, and to communicate this vision and mission internally and externally the organization.
The framework of this Charter needs to fit your business and your customers. You also need to Benchmark your competition, in order to develop your Strategy around the customer experience that is typical of your market niche and yet specific to your company.
The Charter Statement is a critical introduction and a constant reminder to everyone within your organization that provides the context around the following:
- The reason for your Customer Success Strategy and Initiatives.
- The problems or stumbling blocks that have been identified and need to be resolved or improved.
- How the various initiatives are aligned with your greater Business Strategy
- The expected positive Business Impact of your Strategy and Initiatives
- The cost that your company would incur, short and long term, if the identified problems or stumbling blocks are not resolved/improved.
Because the commitment and execution contained in your Charter Statement results in total and constant business transformation, it does require buy-in, full support and commitment, and unwavering perseverance from your executive leadership team.
Organize your Customer Success Strategy and Initiatives within the organization by establishing executive leadership, support, and accountability, as well as by defining roles and responsibilities across each and every team involved.
Customer Success is a function, and the key Role that supports that function is the Customer Success Manager (CSM) and its team, along these four components:
- On-boarding: enabling and deploying services to users.
Key metric is customer activation and usage.
- Adoption: Usage Analysis and Optimization.
Key metric is Utilization Patterns.
- Expansion: Identification of Opportunities for Upsell/Cross-sell.
Key metric is lead generation.
- Renewal: proactive Renewal management.
Key metrics are Renewal % and Churn $
Customer Success Manager and its team must be able to focus both on the internal activities and actions required of them and of other team members, as well as on the customer-facing responsibilities and ongoing experiences. Ideally this focus moves along the continuum from pre-sales, to customer interface, to renewal, providing a fantastic benefit from a customer care perspective.
Use the right key performance indicators to measure program effectiveness and create compensation models to drive results.
Performance Measurements run a full range from more Reactive to more Strategic focus and initiatives.
More Reactive focus is typically centered on key Team goals and Individual Targets, such Team Renewal Rates; Churn Target; Key Revenue; Number of Onsites; and Number of account reviews/consultations.
More Strategic and Proactive focus, on the other hand, is typically centered on Management Based Objectives (MBO) such as outcomes of strategic business reviews; adoption campaigns for targeted growth; new process/product implementation; and on site success metrics.
Utilize a Revenue Lifecycle Management Framework and Maturity Model to drive continuous innovation.
It is vital to know where you currently stand in your company’s evolution, in order to appreciate and aim for your next step and process of growth, complexity, and maturity.
The initial step for all enterprises and start-ups is a very Opportunistic phase, where successes are often based on intuition and are almost accidental.
The next phase is an Emerging development, where the process for how customer engagement should work is beginning to be identified and designed.
With new growth, a new Disciplined phase emerges based on a consistent but rigid process that everyone attempts to follow cross-functionally.
As Revenues and demands significantly escalate, a new Lifecycle of Optimization becomes critical. Processes need to be optimized and tracked using industry KPIs. Business needs to be managed according to customer success KPIs.
As the Business reaches maturity, a Strategic Lifecycle becomes the dominant phase for continued growth and success. Clear visibility into the health of the customer base is obtained in real time. Strategic decisions are made based on the insights gathered through customer engagement to drive continuous innovation.
Leverage data about your customers to create a systematic approach to engage with them and identify risks early on.
Tracking the engagement of your users by collecting and analyzing usage data is most critical in understanding and personalizing the engagement with your customers.
As you begin the various phases of you Revenue Lifecycle Management journey, you need to focus on three dimensions:
- Centralize disparate data sources available through various data streams.
- Galvanize your data with data science techniques. Hiring a data scientist/expert to implement strong data governance at this point is a strong consideration.
- Learn how to use the data, by operationalizing it so as to drive the right customer interaction with the right resources, by the right team, at the right time.
This allows you to have a systematic approach to how you are engaging your customers and how you are identifying risk early on, which is a very important aspect of building your company’s maturational process.
FINALLY, do not hesitate, especially when strapped with work demands and time, to consult with customer engagement experts like CXChronicles to leverage their expertise around you to guide your customer success strategy, as you also avail yourself of the many resources that are available from conferences and published references.